Adam C. Zern opines on Orson Scott Card's 7th book in the Ender series - Shadow Puppets:
"Seven books into a series, what can an author do to keep the stories and characters interesting? How does the author keep the drama, humor, and the other various elements of a story from becoming stultified? Having read Shadow Puppets I have to conclude that Orson Scott Card may be losing his stride. Granted, Shadow Puppets is really the third book in the Bean (Shadow) trilogy, which began with Ender's Shadow, but that makes Shadow Puppets even more of a disappointment. The Shadow series shouldn't feel this flat only three books into it.
The biggest problem with Shadow Puppets is that it introduces very little new information into the overall story and the conflicts are almost identical to Shadow of the Hegemon. The biggest conflict of all, thus far, is resolved, but even that resolution is anticlimactic. It just sort of happens with no real drama or emotion to accompany the event. It was probably the biggest disappointment of the book.
Grumbling aside, I'm invested in these characters. I will finish the Ender series to the bitter end. I care for the characters, and I want to see the ultimate resolution of their story arcs. I do hope, however, that Orson Scott Card flexed his creative muscles quite a bit more strenuously for the later Ender books."