Bean is the littlest and the last in everything but brains. The four year old is far smarter than anyone he knows. But he has a problem even his huge brain canít take care of; starvation. He is a street kid, a little malnourished scrap of humanity. But it wonít be long before he launches himself off the earth and up to Battle School, where Ender Wiggin has not yet committed Xenocide, where Ender Wiggin needs someone smarter than he is to depend on. And Bean is determined to become that someone.
This book can be read either before or after Ender's Game, although I would personally read Ender's Shadow second. Bean, who is a minor and somewhat laughable character in the previous book, has an entire story to himself. His fight for survival on the streets of Rotterdam, his intelligence that surpasses even the famous Ender, are all key elements that lend depth to the this novel.
The part I am most impressed with however is the fact that Orson Scott Card is able to write such a drastically different character from Ender. Bean has such different viewpoints and experiences from Ender that they are truly different people, and not mirror images with different names, as in some authorís books.
The only quibble I have with the book is the fact that the author leaves Beanís future hanging - during the book there is a great deal of reference to the fact that Bean was genetically altered to create his great intelligence, a thought which Orson Scott Card never really finishes. Other than that, I thought it was a wonderful piece of work and a fit sequel for Enders Game.
Title: Ender's Shadow