Friday, October 11, 2013

Book review: Ender's Game

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Description from Goodreads (below) can be found here along with other reviews.

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

Ender's Game was a super quick read for me. There were some slow parts, but most of it is filled with sci-fi action and keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Ender is a nice kid, and you care about him and what happens to him. And a lot happens to him. Ender is tortured by his brother and then is pretty permanently taken from his family. He faces several plots to physically harm him and one plot to kill him. He advances through school at lightning speed, which isn't making him any friends -- all knowing he is being groomed to lead a war.

Oh, and did I mention that all this starts when he is six and ends when he is barely a teenager?

At the same time, Ender has been bred -- created, designed -- to lead a war. To end a war. So he is cunning and analytical and sometimes violent and you wonder if you should really be cheering for him and then he questions himself and you care about him again.

It's a lot of feelings.

I liked most of the book. I did not like the end. Or the beginning of the end, before it goes into epilogue-y stuff. If you've read it, I'd love to discuss with you (I'm lookin at you, Kate) -- just beware of spoilers in the comments.

This is a great book, I would think, for reluctant male readers. And now, it's a movie!! Coming out soon.

Have any of you read Ender's Game? What did you think?

PS: In case you missed it, I posted yesterday about my trouble with the author, Orson Scott Card.


Zoe Aron said...

I read Ender's Game freshman year of high school. I remember it being one of the best books we read that year. Though reading it as a hero story has kind of colored my impression of the story.
However I want to read it again before the movie comes out to read it without that lense.

Kate said...

Yes yes yes! I'm literally preparing to reread it because it's been close to 5 years since I read it last.

I'm glad you seemed to like it though! I'm always afraid that if I talk something up, everyone will end up absolutely hating it. :P

The Lady Okie said...

I read this a long time ago. Honestly I don't remember much about it. I guess I'll have to retread it if its gonna be a movie!

Tamara said...

I feel like I've been out of the blogging loop for like, ever. (It's been a month) But I loooove your new look. Blue looks good on you. And on Jayhawks. :)

I'm all about reading books before they hit the big screen so I may have to check this out. I'm surprisingly (to me) a fan of sci-fi so I have this on my maybe list!


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