Saturday, February 25, 2012

Book Review: Shadows in Flight

Shadows In Flight is the most recent of the Ender Series by Orson Scott Card.  It is only available in hardcover so far and isn't available in digital format for many months yet as they try and milk the hardcover sales for all they're worth before going digital with it. Too bad really, but that's a topic for another post.

I read the book in one sitting. It's very thin and has lots of space between the lines on a page. It was more of a novella than a novel. That being said, it should probably have been a short story. Maybe a longish short-story. 

I'm a big fan of the Ender series and Orson Scott Card in general but there was nothing to this story for me. 

It was a travelling story where (and I'm going to not spoil anything here so bear with my vagueness) some people are going from point A to points unknown and they squabble, then make up, then squabble some more. Occasionally the wise mentor one will say something pithy and then they go back to doing it some more. A Deus Ex Machina falls out of the sky and lands in their laps and what do you know? It pulls a House M.D. final 10 minutes trick on us and the book ends. 

There wasn't any real tension in the book. There wasn't any sort of real story arc at all in the traditional sense. You know how a lot of Eurpean movies have that feel like you've come in on the middle of something, watched it for a while and then it ends and the credits roll? This book was like that. It's like we got the setup and the end without any real character development, other than long drawn out arguments to show the four differing view points in a wall of dialog that was tired and overdone, and after the set up instead of a dramatic ending, denouement, or climax we just cut that part of the story arc out and went to the resolution of the story. 

It was altogether unsatisfying and I'm glad I borrowed the book and didn't pay for it. If you want to know what happens in it look for a wiki entry or check it out from the library but I can't recommend paying hardcover price for it. It's just not worth it which is too bad because I genuinely love this series, minus this book.)

I feel like OSC pulled a "midi-chloreans" on us with this book ret-conning previous books and, for me, wrecking some of the impact of previous novels in the series. I will choose to ignore this book, and may just stop reading the series all together and let it end on a high-note and not a boat-payment-making franchise-milking tone that this book had. It really left a bad taste in my mouth for the Ender-verse and for OSC as an exciting and original story teller.
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