Thursday, February 14, 2013

Shadow of the Hegemon

by Orson Scott Card

Grade: 4 stars
Story summary: Politics. Wars. More politics. The world is a mess, and Peter Wiggin just needs to rule it (to paraphrase Dr. Horrible).
See previous book: Ender's Shadow, and next books: Shadow Puppets and Shadow of the Giant.

Thoughts: There's nothing more fun than multiple young geniuses vying for world domination. The scope of this book is the whole world, as opposed the more personal views in Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow, and I love it. (Not more than Ender's Game, but a lot.)

I loved the use of the secondary characters too, which also gave it a broader scope. Suriyawong and Virlomi were cool (I loved the one scene with the two of them by the bridge). Sister Carlotta was amazing (a bit more on her below). Peter got to be slightly more sympathetic and interesting, which I was rather excited about. In fact, I think he might be my favourite character. I was disappointed that for slight spoiler: a book named after him (he becomes the Hegemon), he wasn't really in it that much. And Achilles is a suitable antagonist for them all: crazy, demented, and unpredictable.

I was going to talk about how there are a fair amount of people who complain that the sequels to Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow are not good at all compared to those two, and the fact that I disagreed because this one was awesome. And I was going to talk more about why it was awesome (basically just more on world politics and characters). But a)I read the next one (Shadow Puppets) right after and didn't like it as much, so my points don't apply as much anymore, and b)I'm waaaay behind on reviews. So let's just go to a rant about one particular page, and then be done.

Ok, so Sister Carlotta is awesome. She is a Catholic nun who is actually orthodox, and has an awesome relationship with Bean. Then on page 88, she begins a discussion with Bean that goes on for several pages, and is mostly about morality. She brings up some very good points from Catholic doctrine, but then goes on to say that she believes this "no matter what the popes have said". Bean says she's a heretic, and "[n]one of those doctrine would pass muster with any priest". And she AGREES with him. I mean...come on! That was good stuff she was saying there! And then to be labelled a heretic because she's stating things the CHURCH TEACHES. Grrrrrr. Ignorance annoys me.
But it only came up that one time. So it's not too bad. It didn't spoil the book or anything drastic like that.


Aquinas' Goose said...

I think what card is doing there is making a comment on the "future" Church (and possibly commentary on the 'current' Church reception). If you go on to read Speaker for the Dead you'll find much Catholicism and hints of Catholicism. Remember Card is not writing about our current world.

Aquinas' Goose said...

P. S. Keep in mind, too, that Card is a Mormon and so he may not be up-to-date (so to speak) on everything.

Petra said...

Great review! I've only read Ender's Game, but I am so exited for the sequels--one day. It's a shame about the misconceptions about Catholic teaching, though. I do wish people would actually look at the Catechism and other Church documents before they attempt to explain what they think the Church says.

RED said...

AG: I'm not quite sure what you mean exactly... That the "future Church" would have different doctrines? Sister Carlotta was basically saying that non-Catholics can be saved as well, if through ignorance, or some appropriate excuse. Which is true. And it wouldn't change in in the future.
And yeah, perhaps I should excuse him considering he's not Catholic. But it still really bugs me. :) I wasn't blaming him so much as just venting my annoyance at the general ignorance of what the Church ACTUALLY teaches.

Petra: Hopefully you'll like them. There seems to be a lot of disagreement about whether they're worth it or not. But personally, I thought the first two Shadow books were great, and I'm still glad I read the third one even though I didn't like it as much. There were still some really good parts. So I'm planning to eventually read the whole lot of them, and some of Card's other books as well.