4 out of 5 stars. Ages 10 and up.
This is a science fiction book I was inspired to read after seeing the last ten minutes of the film adaption at someone’s house. I was so intrigued by the movie that I decided to check out the book, and I’m really glad I did. I have not read the second book yet, but I hope to finish the entire quartet soon.
Overall, this was a depressing read. Ender, the people he interacted with, and the entire world just seemed to be in a sad state. Still, I always needed to finish it, to see how it would end. The ideas explored within this story-alien invasion and subsequent war, genius children, future fighting techniques and training, political fragility, human psychology-were fascinating.
I loved Ender. Absolutely adored that kid. Now, this may seem to be a strange sentiment because as the novel progresses, he seems to lose more and more of his humanity. But I think that seeing him struggle with the training, his relationships, even himself, just endeared him to me more. Although the story centers on Ender, about halfway through the book we begin to see more of Ender’s older sister, Valentine, and his brother, Peter. All three siblings are equally intelligent, and even though Peter and Valentine were not selected for Battle School, they continue to change and shape the world around them. I liked getting to see how their lives progressed, as we only catch a quick glimpse of them before Ender is taken away to Battle School. At the beginning of each chapter, there is a short piece of dialogue, usually between Colonel Graff (the man who recruited Ender) and Major Anderson (organizer and designer of the games). This adds some clarity to the story, as we are given a window into the world of the controllers, and also memories that Ender could never possess. While I understood Graff’s motivations, I still disagreed with him on almost everything and disliked him for what he did, not just to Ender, but all of those boys. Finally, the aliens. I am not a huge alien person, but I really liked the concept of the Buggers. Without spoiling too much, I will say that the Buggers, though they’re spoken of more than seen, are well thought out, complex, and interesting. I really fell in love with these characters, though I am unable to pinpoint exactly why. I never once considered not finishing this book, and I think a lot of that was because I was so attached to the characters.
The style of this book was in no way remarkable. It was not awful, but at the same time, it wasn’t great. It was quite simple, no layers. In fact, in the edition I read, Card says in the introduction “I designed Ender’s Game to be as clear and accessible as any story of mine could possibly be. My goal was that the reader wouldn’t have to be trained in literature or even in science fiction to receive the tale in its simplest, purest form.” That being said, this writing style doesn’t take any attention away from the story, which means it’s easier to process and recall for the reader. Though it is about children, the story was not intended strictly for a juvenile audience. However, since its publication it’s been read by many children who loved it, and I think some of this is due to the precise, clear style it’s written in.
I very much enjoyed Ender’s Game. The world-building details of science fiction are always a pleasure to read, and I grew extremely fond of the characters. Though I would have appreciated a more elegant, layered style, I think the writing here works well for the book. The full story of Ender can be found in Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind. There are also several companion books (I’m not completely sure if that’s the correct term, but oh well) where different point of views are presented and the EG universe is expanded. Here are the links to Ender’s Game on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.
Do you like science fiction? Read Ender’s Game or any of Card’s other work? Tell me what you’re thinking in the comments!