Reviewed by: Kimball, age 15
This is the third book in the Shadow saga by Orson Scott Card. It was a bit mushy at times but like a book with geniuses in it, it has puzzles for the reader to scratch their heads over as they watch the protagonists figure them out. My favorite one is the double email where the second half is entirely composed of scriptures. Orson Scott Card is a very clever author.
Setting: Present-day Earth, Space
Introduction:Peter Wiggin is now Hegemon of Earth-- and now he's rescued Achilles, the most dangerous, psychotic ex-street urchin from a Chinese prison camp. Peter thinks he can use him to his own purposes and keep him from killing anyone, but Bean knows better. Achilles is a monster who kills anyone who sees him helpless; to have him rescued from a prison (earning his "gratitude") is to have a death sentence. As Achilles corrupts the Hegemony from under Peter's stubborn, arrogant nose, Bean and Petra resign from the Hegemony and go into hiding from Achilles. Bean has a rare condition called Anton's Key-- he is the most brilliant person on Earth, but now he is also one of the tallest, when he used to be the smallest. His brilliance costs him years of his life; he'll just keep growing and growing until he dies around twenty. He doesn't want to have children and leave Anton's Key in their DNA-- but Petra has other plans and knows that everyone must leave a legacy in their children. And Achilles knows that if any of Bean's children have Anton's Key, they will be the most powerful humans on Earth, and he can't let an opportunity like that get away from him.
Themes: Family is the meaning of life, know thine enemy,
Recommended Age: 14 and up
There is swearing in this book. There are also sex references, but no actual sex (Bean is trying to have kids by testing the embryos in a lab and implanting the ones without Anton's key in his wife to be born, so that he doesn't pass on his curse.)
Rating: 4 stars
Other Books: Ender's Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow of the Giant, Ender in Exile, Shadows in Flight