Book Review: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Title: Ender’s Game

Series: The Ender’s Quintet #1

Author: Orson Scott Card

Publisher: Tor Teens

Release Date: May 7, 2013 (Originally Jan 1985)

Website: www.hatrack.com


Book Summary:

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed children geniuses and train them as soldiers.  A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his ssadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine.  Peter and Valentine were candidates for the solder-training program but didn’t make the cut – younger 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 fromt he 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 he 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 differnt ways.  Between the three of them lies the abilities to remake a world.  If, that is, the world survives.

Ender’s Game is the winner of the 1985 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

 

I had been meaning to read this book for a while now and after getting a really great deal at bookoutlet.ca (see link below) I had no more excuses to not.  I’m glad I did.  I knew very little about this book other than many people loved it and it was better than the movie (which I haven’t seen either).
The book follows Ender during his training, although from time to time diverts back to Earth and follows Valentine (Ender’s sister).  I enjoyed the break when it did happen.  It never felt forced and you didn’t lose sight of the main object of the book (having Ender grow up and start the 3rd war).  In these breaks you learned more about Valentine and her never ending love she has for Ender, despite feeling sidetracked and maybe even like a traitor.   Ender is a 3rd in a world where a 3rd child is not an option.  The government sanctioned him in order to create a perfect fighter/commander.  My feelings towards Ender, as a character, varied.  One minute I felt sorry for him, since he is only a child and was an outcast only for being born as a 3rd and very smart.  The next minute I was wondering whether or not he is completely insane and maybe even a psychopath, specifically after a ruthless fight between him and a couple of bullies.  There were many times throughout the book that I thought the adults were going too far, pushing Ender past his limits, but then he learns and succeeds and outsmarts them all.  This book is an emotional ride, with ups and downs and surprises to no end.  The two twists at the end were amazing and unexpected.  I am hard pressed to find anything I didn’t like about this book.
Near the end, I was hoping for more, but in this case it was just because it was a good book and not because the story was lacking any conclusions or felt rushed.  I was suprised at how attached I became to this book and how quickly.  Despite it being part of a quintet, I feel this can be a self-contained book.  It had a begining and an ending.  In a sense it does leave it open for the remainders of the books; however, it does not feel as open ended as more recent books do when they plan on continuing a series.
I was debating about what to rate it, going back and forth between 4.5 and 5 because I just hadn’t obsorbed it all yet.  In the end I did love this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who can handle violence between children (although I believe it had way less violence than the Hunger Games!).

Rating:  5/5 – I loved it!!!

Content: Some strong language is used.  There is nudity but it is never described in detail and some teasing relating to butts occurs.  There is a fair amount of violence – fights between children resulting in serious injury, bullying, animal cruelty, and war.
Source: Personal Copy
This book can be purchased at AmazonChapters, Indigo, and Book Outlet

Comments

  1. I fall in the group of those that loved Ender’s Game. I haven’t seen the movie either but I’ve often experienced that the book is usually better than the movie lol!

    I enjoyed your honest review, especially since you touched on points that interested me as well, such as how far Ender was being pushed. I often found the breaks to his sister as a reminder of his humanity, though the program seemed to be stripping Ender of it bit by bit.

    • Heather says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed my review Angela – I really appreciate the feedback. I have recently watched the movie and, well, let’s just say I was left wanting way more and I wasn’t happy with the adaptation. I never thought of the breaks to his sister as a reminder of his humanity, but now that you’ve pointed that out it makes perfect sense!

  2. While not a total fan of Ender’s Game, after reading it, I could see how some of the latest Dystopian series perhaps have roots in Ender’s Game. My husband is a huge fan of this novel and now that we both have read it and seen the movie, we get into great debates about how the movie handled certain aspects of the story.

  3. I enjoyed both this book and the movie! I’m deciding if I should read the rest, as this felt like it could be the end of the book. Do you think you will check out the rest?

    • Heather says:

      Hi LU,

      I agree with you, it did feel like a stand-alone – or at least that it could be. I was debating whether or not to continue the series. I’ve heard the best are the first 4 and that would ultimately be where I stop (since it was the original series). I have other books I want to get to first, but ultimately I will be putting it on my list of series to finish – eventually.