Shadow Puppets - Orson Scott Card

This is the third in the Ender's Shadow series. By this point in the story, Peter Wiggins is the Hegemon but has little real power and Achilles has been exploiting contacts and created a situation where China is establishing an empire. In one major subplot, Peter attempts to use Achilles to his own advantage, despite all the warnings that everyone who's tried to do that in the past has failed miserably. There's also plenty of strategizing and maneuvering, mostly centered around China.

Finally, there's a subplot about Bean, who finally gives in to having children with Petra despite the fear that they'll inherit his genetic condition. Along the way, various characters express some not-so-subtle opinions about sanctity of life, the universal desire for marriage and children, and so on. It's something there was a small hint of in Shadow of the Hegemon, but here it's a much larger portion of the plot. It does, however, feel a little out of place, and you're not entirely sure if the philosophy discussions sprung from the plot, or if the plot was created to promote the philosophy. It's not so much that I disagree with all the opinions, but they just didn't quite seem to fit.

I was curious to continue following the stories of Bean, Petra, Peter, etc. but I still didn't enjoy this one as much as some of the earlier books in the Ender series. Like the last book, this one also involved too many people who were too smart, resulting in somewhat arbitrary decisions about who gets fooled. I'm the sort of person who really wants to finish out a series, but if you're not, this one isn't necessarily one of the best.

Fed to jonathan's brain | October 21, 2004