I hate hearing the same story twice.
Okay, that’s sort of a lie, since I’ve reread Harry Potter and Percy Jackson and a bunch of other beloved books SEVERAL times. (I’ve enjoyed them too much to not read them just once.)
I have problems reading a book that has a similar plot line to another book I’ve read. Often, the only way I can continue and enjoy myself is if the book is either if the book has carried out the similar plot in a better or equal way.
I had this problem with Miss Peregrine’s. And it did not go over well.
I have this problem with the presentation of The Giver in the new movie. They are making it look like other YA dystopian–like Divergent or Hunger Games. Meanwhile I found the book much more subtle than that.
But Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Shadow is a different story.
Or rather, it’s the same story, from a different point of view. Ender’s Shadow is told from Bean’s perspective, and since Bean is only in the latter half of Ender’s Game (probably less so) a majority of the novel is actually new material.
My problem is that it sounds an awful lot like Ender’s Game. Bean experiences trauma before going to Battle School like Ender does. Bean is a loner and is singled out just like Ender is. Bean makes one good friend in the launchie group like Ender does. Bean is going through the same story Ender does.
Well, with one exception. Ender’s Game follows a narrative of thought-strategy-emotional turmoil-reflection-thought-thought-strategy-emotional turmoil.
Ender’s Shadow, or rather, Bean, follows a narrative of thought-thought-thought-thought-thought-thought.
Bean is literally a brain. He’s very methodic and calculating, and at times that gets to be very dry. Especially when he spends 10 pages crawling though the ventilation system of Battle School.
However, it’s because of this that the reader gets a lot of information that wasn’t explained in Ender’s Game. Little tidbits of information like gravity in Battle School is mimicked using centripetal force, Bean had access to all the student files, or that Bean is the one who created Dragon Army.
Yeah. The rag-tag bunch of launchies and losers that were slapped together to become Ender’s legendary Dragon Army? All Bean’s doing.
It’s classy. It’s smart. It’s what makes Bean’s story his.
Because if Bean’s going to be a brain, he’s going to be the brain. The mastermind behind the operations, the hidden strategy that no one notices.
So am I reading the same story? Yes and no.
The change in perspective changes things.