380 pages. Afterword.
This book, another volume in the Ender's Game universe, isn't exactly a sequel – the author calls it a midquel. It overlaps the final chapters of Ender's Game, wraps up some loose ends from the Shadows series, and leads up to Speaker for the Dead.
In doing so, the author takes the opportunity to fix a few continuity errors and repair minor mistakes in previous novels. (A corrected chapter from Ender's Game is available for free download.) This won't matter unless you're a superfan, really.
So what do we get in this novel? In Ender's Game, Ender Wiggins ends up on a colony ship to the stars. This novel now goes back, building on the expanded characters from the Shadows series, to show how Ender, Graff, Mazer, Peter, Valentine, Petra, and the Wiggin parents all tied in to send Ender into exile from Earth.
We then get an entertaining star voyage, as Ender (now 14) prepares to govern a colony, unless Admiral Morgan decides it is his duty to intervene… there's also a shipboard romance, a little Shakespeare (back to the author's roots in theater!), and Valentine rebuilds her relationship with her younger brother Ender.
Then comes Ender's time as governor, which expands a bit on what is already in Ender's Game.
Then Ender accepts an assignment from Graff, and travels with his sister to the colony world where Virlomi governs (the ex-Battle School student who led Indian resistance in the Shadows series), and we find out what has become of Bean and Petra's lost child.
I enjoyed this novel. It felt good to see old characters again, and resolve a few mysteries. There was enough new material that I did not feel I was reading the same stuff over again (OK, maybe in the colony chapters!). Valentine is better fleshed out as a character, and we get the final story of Battle School master Graff. The author also tries to show Ender coping with his post-war stress.
If you read this novel, you probably want to read Ender's Game and the Shadows series (but not Shadows in Flight prior to reading this one, so that you know all the characters and storylines first.
Recommended if you are a fan of the series.
Reviewed by Editor in Chief Bill .