Friday, January 27, 2012

Shadows in Flight

Shadows in Flight. Orson Scott Card. 2012. TOR. 240 pages.

The starship Herodotus left Earth in 2210 with four passengers. It accelerated nearly to lightspeed as quickly as it could, and then stayed at that speed, letting relativity do its work. On Herodotus, just over five years had passed; it had been 421 years on Earth. On Herodotus, the three thirteen-month old babies had turned into six-year-olds, and the Giant had outlived his life expectancy by two years. On Earth, starships had been launched to found ninety-three colonies, beginning with the worlds once colonized by the Formics and spreading to other habitable planets as soon as they were found. 

I may not have loved Shadows In Flight, but I am glad I kept reading because by the end it was starting to grow on me. Shadows in Flight is a novel that essentially only has four characters. The character that fans know as "Bean" is "The Giant" to his three young children. Readers meet his three children that share his genetic fate. (Genius giants with very short life spans.) His daughter, Carlotta, his son, Andrew "Ender", and his son, Cincinnatus "Sergeant." These three may bring to mind another family of siblings: Peter, Valentine, and Ender. When readers first meet these three, they may be surprised that a six-year-old is plotting to kill his father--supposedly to their benefit claiming that his giant body is consuming more than a fair share of the ships resources and supplies. Ender does not really believe that for a moment. And he does put a stop to the nonsense.

So. This novel was not thrilling me for the first half. But then they discover another ship, a strange ship, and a planet that may just be habitable. And from there things improve considerably. For the aliens encountered--are remnants from the Formics. And this novel does examine that race once again. In a new way.

Read Shadows in Flight
  • If you're a fan of Orson Scott Card
  • If you're a fan of the Ender/Bean series. BUT. Don't expect this one to be about politics and war. Other titles in the Bean series have been about politics and war strategies. They've also had some thriller elements to them. Not this one. 
  • If reading about the family dynamics of Ender, Valentine and Peter so thrilled you that you just have to have a repeat
  • If you're a fan of novels set in space, novels that star aliens

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


chrisa511 8:54 PM  

I'm halfway through this one and wondering if he's setting up a new spinoff series with this one? I can see how it could potentially be enjoyable. I'm reading this AND the new Weetzie Bat book and having problems getting into both :( Think it's because my last book was TFIOS and it was just so good.

Becky 9:04 PM  

Chris, I had such a hard time getting excited about this story...for the longest time. I do see some potential if he continues on with it. But it was just so much set-up...

I also think my timing wasn't great. Reading this one when I've read so many great books lately--I think I've found more books to "love, love, love" this month than I did in several months combined last year.

Seth 12:36 AM  

I have to read this one, because I just love Bean. I really didn't expect to when I first started reading the Shadow series, but he grew on me. Oh, man, was that an awful pun. Unintentional, but unforgiveable...

Sherry 9:29 AM  

I've not read any of the multitude of Orson Scott Card spin-offs from Ender's Game, only Ender's Game itself. What do you suggest as "can't miss" from the saga of Ender and his friends and associates?

Becky 10:46 AM  

Seth, I like Bean very much! This novel is very much bittersweet...

Sherry, I would definitely recommend Speaker For The Dead. I can't promise you'll like it, because it is so very, very different from Ender's Game. It stars an older-and-wiser Ender. But it's definitely one of my favorites from the series...

Seth 11:22 AM  

Becky: Definitely bittersweet, now that I've finished it. But a nice way to wrap up that storyline. (Though I understand there'll be one more book tying the Shadow and Speaker series together.)

Sherry: I second Becky's rec for Speaker for the Dead. It's my favorite of the series as a whole (and currently my favorite book), though all things considered, I prefer the Shadow series. So I'd also recommend picking up Ender's Shadow.

Melissa (Avid Reader) 3:14 PM  

I'm definitely adding this one to my list. I've read all the other Ender books and Shadow books. Even if it isn't as good, I can't resist a return to those characters.

Anonymous,  6:52 PM  

I haven't read "Shadows in Flight" yet, but I will, although I'm not very enthusiastic about it. It seems to me as if OSC is planning to milk the Ender/Bean cow for a long time and his stories are getting longer and more elaborate, while he is being careful not to spend all the thrills on one novel.. Well, letting that out felt good. Now on to the recommendations - I think you'll find "Children of the mind" very good. Many important plots are resolved there in a satisfactory if not even romantic "happily ever after" way.

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