Adam's Reviews > Shadow of the Hegemon

Shadow of the Hegemon by Orson Scott Card
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Mar 18, 2010

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Read in March, 2010

** spoiler alert ** This was a solid follow up to Ender's Shadow and in my opinion I think Bean is becoming a much more interesting character than Ender was. This book is more or less what I had hoped the follow up to Ender's Game would be like. I can't quite give it four stars but I would call it three and a half.

The kids from Battle School have been sent back to earth (all except Ender) and their home governments want to use them to create military might and political advantage. But before that can really happen most of the battle school kids that fought with Ender are captured by Achilles, the psychopath from Ender's Shadow. Bean narrowly escapes being killed and has to attempt to rescue the remainder of Ender's army and Petra in particular who is one of Bean's few friends.

Apparently in the interim between Ender's Shadow and Shadow of the Hegemon Russia has broken Achilles out of the mental institution he was in and wants him to command their army. In the meantime Peter Wiggin (Ender's older brother) is still attempting to become a world power behind the scenes.

In the long run Peter does come to power and of course Bean is triumphant but there were some things that troubled me about this book.

In Ender's shadow Achilles starts out as a ruthless street urchin who can easily bully or coerce people into doing the things that he wants. He is able to kill without remorse and does so to anyone that has ever seen him weak. In Ender's Shadow Bean outsmarts him in spectacular fashion. But in this book all of a sudden Achilles is convincing world leaders to put aside centuries of grievances to his own political gain. I was just not convinced that the kid from Ender's Shadow who was a believable tormentor to Bean could suddenly be capable of convincing India and Pakistan to join forces or to make India sign a nonaggression treaty with China. He simply wasn't that smart or persuasive in the first book.

When Petra is captured she seems like she gives up too easily. She is smarter than Achilles but assumes she isn't which was really bothersome. I just kept waiting for her to come to her senses and kick his ass and escape. In the end she has to rely on Bean when I think she would be perfectly capable herself.

Finally, I know this is called Shadow of the Hegemon but Petere Wiggin who becomes the Hegemon is in it way too little. I think he would have had the resources to crush Achilles at anytime. It's implied that he does and he chooses to wait but I don't buy that he would. I hope that in the next book of this series they set up a better villain for both Bean and Peter, someone that would be a challenge for them to overcome, not someone that you feel like lucked into being in a position of power at all.
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