Thursday, December 15, 2011

Book Review: Ender’s Game

 
Title: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Release Date: Jan. 1, 1985
Publisher: Tor
Pages: 324 pages
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: Library
Goodreads Summary: 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.
I’m in awe that Orson Scott Card wrote Ender’s Game almost 27 years ago. It feels surprisingly modern and easily rivals and even bests some of today’s top science fiction and dystopian novels.

Set in the future, we meet Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, a six-year-old prodigy who the government believes is the next great war general to defend Earth against a third attack from an alien race. The reader has no choice but to sympathize with Ender’s character. Only a child, he is isolated, manipulated and used in order to mold him into this great soldier that he is not sure he wants to be.

Card does an excellent job in taking Ender’s character from a nice and idealistic little boy into a paranoid and hardened soldier. Your heart breaks for Ender and all he loses to become what everyone wants him to be. Secondary characters like Ender’s siblings Peter and Valentine are also well written. All three siblings are prodigies, but they are unusually mature. Actually, very few of the children in this book act their age and the ones that do are usually bullies. Buying into this story of kids saving the world does require to you to stretch your imagination, but this is sci-fi so I just went with it.  

There’s definitely a reason Ender’s Game is a sci-fi classic. The war strategy and social and political climate described in the story are fascinating. It is action packed and very fast paced, not to mention there a huge twist in the end that makes the story an absolute stand out. While I recommend it for anyone who likes science fiction, I highly recommend it for boys and especially for reluctant readers. Before you give Ender’s Game to your pre-teen, be aware that there is a lot of name calling, some profanity (the “s” word) and some very violent fight scenes.  

Content: Profanity and heavy violence.

My Rating: Very Good!

3 comments:

KM said...

Oh! Orson Scott Card is famous! I've never read one of his books, though. Great review!

Oto said...

I love Ender's Game. It's one of my favorite books of all time, and I do believe it was the first Science Fiction novel I read.

Noah Silver said...

Hey, I was hoping to get your opinion on this Ender's Game song I wrote, one fan to another. The music video is here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQjWFo5alac .

Best,
Noah

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