Rereading Shadow of the Hegemon

Shadow of the Hegemon (Ender's Shadow, #2)After reading Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow, I couldn’t resist rereading the rest of the Shadow series. I confess I don’t feel the same way about the parallel Ender series. I may get there, but as I mentioned in my recent review of Ender’s Shadow, I just love Bean as a character more than Ender. Which isn’t a knock against Ender so much as an adulation for Bean.

In Shadow of the Hegemon, we follow a few of the battle school graduates as they return to Earth and try to pick up normal lives — but life can never be normal for a genius child trained in the art of warfare and now returned to a planet that, without an alien threat, falls back into old patterns of rivalries and warfare. The first thing that happens is that Bean’s arch-nemesis Achilles arranges to have every member of Ender’s jeesh kidnapped. Well, all but Bean himself, who he does his best to kill. Bean is hard to kill, though. Bean escapes, allies himself with Peter Wiggin (Ender’s older brother who was passed over for battle school despite his intelligence and who has been vying for world domination ever since), and works to get them rescued.

I enjoyed this follow-up novel to Ender’s Shadow in part because I liked Bean’s character so much, but I actually liked some of the supporting characters a lot too. Peter Wiggin becomes something more than Ender’s worst nightmare in this book. That view of Peter was somewhat unfair, and primarily the recollection of a boy who never saw Peter after they were 6 and 10 respectively. Peter isn’t perfect, and he does want power for power’s sake, but there was something about him I found compelling.

This book isn’t quite as good as either Ender’s Game or Ender’s Shadow. It’s not really the same kind of book. It starts something different — the story of the aftermath — and is mired in religion and philosophy I don’t entirely agree with. But it is solid, and it did keep Bean alive in my mind for another book, with the promise of more to come, and I enjoyed the read. I recommend it for readers who enjoyed Ender’s Shadow.

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