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Review: Ender’s Game

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Ender’s Game
Author: Orson Scott Card 
Release Date: January 1985
Publisher: Tor Science Fiction
Book #1 Ender series
ISBN: #978-0812550702
Genre: Science Fiction
Format(s): Paperback, e-book, audiobook

Gikany found it on her parents’ shelf when she was a teenager. She bought the ebook a few months ago…because it is nice to have handy on her iPhone.

From the author’s website:

Andrew “Ender” Wiggin thinks he is playing computer simulated war games; he is, in fact, engaged in something far more desperate. The result of genetic experimentation, Ender may be the military genius Earth desperately needs in a war against an alien enemy seeking to destroy all human life. The only way to find out is to throw Ender into ever harsher training, to chip away and find the diamond inside, or destroy him utterly. Ender Wiggin is six years old when it begins. He will grow up fast.

But Ender is not the only result of the experiment. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings, Peter and Valentine, are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. While Peter was too uncontrollably violent, Valentine very nearly lacks the capability for violence altogether. Neither was found suitable for the military’s purpose. But they are driven by their jealousy of Ender, and by their inbred drive for power. Peter seeks to control the political process, to become a ruler.
Valentine’s abilities turn more toward the subtle control of the beliefs of commoner and elite alike, through powerfully convincing essays. Hiding their youth and identities behind the anonymity of the computer networks, these two begin working together to shape the destiny of Earth-an Earth that has no future at all if their brother Ender fails.

Newsday said of this novel “Card has done strong work before, but this could be the book to break him out of the pack.” It was. Ender’s Game took the sf world by storm, sweeping the awards. It won both the Hugo and Nebula, and rose to the top of national bestseller lists.

What Gikany & Una are talking about:

Una has not read much science fiction (but has enjoyed many television shows and movies) while Gikany holds it close to her heart (she almost has the whole book memorized *Gikany mumbles, not entirely*). Through Gikany, Una finally read Ender’s Game (*Una mumbles, she held a gun at me*) and realized the absolute brilliance of it. Una reluctantly admits…Gikany was right…(*do NOT frame this, Gikany*) Ender’s Game is truly the epitome of well-crafted science fiction. It is the first book in a series, but so far, I, Una, have only read this book. Gikany, of course, has read the entire main series. It seems that the author branched off and told other stories from the world and the similar story from another perspective.

Una is going to go on and try to write this review since her perspective and opinion is less, shall we say, biased. Gikany…well, let’s just say that the book she loaned me to read, well, it is the book she found on her parents’ shelves and truly shows it’s wear and tear from who KNOWS how many rereads. *Gikany mumbles….”maybe ten…or twenty…I like the book* I, Una, found myself completely engrossed in this novel. I don’t know whether it is because I had recently had a son and this story is about a young boy thrust into a world in crisis and a war that has more than one battlefield. It is also a coming of age story set in a not too distant future that is recovering from a two devastating alien invasions. These aliens, referred to as Buggers, were highly advanced and only found defeat by a human who found their weakness. Decades later the humans are trying to find a new commander that will be able to eliminate the threat once and for all. In order to find this leader, children are groomed and measured, selected for the elite Battle School. Population pressures are such that families are limited to a maximum of two children. However, for Ender, he is a third child, sanctioned by the government because his elder siblings showed such promise only to be found wanting and not selected for Battle School. This sets up the juxtaposition of rivalry and familial bonds between Ender and his older siblings; Peter and Valentine. The first a war game that Ender plays is between himself and Peter.

Ender is finally selected for Battle School at the ripe old age of six. In many ways this war training of a child I found horribly disturbing. However, as the book progresses, the world is not as cold and unfeeling as it can appear to the reader. Ender is challenged more than any student ever before him simply because he possesses the intelligence a leader requires tempered by compassion that will invest him in the salvation of the world. This compassion is what will allow him to find the enemy’s weakness and capitalize on it. I find myself, Una, completely engrossed in Ender’s story. There were moments when his circumstances brought not only tears, but full on crying for his struggles.

This is one of those books, where the end truly clarifies the journey. It is not one of those books that leave you with any mystery or misunderstanding; you know what has transpired and why, how it ended and yet leaves you with hope for the future. Without that hope, I would have felt completely cheated. *Gikany laughs* Ender endures so much that without the hope; I would have been angry and would have been forced to burn Gikany’s book. *Gikany laughs…a lot* The storytelling, as you can tell from my lingering emotions, even after months from finishing it, was powerful. I can completely understand the accolades that this book has received and will say, if you have any enjoyment of science fiction stories whether in film, television or book, you must read this book. If not, hopefully this review will tempt you to try it.

*Una turns to Gikany* Anything to add?

*Gikany pauses, thinks for a moment* Nope, that pretty much says it all.

Their Rating:
5 stars: Personal favorite – a must read (A+)

  • I;ve had this book for a while now. Thanks for the great review. I need to push it up the TBR pile!

  • This is one of my husband’s favorite series. I read it and enjoyed it but not as much as him. It is very well written.

  • Una

    I was really surprised by how much I liked it…the writing was really well done, I was completely sucked in.

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