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The Last Shadow

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Orson Scott Card's The Last Shadow is the long-awaited conclusion to both the original Ender series and the Ender's Shadow series, as the children of Ender and Bean solve the great problem of the Ender Universe - the deadly virus they call the descolada, which is incurable and will kill all of humanity if it were allowed to escape from Lusitania. One planet. Three sapient sp Orson Scott Card's The Last Shadow is the long-awaited conclusion to both the original Ender series and the Ender's Shadow series, as the children of Ender and Bean solve the great problem of the Ender Universe - the deadly virus they call the descolada, which is incurable and will kill all of humanity if it were allowed to escape from Lusitania. One planet. Three sapient species living peacefully together. And one deadly virus that could wipe out every world in the Starways Congress, killing billions. Is the only answer another great Xenocide?


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Orson Scott Card's The Last Shadow is the long-awaited conclusion to both the original Ender series and the Ender's Shadow series, as the children of Ender and Bean solve the great problem of the Ender Universe - the deadly virus they call the descolada, which is incurable and will kill all of humanity if it were allowed to escape from Lusitania. One planet. Three sapient sp Orson Scott Card's The Last Shadow is the long-awaited conclusion to both the original Ender series and the Ender's Shadow series, as the children of Ender and Bean solve the great problem of the Ender Universe - the deadly virus they call the descolada, which is incurable and will kill all of humanity if it were allowed to escape from Lusitania. One planet. Three sapient species living peacefully together. And one deadly virus that could wipe out every world in the Starways Congress, killing billions. Is the only answer another great Xenocide?

30 review for The Last Shadow

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    I grew up on Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow and loved them both in spite of the author's homophobic, sexist, and generally bigoted views. And despite these views, I've still read some of the sequels that Card has written because I love that world, though none have been particularly good. This sequel, though, takes the cake for being the absolute worst of the bunch (or maybe I'm just in a place in my life where I have less tolerance for awfulness. And if that's the case, I only wish I'd gotten h I grew up on Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow and loved them both in spite of the author's homophobic, sexist, and generally bigoted views. And despite these views, I've still read some of the sequels that Card has written because I love that world, though none have been particularly good. This sequel, though, takes the cake for being the absolute worst of the bunch (or maybe I'm just in a place in my life where I have less tolerance for awfulness. And if that's the case, I only wish I'd gotten here sooner). I got less than a quarter of the way through and then just couldn't bear to finish it. Enough was enough when some of the characters described their surroundings as the "Delphiki Concentration Camp." No. Just No. I have better things to do than read and support this author. I'm done. I received a free ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    Just finished the Shadows In Flight and am more psyched to read Shadows Alive. Anyone know of the release date?!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Micah Stewart

    Very poorly written compared to his other works. Felt very disconnected and harder to follow. Jumps around from character to character to much without making you interested in any of them. Story lines just end. He spends chapters talking about all this fancy equipment they need then barely references it later. Characters are supposed to be vastly intelligent but make terrible choices and really don't feel like Bean and his kids did. The most likeable character in the book is the hive queen, if t Very poorly written compared to his other works. Felt very disconnected and harder to follow. Jumps around from character to character to much without making you interested in any of them. Story lines just end. He spends chapters talking about all this fancy equipment they need then barely references it later. Characters are supposed to be vastly intelligent but make terrible choices and really don't feel like Bean and his kids did. The most likeable character in the book is the hive queen, if that tells you what we're talking about here. I love the enderverse and loved Shadows in flight. I even loved the Speaker series but man this was awful.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Adam Shields

    Summary: A conclusion (?) to the spin-off Shadow series about Bean and his family bringing them back into the Ender Quintet.  I have seen The Last Shadow both marked as the sixth book in the Ender series (starting with Ender's Game) and the fifth book in the Shadow series (starting with Ender's Shadow). It plays both roles. As I commented with The Last Tourist (odd that both have the same naming convention), it is just easier to read books that are written more closely together. The Shadow series Summary: A conclusion (?) to the spin-off Shadow series about Bean and his family bringing them back into the Ender Quintet.  I have seen The Last Shadow both marked as the sixth book in the Ender series (starting with Ender's Game) and the fifth book in the Shadow series (starting with Ender's Shadow). It plays both roles. As I commented with The Last Tourist (odd that both have the same naming convention), it is just easier to read books that are written more closely together. The Shadow series was started in 2003 and Ender's Game is a 1985 novel that was based on a 1977 short story. What I did not know until the author's comments at the end of the book, was that initially Card had a contract to write the novel Speaker for the Dead, but realized that once he started writing that book with its roots going back to the short story version of Ender's Game, he needed to elaborate and change some of the plotlines to prepare for the later books. As I have commented before, I am not sure there is any book I have read more than Ender's Game. Orson Scott Card has played around with the story since its novelization in 1985. He released a revised version in 1991 that took into account the fall of the Soviet Union. He revised it again slightly for a 20th-anniversary release in 2005. And he released an audio play version in 2013 that referenced some of the subsequent short stories and included new scenes and perspectives. And in 2011 there was a film adaptation. I am very familiar with the series and have even read the companion book that pays tribute to the ways that the novel has impacted scifi. Despite my love for the "Enderverse", I have been a bit mixed about Card's writing over the years. Card has embraced his libertarian political ideas with the two books Empire and Hidden Empire about a second American Civil War. And Card's Mormon theology regularly comes through in his writing, not just in his religious book series but frequently in his social commentary, especially around family. A story has to be able to stand up on its own, not just as a plank in the world-building of a series. For the most part, I think The Last Shadow cleaned up some of the mess of the Children of the Mind. The original characters of Ender's Game are essentially all gone except for Jane and some cameos by others. Miro from the 2nd-4th books of the series plays a significant role as does Peter from the fourth book and then the children and grandchildren of Bean that were introduced in Shadows in Flight. The old adage from Arthur C Clark about "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" is at play in The Last Shadow. Having achieved instant space travel by essentially a type of technology that could be called magic and a level of genetic science that would be called magic (probably black magic) by many, this continues to be a series that is as much about philosophical ideas as action. In this case, a number of threads spin around the concepts of love and loyalty and the limitations of humans, even if they are very smart humans. I am trying to discuss the novel without spoilers. There is a lot of emotional angst, not just about the brilliant children that are always in Card's books, but among their parents and other adults that are trying to lead or relate to them. Humanity is never just the rational for Card. There is always a role for the irrational and the communal responsibility to the group. I think this is probably an end to the series, but I could be wrong. I thought the last book was an end to the series. And Aaron Johnson has written five prequel books with some input by Card about the first and second formic wars (which I have not read.) So I could be wrong about this being the end. In the author's note at the end of the book, Card thanks Steffon Rudnicki and other voice actors that have brought the series alive in audio formats over the past 20 years. For me, this is primarily an audiobook series. I have read them all in print, but I enjoy them most in audio. I recieved an advanced copy of the audiobook (these will not be published officially until Nov 16, 2021) and the audio production and multi-voice narration continues to be excellent.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Metaphorosis

    3.5 stars, Metaphorosis Reviews Summary Bean's grandchildren are super-intelligent, but their flawed parents have twisted their development. When they're brought to Lusitania to meet Jane the ex-AI and a reconstructed Peter Wiggin, they quickly dive into research to determine the source of the deadly descolada virus, and find more than they expected. Review I grew up with Andrew Wiggin. Allowing for time dilation, he and I are about the same age. Of course, he's fictional, dead, and only semi-resu 3.5 stars, Metaphorosis Reviews Summary Bean's grandchildren are super-intelligent, but their flawed parents have twisted their development. When they're brought to Lusitania to meet Jane the ex-AI and a reconstructed Peter Wiggin, they quickly dive into research to determine the source of the deadly descolada virus, and find more than they expected. Review I grew up with Andrew Wiggin. Allowing for time dilation, he and I are about the same age. Of course, he's fictional, dead, and only semi-resurrected, but I have my bad days too. "Ender's Game" was one of the stories to draw me into SFF when I read it in Analog in the late 70s. It was a story that really brought home to me the possibilities of SFF and the power of a talented writer. Some years later, I started to discover Card's other work, and was equally enthralled with Songmaster, A Planet Called Treason, Hot Sleep, and other books. I think Card is (or can be) a phenomenal writer, matched only by George R.R. Martin in short stories (but better at novels). Still, I was dubious when he turned Ender into a novel. I bought it anyway, and it was fine - a very good story written by an expert, but, for all its length, not better than the short story. I was brought around, though, by the sequels, Speaker for the Dead and (somewhat less so) Xenocide. Here, Card was doing something genuinely new with the story. I like Card's writing so much that I bought into the whole Shadow series, which says something - a writer so good I was willing to read the same story again from a different perspective. I was less interested by the Shadow sequels, to the extent that I missed one, Shadows in Flight (the prequel to Last Shadow) entirely. I was confused, in part, by the proliferation of spinoffs, only part written by Card, that I didn't bother with at all. Still, it's fair to say that I've delved moderately far into the Enderverse (as Card calls it), and that the first story was very important to me. So I was interested, if no longer really keen, to read this final chapter. And it was ... fine. I think I could boil this book - and some of its predecessors; maybe the entire series - down to: super-intelligent people experiencing regular emotions. Just because you're a genius doesn't mean you can't be nervous, shy, jealous, angry, etc. Only Ender and his brother Peter (the original, not the copy this book is about) really come across as unknowable geniuses, beyond mortal comprehension. Is that a failure? I suspect Card might say so - much of the series has been about getting to know Ender, after all - but I don't think so. I feel we got to know Ender's shell and his intent pretty well, but his powers just leave him beyond true comprehension. Peter never really got much of a look in - more plot mechanism than true character, and the same, to a lesser extent, with sister Valentine. In any case, this book continues an exploration of the emotional lives of hyper-intelligent people. It's readable and relatable, and mildly interesting. It wraps up - loosely - the lives of the principal characters of the whole series: Ender, Jane, Valentine, Bean's children, the Hive Queen, the pequeninos, the descolada virus, etc. It just doesn't do it in a very interesting way. This is an endpoint, not a culmination. It's, frankly, an overextended series petering out. It's not terrible, but a story that started so strong and had such memorable characters deserved better. There's a lot of the Enderverse that I haven't read and don't expect to. Maybe those books wrap things up even more. Maybe not. I'm satisfied to let it end this way. Not what I hoped for, but acceptable. In part that's because of length and time - somewhat akin to my feeling about The Song of Ice and Fire, should it ever end, but with better characters. In part, it's because Card seems to have lost quite a bit of the flame that burned so bright in the early days. He's had a lot more misses these days, and a lot more [shrug]. It's all still written well, but it lacks magic. If you're a devoted Enderite, read this; tie things off. If you're new to the whole series, I think you'll get a lot more mileage for your time from just reading the 1977 short story. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Brock

    I’m happy to have closure, but this book lacks the strengths that either series had: a meaningful understanding of human nature/truth, and characters I cared about. Still interesting, but not great.

  7. 5 out of 5

    J. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    In April 2020, Card announced that he had begun writing the first pages of the novel while quarantined during the COVID-19 pandemic

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kristjan

    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 t 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

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kyle

    And I say this as someone who never just reads a summary, you should just read a summary. I'm intrigued by some of the plot, but it's hidden in maybe the worst dialogue ever? And I say this as someone who never just reads a summary, you should just read a summary. I'm intrigued by some of the plot, but it's hidden in maybe the worst dialogue ever?

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dustin Johnston (dragonarmybooks)

    I have a BookTube channel where I review books, give reading suggestions, and more! Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/dragonarmybooks --- The end. I'm not good with recalling exact times or memories, but it was 6th or 7th grade. I would have been around 12 years old when I went to the school library and picked up a book called Ender's Game. Over the following weeks, not only did I fall in love with science fiction, but I fell in love with reading. This year, for the very first time, I've c I have a BookTube channel where I review books, give reading suggestions, and more! Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/dragonarmybooks --- The end. I'm not good with recalling exact times or memories, but it was 6th or 7th grade. I would have been around 12 years old when I went to the school library and picked up a book called Ender's Game. Over the following weeks, not only did I fall in love with science fiction, but I fell in love with reading. This year, for the very first time, I've completed over 100 books during this calendar year. That's a huge feat that I'm very proud of and it's all due to that day in middle school when I met the young Ender Wiggin. Since that day, I've read and reread everything that OSC has put out in the Ender universe--every short story, novella, comic, and novel. I fell in love with the characters and story. Petra, Valentine, Bean, Graff, Mazer, Virlomi, Dink, Alai and, of course, Ender Wiggin, all became my friends and heroes over the years. Their stories even compelled me to start writing my own fiction. And now, some 20+ years later, Ender's story finally comes to an end. It's bittersweet. The Last Shadow was a very different book than I expected. Instead of focusing on Bean's children, we get Bean's grandchildren (who we had previously never met) as the central characters of the story. Instead of more Pequeninos and Formics, we get Yachachiyruna, Ravens, and Keas. Instead of answers to questions twenty years in the making, we get even more questions and very few resolutions. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed some of the new characters (I'm looking at you Ultima Thule). I actually liked a lot of the story. There was intrigue and mystery and new problems for a group of very intelligent children to solve. It felt like it belonged in the expansive Ender-verse, but just not here at the end. All in all, I think this was a good book with good characters and an interesting story, but it wasn't a good conclusion. I wanted more--more connection to the characters I had so invested in over the years, more answers to some of the small (and big) questions concerning the Buggers, Anton's Key, and the Descolada, and I wanted a good goodbye, a final farewell, and I just didn't feel like we were given that. But like I said, it's bittersweet. I'll likely never read a new OSC book again. I'll likely never read another new Ender book ever again. But the story has been told. And I was here along for the ride. I love this world and I'm so happy that it has been a part of my life for the majority of my life. Goodbye Ender Wiggin. Goodbye Bean. You will forever be in my heart.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sherron

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Back in the ‘80s I was astonished by the trimorphic descolada virus that made its debut in Speaker for the Dead. I even wrote to Orson Scott Card’s hatrack company and demanded that he stop writing fantasies and get right back to finishing the Ender series! I got an immediate cordial reply from his staff, but I had to wait decades for this book! I dearly love OSC’s science fiction ideas, but I never been a fan of his and Aaron Johnson’s quirky writing style. I was pleased to find that his writin Back in the ‘80s I was astonished by the trimorphic descolada virus that made its debut in Speaker for the Dead. I even wrote to Orson Scott Card’s hatrack company and demanded that he stop writing fantasies and get right back to finishing the Ender series! I got an immediate cordial reply from his staff, but I had to wait decades for this book! I dearly love OSC’s science fiction ideas, but I never been a fan of his and Aaron Johnson’s quirky writing style. I was pleased to find that his writing here is a bit more mainstream. If you’ve been waiting all these years like me, you might wonder if you should go back to reread and refresh? Relax! The ideas in those older books are great reads, but if you’re pressed for time or impatient to begin, rest assured that this book begins with chapters and chapters—and more chapters—of historical info dumps to refresh the memory. Gradually the info dumps take up less space in each chapter as the action begins. The info dumps are not very interesting or fun, though you can tell OSC tried to vary them to make them engaging. There are also some long and boring interior monologues explaining character motivation, which I dislike far more than the info dumps. OSC’s hatrack site says he started writing this book at the beginning of COVID-19, and I would bet anything that the gigantic interior monologue and ahem … info dump … about pooping out in nature were inspired by the universal toilet paper shortage due to our recent pandemic shopping patterns. Curiously, there’s copious amount of shitting going on in this novel. This book features the intellectually gifted progeny of Bean (the eponymous Shadow), three children and seven grandchildren, members of a post human species self-designated as “leguminates.” And this book is the “big reveal” of their proper names. (See below for character names.) But oh man, how does Card come up with his annoying and idiosyncratic naming conventions? (I picture his family around the dinner table, cackling wildly and drawing straws for the chance to put their two cents in.) There are characters with confusing names, some with weird names, plus they have nicknames, and some descendants and post human spin offs that bear the same names of major characters earlier in the series but look like other major characters. I “endered” up making a list of names to keep track of who’s who. For example, there’s two fracking “Enders” here and neither one is exactly the “Ender” from the first book! So these children and their one gifted parent—their “normal” human parent having been ruthlessly abandoned as unfit—are aboard their private spaceship. A vision of the battle school director appears, accompanied by two personages, and he tells them to listen. The triumvirate speak of a need to save humanity from the descolada virus. Once this story gets going and characters interact, the dialogues are fun and refreshing. I greatly enjoyed the depiction of Si Wang-mu and her interactions with people. She is witty, strong, empathetic, and pretty darn funny. There are additional funny bits, which also enjoyed. I could argue how any one of several people is the main character. To me, the protagonist felt like an ensemble of characters. The narrative voice hops back and forth from head to head and then sometimes to an omniscient perspective, often with dizzying effect. Besides the frenetic head hopping, some segues seemed a bit abrupt as did the climax and denouement. I was hoping for a mind-blowing, freaky-deaky virus story but instead I got an ensemble Becky Chambers style “found family has a Grand Adventure” type narrative. This book is about how to treat other people, as were the last ten books I’ve read, it seems. The dialogue (whenever it’s not actually an info dump in disguise) is very engaging. The presence and depictions of female characters are credible and multifaceted. The places where dialogue AND women coincide—excellent! I thought OSC did a great job giving voice to women. Not just one female. This book is full of a variety of strong, smart, and interesting females. The ant queen, Jane, Si Wang-mu, and Thulium all play important roles as does one small boy. Great job capturing the nuances of eight-year-old wiz kid Thulium, a smarty pants who hasn’t had great role models in the past and who is learning to work on appropriate social behavior and act kindly towards others. NetGalley granted me early access to the audiobook. It was a multi-character production (nine people!!!), but I was disappointed how that was handled. Sometime a narrator would read all of the character parts in a chapter, and sometimes readers each would portray a specific part like a proper audio drama. No consistency. Often the reading felt forced. The effect on me was to visualize two voice actors, meeting awkwardly (COVID-19 elbow bump greeting in the hallway) ones in sweats, the other in jeans, folding chairs in a sterile white studio, nervously waiting for their cue to read—instead of visualizing a scene unfolding. Tying for the other annoying aspect of the voice work is the inadequate representation of a Japanese accent (just like Masser Rackham’s lack of Australian accent in Ender’s book) The best aspect of the audiobook is the narrators’ entirely credible interpretation of how to render animal voices and genetically modified people. Which reminds me to mention, I typically dislike anthropomorphized animals in stories, but these OSC alien-animals and GMO people were fun, thoughtful ideas—like what is the essence of a species, and at what point do they count as people, and the voice acting successfully conveyed those considerations. This book is entitled “The Last Shadow.” So how does this last book end? No, I’m not going to reveal the end. Or any part of The Grand Adventure. Let’s first go to the Very Very End. The Acknowledgements where he gives thanks to Jennifer Ackerman for her books on birds that gave him the inspiration for this book. He also gives thanks for the voice actors. Maybe his hearing is going. If my math is correct, he’s just past 70? Anyway, that is very sweet of him. But the rest of the acknowledgment is almost like an end-of-life wrap up. And I will need to add translations for some of his comments. He says he’s aware that this ending will disappoint some (aka it sucks!). He reminds us that none of his books wrap up cleanly, so why should we expect this one to? And he reminds us that at least all of his books have an ending. (Too true; I hate those mid series cliffhangers, but this is a justification reeking of guilt.) He offers some reasons why he could have actually written the fracking book I had expected; he could have written a boring book like the heavy hitters (aka hard science fiction?), or he could have wrongly delved into the realm of magic (ahem—no magic? What the heck is the philadic (sp) ant communion, the instantaneous travel, and the creation of an ahooay (sp) soul but singularity type magic?) But he didn’t want to bore his audience, and he didn’t want to write about tiny aliens (OMG OSC, go read Project Hail Mary right now), and he did want to write a human-oriented impactful story and he expressed his love for the youngsters in his life. Also he admits he struggled for years but could not come up with a motive why a civilization would create such a nasty (aka interesting?) virus. In an a nutshell, he basically says the story of the descolada will not be written by me; it will have to be the next generation of writers. Geeze it takes guts to acknowledge all of this. I have to give him respect for that. So this book IS the last, like the title says. I’ve read lots of serial novels and I notice a peak in quality around book one, two, or three, followed by a slow and steady decline, and then I start wondering maybe my beloved author should start drawing their pension and not rely so much on writing. It’s really sad and touching that this author is obviously self-conscious about his writing and is contemplating more than just the book ending. From Uncle Orson’s website (which also goes on about toilet paper—again with the pooping!) After a two-year drought, I've finished writing two novels since the start of 2020, and just wrote the first forty pages or so of The Last Shadow, the final tie-it-all-together volume of my combined Ender and Shadow series. Maybe my retirement plan ("Write Till You Die") is going to work out after all. After a two-year drought, I've finished writing two novels since the start of 2020, and just wrote the first forty pages or so of The Last Shadow, the final tie-it-all-together volume of my combined Ender and Shadow series. Maybe my retirement plan ("Write Till You Die") is going to work out after all. After a two-year drought, I've finished writing two novels since the start of 2020, and just wrote the first forty pages or so of The Last Shadow, the final tie-it-all-together volume of my combined Ender and Shadow series. Maybe my retirement plan ("Write Till You Die") is going to work out after all. Yeash. How do you rank the quality or enjoyment in this situation? What I wanted and what should have been isn’t what the author wanted to give or maybe could give. The audiobook is 13 hours long. About half of that is a mind numbing info dump. The plot is simplistic but wacky. Granted, he wrote some really decent female characters. It’s not easy for him to give power and autonomy to women, considering he is a direct descendant of Brigham Young, a thoroughly despicable autocrat, who commanded his mormon wives to obey their husband, bow their head and say “yes.” At least women don’t have to veil their faces anymore. OSC has been so programmed that he may not know he has been. I know I was unaware of my own mormon programming. But aware or not, he is required to echo the propaganda of the patriarchy under the threat of incalculably harsh penalties for all of eternity. People, it is not easy being a white man, wealthy, talented, well-educated, and being told that single people must serve you when you become a god and you will have many wives to pop out the babies to inhabit that planet you will someday rule. I guess I am a tad worked up about the ending. And Mormonism. Dear Orson Scott Card, I’m sorry that you weren’t able to deliver the book i asked for all those years ago. I understand, but I’m not going give excuses, mince words, or give out pity stars. I have been where you are theologically and have absorbed the same doctrine. I also know that like me, you aren’t allowed to read anti-Mormon literature (aka real church history), but I assure you that the plan of salvation, eternal progression, and the whole Mormon end-of-life narrative is complete fiction. Please try to enjoy the freedom of that knowledge now, when you are feeling hyper aware of the end of your life. The truth is freeing. Stand up like a man against that patriarchy of the fifteen. They know they’re wrong, but they don’t have the kindness or humility of you. This act could be a great legacy. #BLM LGBT+ Ally Love one another; love the earth. Dinosaur bones are real; Adam and Eve aren’t. DNA is real; Nephi isn’t. ======================= Characters from The Last Shadow The people, or leguminates, onboard the spacecraft Herodotus are all descendants of Bean and Petra Arcanian. Three adults and seven children. Cincinnatus Delphiki “Uncle Sargent” the querulous muscle, named his children after rare earth * Dysprosium “Dis” - twin boy bully * Lanthanum “Lance” - twin boy bully * Thulium “Ultima” “Ulian” “Thullie” - girl, youngest of all Andrew Delphiki “Uncle Ender” the brains and leader, named his children after esteemed leaders * Mazer Rackham “Boss” * Petra Arkana Delphiki “Little Mum” Carlotta Delphiki “Aunt Carlotta” or “Aunt Bella” the nurturer, named her children after city names (omitting “Rotterdam” from consideration.) * Brussels “Sprout” - boy, kind * Delphi “China” “Blue” - boy, next youngest of all, tender hearted, thulium’s best friend. Other Characters These people are all characters from previous novels. * Hyrum Graff - appears as an angel holograph to Carlotta to save humanity from the descolada. Does he ever give any reasonable evidence to support his fear? Um, no. But he’s now embedded in the computer like the gift of the holy ghost. Ping! And he brings two personages: * Jane - A super-smart post human who is capable of instant travel and she looks like Valentine. Origin: When Ender Sr was unconscious he mind linked with the ant queen, which created a data dump from a computer stack overflow, kernel panic, or something or other. It bifurcated to make the two post-human personages of “Peter” and “Jane,” and then Ender’s human body died. * Peter “Andrew” “Ender” “Peter” - super-smart post human like Jane but confused and frustrated because he has the primal urges of Peter and the empathetic urges of Andrew (Ender) and no memories to rely on. Alzheimers perhaps? Origin same as Jane. * Miro Hibera - from the Lusitanian planet, brother of Ella Hibera who created descolata cure with the supernal help of Jane. Miro is Jane’s husband * Si Wang-mu - From the Path planet. Peter’s wife I don’t remember how the last two characters pinged into existence. In retrospect, it felt like a rough cut. Audiobook Readers (please pardon any typos for now) Stefan Rodniki Emily Rankin Scott Brick Gabriel Decure Justine Heyer Kirby Heyborn Judy Young John rubenstein Orson Scott Card

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sherron

    Yay! Back in the ‘80s I was astonished by the trimorphic descolada virus that made its debut in Speaker for the Dead. I even wrote to Orson Scott Card’s hatrack company and demanded that he stop writing fantasies and get right back to finishing the Ender series. I got an immediate cordial reply from his staff, but I had to wait decades for this book! I dearly love OSC’s science fiction ideas, but I never been a fan of his quirky writing style. I was pleased to find that his writing here is a bit Yay! Back in the ‘80s I was astonished by the trimorphic descolada virus that made its debut in Speaker for the Dead. I even wrote to Orson Scott Card’s hatrack company and demanded that he stop writing fantasies and get right back to finishing the Ender series. I got an immediate cordial reply from his staff, but I had to wait decades for this book! I dearly love OSC’s science fiction ideas, but I never been a fan of his quirky writing style. I was pleased to find that his writing here is a bit more mainstream. If you’ve been waiting all these years like me, you might wonder if you should go back to reread and refresh? Relax! The ideas in those older books are great reads, but if you’re pressed for time or impatient to begin, rest assured that this book begins with chapters and chapters and more chapters of historical data dumps to refresh the memory. Gradually the data dumps take up less space in each chapter as the action begins. The data dumps are not very interesting or fun, though you can tell OSC tried to vary them to make them engaging. There are also some long and boring interior monologues explaining character motivation, which I dislike far more than the data dumps. Wikipedia says OSC started writing at the beginning of COVID-19, and I would bet anything that the gigantic interior monologue and ahem … data dump ... about pooping out in nature were inspired by the universal toilet paper shortage due to our recent pandemic shopping patterns. Curiously, there’s copious amount of shitting going on in this novel. The book focuses on Bean’s seven intellectually gifted grandchildren, a post human species self-designated as “leguminates.” And this book is the big reveal of their proper names. (See below for character names.) But oh man, how does Card come up with his annoying and idiosyncratic naming conventions? (I picture his family around the dinner table drawing straws to put their two cents in.) And then there are characters with confusing names, descendants and post human spin offs that bear the same names of major characters but look like different major characters. I “endered” up making a list of names to keep track of who’s who. For example, there’s two fracking “Enders” here and neither one is exactly the guy from the first book! So these children and their one gifted parent—their normal human parent having been ruthlessly abandoned—are aboard their private spaceship, I guess an SUV-type space craft? A vision of the battle school director appears, accompanied by two personages, and he tells them to listen. The triumvirate speak of a need to save humanity from the descolada virus. Once this story gets going and characters interact, the dialogues are fun and refreshing. I greatly enjoyed the depiction of Si Wang-mu and her interactions with people. She is witty, strong, empathetic, and pretty darn funny. There are additional funny bits, which also enjoyed. I could argue how any one of several people is the main character, but to me, the book felt like an ensemble collage of characters. The narrative voice hops back and forth from head to head and then sometimes to an omniscient perspective, often with dizzying effect. Besides the frenetic head hopping, some segues seemed a bit abrupt as did the climax and denouement. I was hoping for a mind-blowing, freaky-deaky virus story but instead got a “found family” type narrative. This book is about how to treat other people, as were the last ten books I’ve read, it seems. The dialogue (whenever it’s not actually a data dump in disguise) is very engaging. The presence and depictions of female characters are credible and multifaceted. The places where dialogue AND women coincide—are excellent! I thought OSC did a great job giving voice to women. Not just one female. This book is full of a variety of strong, smart, and interesting females. The ant queen, Jane, Si Wang-mu, and Thulium all play important roles. Great job capturing the nuances of eight-year-old wiz kid Thulium. NetGalley granted me early access to the audiobook. It was a multi-character production (nine people!!!), but I was disappointed how that was handled. Sometime a narrator would read all of the character parts in a chapter, and sometimes readers each would portray a specific part like a proper audio drama. No consistency. Often the reading felt forced. The effect on me was to visualize two voice actors, ones in sweats, the other in jeans, in a white studio, a single fluorescent bulb blinking in a nervous eye twitch—instead of visualizing a scene unfolding. Tying for worst aspect is inadequate representation of a Japanese accent (just like Masser Rackham’s lack of Australian accent) The best aspect of the audiobook is the narrators’ entirely credible interpretation of how to render animal voices and genetically modified people. Which reminds me to mention, I typically dislike anthropomorphized animals in stories, but these OSC alien-animals and GMO people were fun, thoughtful ideas—like what is the essence of a species, and at what point do they count as people. This book is entitled “The Last Shadow.” So how does this last book end? Let’s first go to the Very Very End. The acknowledgements where he gives thanks to jennifer ackerman for her books on birds that gave him the inspiration for this book. He also gives thanks for the voice actors. Maybe his hearing is going. If my math is correct, he’s just past 70? Anyway, that is very sweet of him. But the rest of the acknowledgment is almost like an end-of-life wrap up. And I will need to add translations for some of his comments. He says he’s aware that the ending will disappoint some (aka it sucks). He reminds us that none of his books wrap up cleanly, so why should we expect this one to? And he reminds us that at least all of his books have an ending. (Too true; I hate cliffhangers, but this justification reeks of guilt.) Well, he offers many reasons why he could actually write the fracking book I had expected, he could write a boring book like the heavy hitters (aka hard science fiction?), but he doesn’t want to write about tiny aliens (OMG OSC, go read Project Hail Mary right now), and he did want to write a human-oriented impactful story and expressed his love for the youngsters in his life. Also he could not come up with a motive why a civilization would create such a nasty (aka interesting?) virus. He basically says I ain’t the one to write the story of the descolada; it will have to be the next generation of writers. Geeze it takes guts to write this Acknowledgment (aka epilogue?). So this book IS the last, like the title says, it’s the wrap up for at least the Shadow (Bean) series. I’ve read lots of serial novels and I notice a peak in quality around book one, two, or three, followed by a slow steady decline, and then I start wondering maybe my beloved author should start drawing their pension and not rely so much on writing. It’s really sad and touching that this author is obviously self conscious of his writing and is contemplating more than one ending. Yeash. How do you rank the quality or enjoyment in this situation? What I wanted isn’t what the author wanted to give. It is 13 hours long. About half of that is a mind numbing data dump. The plot is simplistic. He wrote some really decent female characters. It’s not easy for him to give power and autonomy to women, considering he is a direct descendant of Brigham Young, a thoroughly despicable autocrat, and mormon women are commanded to obey their husband, bow their head and say “yes.” At least they don’t have to veil their faces anymore. He has been so programmed he may not know he has been, and either way, he has to echo the propaganda of the patriarchy under the threat of incalculably harsh penalties for all of eternity. People, it is not easy being a white man, upwardly mobile, and being told that woman, children, animals, the earth must bow down to you when you become a god and have many wives to pop out the babies to inhabit that planet you will rule. I guess I am a tad worked up about the ending. ======================= Characters The people or leguminates onboard the Herodotus are all descendants of Bean and Petra Arcanian. Three adults and seven children. Cincinnatus Delphiki “Uncle Sargent” the muscle Dysprosium “Dis” - twin boy bully Lanthanum “Lance” - twin boy bully Thulium “Ultima” “Ulian” “Thullie” - girl, youngest of all Andrew Delphiki “Uncle Ender” the brains and leader Mazer Rackham “Boss” Petra Arkana Delphiki “Little Mum” Carlotta Delphiki “Aunt Carlotta” or “Aunt Bella” the nurturer Brussels “Sprout” - boy, kind Delphi “China” “Blue” - boy, next youngest of all, tender hearted, thulium’s best friend. Other Characters Hyrum Graph - appears as an angel holograph to Carlotta to save humanity from the descolada. He’s now embedded in the computer like the gift of the holy ghost. Ping! He brings two personages: Jane - A super-smart post human who is capable of instant travel and she looks like Valentine. Origin: When Ender Sr was unconscious he mind linked with ant queen created a computer stack overflow that bifurcated to make the two post-human personages of “Peter” and “Jane” and then his human body died. Peter “Andrew” “Ender” “Peter” - super smart post human like Jane but confused because he has primal urges of Peter and empathetic urges of Andrew (Ender) and no memories to rely on. Origin same as Jane. Miro Hibera - Lusitanian, brother of Ella Hibera who created cure with the supernal help of Jane. Jane’s husband Si Wang-mu - From Path. Peter’s wife I don’t remember how the last two characters pinged into existence. Felt like a rough cut. Readers (please excuse typos) Stefan Rodniki Emily Rankin Scott Brick Gabriel Decure Justine Heyer Kirby Heyborn Judy Young John rubenstein Orson Scott Card

  13. 4 out of 5

    MH

    The Last Shadow is the culmination of 20+ Enderverse books, most of which I have enjoyed to various degrees over the last two decades. It is first, unfortunately, a culmination of the slow downhill spiral that the Shadow and Ender-series novels have been riding since Shadow of the Hegemon and Xenocide, furthering the bias towards adolescent philosophizing, tiring angst, flat characters, and seemingly endless superfluous recollecting. Core themes of the series are handled without nuance or are ab The Last Shadow is the culmination of 20+ Enderverse books, most of which I have enjoyed to various degrees over the last two decades. It is first, unfortunately, a culmination of the slow downhill spiral that the Shadow and Ender-series novels have been riding since Shadow of the Hegemon and Xenocide, furthering the bias towards adolescent philosophizing, tiring angst, flat characters, and seemingly endless superfluous recollecting. Core themes of the series are handled without nuance or are absent completely, the core mystery is minimally explored and left intentionally unanswered, and it ultimately fails to live up to the promise this series once had. There are some good moments to be found in Last Shadow: I was partial to "Peter" et al. going to speak with the Hive Queen, and the first few scenes negotiating with the ravens and keas. Si-Wang Mu is arguably the most notable character here but benefits considerably from her prominence in prior books; little is added to her presence in Last Shadow. These moments are weighed considerably by the items noted above, as well as frequent detours that add only to the word count, such as the purchasing of the sampler machine or the reflection on the history of pooping. This is not helped by the difficulty in relating to any of the Delphiki family tree. Despite the time we spent with Bean's children in of Shadows in Flight we are instead inexplicably introduced to seven new characters, only two of which have any relevance to the story. And while these children are the greatest minds humanity has to offer and grew up in a tin can, I felt little for any of them beyond what came with the shadow of Bean and Petra. Even the two we do spend time with, Sprout and Thulium, the moments that might define their development also feel forced and hollow. Thulium visiting her lost parent, or her reaction to leaving Sprout behind with the keas feel oddly alien. The seemingly constant conflict with their siblings was (as noted above) tedious without reward. "Peter", Jane, Valentine, and the other cast feel present only as caricatures to remind us that the best moments of this series have passed, or to add some too-clever-for-you quips straight from Card's pen. "Peter" briefly struggles with his identity, but again, it is shallow and ultimately unrewarding. The 'big picture' narrative makes little progress either, despite the addition of team Anton's key. For example: it is difficult to miss the many moments where humanities greatest minds, these geniuses, with all the knowledge of mankind at their fingertips at all times, struggle or fail at the basics. Genius is presented more with the use of a thesaurus and references to classic literature than outside the box thinking, deductive reasoning, or presence of mind. We are told these characters are geniuses, but it is difficult to believe it. In prior novels, other non-genius characters such as Quara, Milo, et al. showed a far greater capacity for creativity and deductive reasoning, and their breakthrough moments felt real and significant, both to them and the narrative. Our breakthrough moment in Last Shadow was to put the virus in a vacuum chamber. We conclude the virus came from somewhere else and, in stark contrast to prior novels and the inciting event of this very one, decide that it just wouldn't be useful to think on that any further. After every single character nearly dies to an engineered bioweapon that is waved away by the Hive Queen, many go on to careers in academia based on falsified credentials. Some birds are moved around with a passing reference to xenocide. What feels like a baker's dozen ideas are introduced and never revisited again, or seem in absurd or in conflict with the prior novels (e.g. the electric fence, the Hive Queen cure, quarantine facilities but no PPE of any kind, super intelligent engineers who cannot make comfortable pants, can learn to FTL in an afternoon in a meadow, Graff AI replicants, who knows about FTL travel, chemical warfare from Nest etc.). The near complete lack of acknowledgement of the events of previous books is also baffling at times, most notably Shadows in Flight and Children of the Mind. Having recently re-read the entire Enderverse in anticipation of this novel, these inconsistencies are large enough and happen often enough it is hard not to feel like Card simply forgot what happened in his own books and didn't bother to go back and check. Also missing are any of the subtleties of prior entries in the series examining the difficulty of communicating between peoples, no matter how alien, and how these misunderstandings can lead to conflict. Raman, varelse, etc. make no appearances, and any of the nuance is washed out under the ham-fist of 'birds are people too'. Given that the ending of Children of the Mind teaches us how the descoladores communicate via a novel method (chemical signals, as the Hive Queen communicates mind-to-mind), this seemed ripe for exploration and an opportunity to expand on the themes of the series. Instead: nothing. Last Shadow lacks many things, but the absence of this core thematic thread was the most disappointing. In the Acknowledgements, Card states that he struggled to find a way bring the story of the descolada to a close, and that some readers may be upset without a conclusion. He notes that he read some interesting information about intelligent birds. And ultimately, he argues that if real life can be disappointing, so too can our fiction, and passes the buck to the next generation of novelists to work out what he could not. He was correct: it is true that some readers found The Last Shadow disappointing. Unfortunately, the lack of resolution was only one small reason for me.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ricardo Walker

    You've come this far because you came to love Ender, Andrew Wiggin, and Ender's Jeesh. Valentine. Plikt. The Ribeira family. Bean and Petra, and their children. I have to say first that at 50 I am highly relational and appreciative of redemption in fiction (and movie) choices. Non-spoiler review: This is a satisfying conclusion to what has been lifetimes of travel. Indeed it is easy to imagine that we have been in the ones travelling at non-relativistic light speed in the Enderverse all these yea You've come this far because you came to love Ender, Andrew Wiggin, and Ender's Jeesh. Valentine. Plikt. The Ribeira family. Bean and Petra, and their children. I have to say first that at 50 I am highly relational and appreciative of redemption in fiction (and movie) choices. Non-spoiler review: This is a satisfying conclusion to what has been lifetimes of travel. Indeed it is easy to imagine that we have been in the ones travelling at non-relativistic light speed in the Enderverse all these years. I have been a teacher in my lifetime, of foreign language among other things. No matter the subject matter I think I was always trying to get my students to love "foreigners" enough to learn how to communicate effectively with them. In fact, my current work has the exact same objective. This book stretches the dialogue on what is considered human and what is considered intelligent life and many interesting scenarios that require even the reader to consider the ethics of how nations, species, human and whatever ELSE is out there...interact. Could interact. Even...dare I say...should interact. And that was enough for me. (view spoiler)[ A must read, the entire series and this conclusion for those who care about: The Descolada virus Bean and Petra's children Ender's aiua in Peter and Jane's in Valentine. Who and what do they become? I'll admit, I am probably among the minority who will say that without Bean and Petra, the Enderverse is quaint but something inferior. Their sacrifice is heart-breaking. But real. In fact the trauma of losing children, later being reunited is very persistent in our everyday lives but rarely talked about and processed emotionally. Bean and Petra's arc is heartbreaking. So, I was one of the few, or the many, who needed to see the Delphiki descendants thrive and continue. Card...and Graff owed Bean and Petra the satisfying conclusion of their saga. I believe we got that. (hide spoiler)]

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    I had high expectations for this book. There has been a long wait since the last in either series. This was the culmination of two series that both started with “Ender’s Game”, split based on two different characters, and meets here in the supposed final story. And the author had left a number of open threads after the last stories of each series that I hoped would have an exciting conclusion. But this didn’t meet my expectations. The story was focused on one issue, which was concluded in a wish I had high expectations for this book. There has been a long wait since the last in either series. This was the culmination of two series that both started with “Ender’s Game”, split based on two different characters, and meets here in the supposed final story. And the author had left a number of open threads after the last stories of each series that I hoped would have an exciting conclusion. But this didn’t meet my expectations. The story was focused on one issue, which was concluded in a wishy-washy manner. The author added a number of different beings, and it got to be a bit much dealing with all the different sentient beings that popped up over the last two or three books in the series. Every one has concerns and gets their say here. And it seems some are getting mean, and given the conflicting personalities of the people and beings involved the future appears to be full of problems. These made for a less entertaining and less hopeful story. The saving grace of the Ender audiobooks has always been the voice actors. But here, there were so many, and they kept returning, that it got confusing. This was my least favorite in the Ender and Bean series.

  16. 4 out of 5

    JT Perrotta

    I am really hoping that Card chooses to finish this book before he starts working on the other announced books in this series. I know that The Swarm is coming out later this year, and if the Second Formic War trilogy follows the same pattern as the trilogy for the First Formic War, then we will probably see The Hive in 2017 and The Queens in 2018. Would they publish 2 books for the Enderverse in the same year? If not that means we probably won't see this book released until 2019 at the earliest. I am really hoping that Card chooses to finish this book before he starts working on the other announced books in this series. I know that The Swarm is coming out later this year, and if the Second Formic War trilogy follows the same pattern as the trilogy for the First Formic War, then we will probably see The Hive in 2017 and The Queens in 2018. Would they publish 2 books for the Enderverse in the same year? If not that means we probably won't see this book released until 2019 at the earliest. And that is only if they choose to put off the Fleet School books.

  17. 5 out of 5

    rivka

    Lots of hand-waving and lightshade-hanging to deal with changes (not surprising, for continuations of books from 9 and 20+ years ago), and a major bait-and-switch (although the reason for that is explained in the author's note at the end, which I found reasonable). And there were quite a few characters who I expected to see a lot of who were barely there. And others who were not there at all. But I really liked some of the new characters, and you can't have everyone there all the time. Too crowd Lots of hand-waving and lightshade-hanging to deal with changes (not surprising, for continuations of books from 9 and 20+ years ago), and a major bait-and-switch (although the reason for that is explained in the author's note at the end, which I found reasonable). And there were quite a few characters who I expected to see a lot of who were barely there. And others who were not there at all. But I really liked some of the new characters, and you can't have everyone there all the time. Too crowded. ;) And there were some really clever bits, some really sweet bits, some really interesting bits. So, as I said to someone else earlier today: While I wouldn't recommend it for anyone who is not already a fan of the series, I do recommend it for all who are.

  18. 4 out of 5

    HornheaDD

    *sigh* Where do I begin. 16 years. It's been 16 years since I finished Children of the Mind. 16 years since the characters were in orbit around Descoladora. 16 years since they got that little chemical transmission that could be a hug, or a tranquilizer. I read Ender in Exile. I read Children of the Fleet. I read Shadows in Flight, which retconned stuff that OSC wrote into the Enderverse. I read the first 3 Formic Wars books. Hell, I even read A War of Gifts. But all of that was in preparation for *sigh* Where do I begin. 16 years. It's been 16 years since I finished Children of the Mind. 16 years since the characters were in orbit around Descoladora. 16 years since they got that little chemical transmission that could be a hug, or a tranquilizer. I read Ender in Exile. I read Children of the Fleet. I read Shadows in Flight, which retconned stuff that OSC wrote into the Enderverse. I read the first 3 Formic Wars books. Hell, I even read A War of Gifts. But all of that was in preparation for "Shadows Alive." For the last 10 years or so, I'd kept checking to see if 'Alive' was being released. It got chopped up into two books, Shadows in Flight, and now, The Last Shadow. Finally, 11/16/2021 comes! So excited, I purchased the Kindle version of the book and dove in. A week later, I am utterly disappointed in this novel. I won't go into spoilers, because there's just no reason to. This isn't an ending to a Saga. It's a book that feels like it was slapped together over the course of a summer, or a long distraction-filled weekend. You wanna know the origin of the Descolada? You won't get an answer. You wanna know who created the virus? You won't get an answer. You wanna read another book about Jane, Peter II and Miro? Nah - they're side characters put in the back to make room for two or three of Bean's grandkids. You wanna explore Descoladora? You get birds and a shaved monkey. Pass on this one. Write your own fanfic of an Ending. Hell, the Ender's Game movie was better than this.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Andy Hartwig

    I revere Card's Enderverse. The story of Ender's life, along with Card's creation & evolution of Jane is so wonderfully conceived that I consider it to be among the best fiction I've ever enjoyed. I have to admit it's hard to believe a conservative homophobic Mormon came up with some of the poignant and insightful elements contained in those books. The Last Shadow delivered moments of reconnection with Jane, the Delphiki family, Peter Wiggins, etc., that were really enjoyable. But overall I was I revere Card's Enderverse. The story of Ender's life, along with Card's creation & evolution of Jane is so wonderfully conceived that I consider it to be among the best fiction I've ever enjoyed. I have to admit it's hard to believe a conservative homophobic Mormon came up with some of the poignant and insightful elements contained in those books. The Last Shadow delivered moments of reconnection with Jane, the Delphiki family, Peter Wiggins, etc., that were really enjoyable. But overall I was disappointed by this (audio)book. As other reviewers have noted, too many characters are not likable or sympathetic. Frankly I wish the Os Venerados family had never been conceived, but that's old news. Poor Ender! I wish I could recommend this book, but it's not nearly as fulfilling as most of the other books in this story line.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Orbe-Smith

    I only wish Ender/Peter and Valentine (one of my favorite characters) had been more central to the plot, but their learning to follow the new generation was kind of the point, so we're good. This was a lovely "ending" to the series. Some very beautiful and hauntingly melancholy imagery that occasionally verged on poetry, especially with [mild spoilers] Ender/Peter and Wang-Mu's philotically-intertwined relationship, Ruqyaq's memorable introduction and story (I loved that the Quispe clan were of I only wish Ender/Peter and Valentine (one of my favorite characters) had been more central to the plot, but their learning to follow the new generation was kind of the point, so we're good. This was a lovely "ending" to the series. Some very beautiful and hauntingly melancholy imagery that occasionally verged on poetry, especially with [mild spoilers] Ender/Peter and Wang-Mu's philotically-intertwined relationship, Ruqyaq's memorable introduction and story (I loved that the Quispe clan were of Andean ancestry, like me!), Jane helping the Birds, and Thulium's dramatic reveal (and resulting character growth) near the end. The second half of the book and the final few chapters especially were very satisfying; the last two sentences alone were worth the price of admission. Thanks for many years of storytelling, Uncle Orson.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Edwards

    Rushed ending. So many loose ends left untied. So much potential here, but a truly terrible ending to a great series.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Juan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. He's a eugenicist. This is the first book of his that I read in which he successfully described the love between one person and another, but he clearly still sees positive emotion towards another as a negative. He also definitely believes in nature as more influential as nurture. And he definitely looks down on women. His writing is enthralling and tickles the part of my brain that wants complex thought, but I can't deal with the hate! He even ended this book with a gay joke. So disappointed. If He's a eugenicist. This is the first book of his that I read in which he successfully described the love between one person and another, but he clearly still sees positive emotion towards another as a negative. He also definitely believes in nature as more influential as nurture. And he definitely looks down on women. His writing is enthralling and tickles the part of my brain that wants complex thought, but I can't deal with the hate! He even ended this book with a gay joke. So disappointed. If I believed at all in any of his belief structure, I would probably rate it a 5, but I cannot look past the hate and the anti-ness of it. He gets 1 star because I can't give 0.5 stars. I recommend this book only to those who looked forward to the overthrow of the U.S. government on January 6th.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Adrian Burnett

    Pretty disappointed with this book. Ender's Game and the rest of the original tetralogy was my first favorite sci-fi series. I have reread them multiple times and I have read ever other novel and short story in the literary universe. I have never felt like a book in the series was unfinished until this one. It really felt like some half baked ideas that did not come together as a whole. There were moments that reminded me that Card is a fantastic author, but overall this book either needed a lot Pretty disappointed with this book. Ender's Game and the rest of the original tetralogy was my first favorite sci-fi series. I have reread them multiple times and I have read ever other novel and short story in the literary universe. I have never felt like a book in the series was unfinished until this one. It really felt like some half baked ideas that did not come together as a whole. There were moments that reminded me that Card is a fantastic author, but overall this book either needed a lot more revision or needed to have a lot cut out and the main points summarized as a short story.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Adah Udechukwu

    This was a difficult read. It's technicality made it boring. This was a difficult read. It's technicality made it boring.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ian Miller

    I read this as part of my subscription to On the Fly, the newsletter that OSC puts out. It was a challenge for me to avoid rereading the first few chapters obsessively, trying to parse out every detail - because I was enjoying the characters so much - but I also knew that I wanted to be able to reread it in both print version and the wonderful audiobooks that Blackstone Audio puts out with their brilliant narrators. But how is the book itself? Is it worth the wait - two decades since I first read I read this as part of my subscription to On the Fly, the newsletter that OSC puts out. It was a challenge for me to avoid rereading the first few chapters obsessively, trying to parse out every detail - because I was enjoying the characters so much - but I also knew that I wanted to be able to reread it in both print version and the wonderful audiobooks that Blackstone Audio puts out with their brilliant narrators. But how is the book itself? Is it worth the wait - two decades since I first read Children of the Mind and wanted so badly to know what happened next? Well, yes and no. I really enjoyed the book - I like Card's style, I love his characters dearly, and the world he's created with the Ender books is one of my favorites to return to over and over again (I did a near-full series reread, skipping the prequels, this July-September to prepare for this book, and it was a really amazing, intense experience to read every book in these characters lives, one after another, seeing all the connections and growth and tragedy and triumph). It absolutely answers the question, "what happened next", and it's a very fun adventure with a lot of fun ideas. But it's not a finale that matches Children of the Mind itself, or the finale to the Shadow sage, Shadows in Flight, for sheer emotional power or plotting expertise. There is emotion, there is a lot of wonderful character interaction and growth - but it's not quite focused enough to bring me the same amazing feeling of joy and sadness and intensity that the previous two "endings" to the series have. But that's not really too bad, given that those two books are in my top books of all time in my heart, and this is just "very, very good". It's also much better than the last major entry into the series, Children of the Fleet, which wasn't too bad, but generally failed completely to make me care that much about the main character, and too often felt a bit too much like Harry Potter pastiche. This one felt pure Card (even down to the "ah, he was clearly reading books about birds when he wrote this"), and the characters were much more likeable as a whole. Card remains what I'd call the scifi novelist-poet of the family, showing the earnest attempts to build new families, the consequences of failures in families, and the hope for the future in every new family in a way that few other novelists, who tend to prefer a protagonist without many ties, ever attempt. I think this book will probably be remembered along with Children of the Fleet and Ender in Exile as being a weaker entry in the series. But I will remember the anticipation and reading very fondly, and think of Jane, Miro, Peter, Wang Mu, the Beanie Babies, the Grandbeans, and so many more, living on into the far, far future, with great joy. And I look forward to those rereads, very soon!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Lucas

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Decent book on its own, but not the ending that has built up in anticipation for so long. I suppose that is an inevitability when waiting so long, but it seems to have taken a left turn into a new story rather than an end of previous ones. I feel like we got a little bit of resolution on the Bean family line by having Sprout and Blue get with the Engineers in the last bit, and Thallium (sp?) gaining her freedom and maturity. We see that Bean's line may join back in with Humans but also with other Decent book on its own, but not the ending that has built up in anticipation for so long. I suppose that is an inevitability when waiting so long, but it seems to have taken a left turn into a new story rather than an end of previous ones. I feel like we got a little bit of resolution on the Bean family line by having Sprout and Blue get with the Engineers in the last bit, and Thallium (sp?) gaining her freedom and maturity. We see that Bean's line may join back in with Humans but also with other species. However, I feel like we did not get any further on the Ender storyline at all. We went from hunting for the dangerous alien race sending out the terrible threat to the human race through the universe to simply exploring a new planet with no real villains. Sure the Folk are antagonistic, but ultimately their involvement in the story is so minimal as to be a non factor and ultimately another loose thread with no real consequences other than acting as vector to repeat the storyline of moving sentient species to new worlds to protect from humans. I feel I got another good story from Card, but didn't get the conclusion to Ender series as we essentially abandoned any of the struggles of the piggies, the Formics, and the results of their actions in the previous novels. The larger human species doesn't know about the Formics still, there is no new progress on the virus front, and we don't even get much more character development out of the Ender series cast. Ultimately this is a story about sentient birds and gorilla people thrust into a converging storyline of Ender and Bean. Unfortunately this new world of Nest and the new characters it comes with are used as the glue to bring the two stories together, but ultimately overshadows the other two storylines as to not really even feel like an Enderverse novel most of the time. I wanted to get closure on Enderverse, not be invested into a whole new story of bird people. Oh well, thanks for many stories and doing your work Orson. I read all the Enderverse leading up to this novel and I'm glad for it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Josiah Canto

    Thank you (NO SPOILERS) After all these years, the end is here. I have loved this whole series and I appreciate the way the story wrapped up. I think sometimes people hope for an epic conclusion to series that they have invested so much in and are usually disappointed or pleased. I am not going to share any spoilers here. if you've invested like me in the enderverse, take your time and soak in this final story. There was so much from the Ender and Shadow series that putting a bow on the whole thi Thank you (NO SPOILERS) After all these years, the end is here. I have loved this whole series and I appreciate the way the story wrapped up. I think sometimes people hope for an epic conclusion to series that they have invested so much in and are usually disappointed or pleased. I am not going to share any spoilers here. if you've invested like me in the enderverse, take your time and soak in this final story. There was so much from the Ender and Shadow series that putting a bow on the whole thing had to have been beyond daunting. I enjoyed, understood and appreciated this story and at least for me as a reader and listener, this was what the world of Enders game led to and gives the series the kind of conclusion that only Orson Scott Card could envision. I look forward to the day when the 3rd book of the second formic war comes out so I can go back and listen and read the entire story of enderverse from the beginning to this epic conclusion, The Last Shadow. Thank you Orson Scott Card!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Justin Klinger

    We waited 20 years for this story to wrap up, and the last book was certainly interesting to say the least. I'm not going to go into the plot, but OSC throws a LOT of stuff out there about how we deal with other intelligent life and how that life deals with us. I'm kind of glad this is the last book, because it really starts to lean heavily into just how powerful the characters are at this point. They can teleport instantly to anywhere and have enough money to basically buy the universe. It's ki We waited 20 years for this story to wrap up, and the last book was certainly interesting to say the least. I'm not going to go into the plot, but OSC throws a LOT of stuff out there about how we deal with other intelligent life and how that life deals with us. I'm kind of glad this is the last book, because it really starts to lean heavily into just how powerful the characters are at this point. They can teleport instantly to anywhere and have enough money to basically buy the universe. It's kind of ridiculous at this point. And there isn't a big coda or anything, not really. And when you get to the end (and this isn't a spoiler) a character basically recaps most of the book's story for about 35 minutes. Not even kidding. He just tells you what you already read, but in his own words. So, now it's over. And it was a long journey, but it feels kind of hollow without the real Ender and Valentine . I mean, I know Valentine's 3,000 years old or whatever, but basically all you get is "Stay away from her, she's cranky." Just my opinion. At least the birds didn't build a giant statue of Ender and poop all over it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Lowry

    Wow, what a piece of garbage. Even the author seems to know it was a piece of garbage - he literally spent the first three pages of the acknowledgments trying to justify all of his terrible decisions as if he fully expected the reader to be dissatisfied and felt he'd better add a wordy #sorrynotsorry at the end. Ugh. Characters were either loathsome, boring, or underdeveloped (but mostly just loathsome). Their decisions frequently made no sense. The book starts out with the resident geniuses of Lu Wow, what a piece of garbage. Even the author seems to know it was a piece of garbage - he literally spent the first three pages of the acknowledgments trying to justify all of his terrible decisions as if he fully expected the reader to be dissatisfied and felt he'd better add a wordy #sorrynotsorry at the end. Ugh. Characters were either loathsome, boring, or underdeveloped (but mostly just loathsome). Their decisions frequently made no sense. The book starts out with the resident geniuses of Lusitania kidnapping a bunch of children (Bean's grandchildren) and sending their parents back to make amends with the non-leguminid parents that they stole them from, and the moral justification for this act is never openly addressed or discussed, presumably because the author is so deeply convinced that a child needs both a mother and a father that he didn't think his characters' actions needed any justification... More plot-holes than I could possibly even begin to count. Basically a new deus ex machina every chapter. Oh and speaking of deus ex machina, a digitized version of Graff has been hiding in the Delphiki's starship for millenia, because reasons??? Was this supposed to be fanservice, or what? There was no purpose to this and then he just disappears until the very end where he offers to help an extremely abusive parent learn how to not raise his kids to be assholes like him and for some reason the abuser agrees??? There is so much more I could say, but I'm sure other reviewers have said it, and frankly, I don't want to waste any more of my time or brain power on this absolute waste of a book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Greyling54

    Interesting ending to the 2 series. Not sure what I was expecting. Hadn't realized when I was reading Shadows in Flight that the ship they found was a Formic ship. The lack of solution to the questions about the virus seems very realistic. Interesting ending to the 2 series. Not sure what I was expecting. Hadn't realized when I was reading Shadows in Flight that the ship they found was a Formic ship. The lack of solution to the questions about the virus seems very realistic.

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