My Favorite Books

The Walking Drum
Ender's Game
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
The Curse of Chalion
The Name of the Wind
Chronicles of the Black Company
The Faded Sun Trilogy
The Tar-Aiym Krang

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Review: The Last Shadow

The Last Shadow The Last Shadow by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Full disclosure: I am a huge fan of the Enderverse, with Ender's Game sitting on my top 10 shelf. The Enderverse is basically divided into two parts: Ender’s Saga which of course follows Ender’s life … and the Shadow Series which follows the lives of his supporting cast. However, the style of the books after Ender’s Game was markedly different, taking a more thought provoking or philosophical approach that I found interesting, but not all that exciting. Generally the Shadow Series was a return the the original style of that first book, retelling the same story from a different perspective and I really enjoyed them. The Last Shadow is much more like Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide … and I highly recommend that you read through at least that far before reading this book, which actually picks up sometime after Children of the Mind and tones down the weirdness a little.

Ender is Dead … Long Live Ender.

Basic Premise
… you got an apocalyptic virus with a team trying to save humanity
… you got crazy genius kids (vaguely connected to Ender) straight from the Big Bang Theory that can help figure out who dunnit
… you got space travel with time dilation (so 1000s of years in the future) with super secret blink tech to give you a “first contact” situation without the centuries of waiting.
… despite all the bickering, all the kool kids are way civilized and rarely challenged much … it was amusing in a Calvin and Hobbes sort of way.

Even with all of that silliness … I really enjoyed the book … reading it in just under two days, so it does pull you along nicely. Parts can come across as a tad preachy, but not too bad or over the top … and it does get you thinking about “things.” I would say it is not his best work, but it was better than Children of the Mind, so in that respect I am rounding up to four (4) stars.

I was given this free advance reader copy (ARC) ebook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

#TheLastShadow #NetGalley

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My Ratings Explained ...

  • [ ***** ] Amazing Read - Perfect story, exciting, engrossing, well developed complex characters, solid plot with few to no holes, descriptive environments and place settings, great mystery elements, realistic dialogue, believable reactions and behaviors; a favorite that I can re-read many times.
  • [ **** ] Great Read - Highly entertaining and enjoyable, exciting storyline, well developed characters and settings, a few discrepancies but nothing that can’t be overlooked. Some aspect of the story was new/refreshing to me and/or intriguing. Recommended for everyone.
  • [ *** ] Good Read - Solid story with a 'good' ending, or has some other redeeming feature. Limited character development and/or over reliance on tropes. Noticeable discrepancies in world building and/or dialog/behavior that were distracting. I connected enough with the characters/world to read the entire series. Most of the books I read for fun are here. Recommended for fans of the genre.
  • [ ** ] Okay Read - Suitable for a brief, afternoon escape … flat or shallow characters with little to no development. Over the top character dialog and/or behavior. Poor world building with significant issues and/or mistakes indicating poor research. Excessive use of trivial detail, info dumps and/or pontification. Any issues with the story/characters are offset by some other aspect that I enjoyed. Not very memorable. May only appeal to a niche group of readers. Recommended for some (YMMV).
  • [ * ] Bad Read - Awkward and/or confusing writing style. Poor world building and/or unbelievable (or unlikeable) characters. Victimization, gaslighting, blatant abuse, unnecessary violence, child endangerment, or any other highly objectionable behaviors by Main characters. I didn't connect with the story at all; significant aspects of this story irritated me enough that I struggled to finished it. Series was abandoned. Not recommended.