Review: 'Ender's Game' by Orson Scott Card

Monday, June 29, 2015

Ender's Game
Orson Scott Card

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 is the winner of the 1985 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for Best Novel

Travel Companion:

If I traveled with the main character Ender Wiggin, he would be:

The Navigator

Ender would be the navigator of the adventure. He would be the one with an actual compass. (Not the iPhone one.) We would all follow him anywhere. (We would be lost without him.)
We would meet Ender at the airport, who would be suspiciously eyeing everybody. (Including us.) We would either A) snatch his little child person and run or B) coax him to join us with the thought of exploration.
But either way would work.

At first, I didn't feel for Ender. I felt like I didn't get enough depth from him. It seemed like I was just watching him act and not think. I wanted more. What was he thinking? Why did he do certain things? I wanted to know about Ender. What made him tick? I needed more.
But as I moved through the story, I started to feel for him. I pitied him even. His whole world was different. It was new to him. He was plunged into battle. Forced to fight. I felt like that was terrible for his health, mental and physical. Ender deserved better. He deserved a childhood. He was too young to be a commander. Where was his childhood? His childhood was stolen away. He could have read and played games. Got a girl. Dated. Earned honor roll.
But no.
He had to be a commander. He had to fight the buggers. But he was too young. Ender needed a better life.
I hope he found it.

The Adventure Begins (And Ends):

We were taken through Ender's life from the moment he was taken to the Battle School to the end. How he fought. His isolation. His weaknesses and strengths.
There were twists. Rivals. People who hated Ender's mind. People who wanted Ender dead. The teachers forcing Ender to his limits. We saw how Ender reacted. He was quick on his feet. Smart and deadly so. 
The plot had a few twists. The ending. The truth behind the games at Command School. All shocking. You wouldn't expect them. They smashed into you and surprised you. They were interesting to the reader.

I'll Wait For You At the Gate:

The great thing about this story was the lack of romance. Sure, there was familial romance, but that is different than actual romance. The bond between Ender and Valentine was strong. Those two were great siblings to each other. They were there for each other. She was his warm memory, his home. The person he could rely on when things got tough.

Perks and Upgrades:

What an action-filled plot. We had some great action scenes. The two armies fight. The fight that took Ender by surprise. On top of that, Ender was a great strategist. He could fight well. He ordered his soldiers well. His tactics were unique. He crafted them on the spot. It was great seeing how the boy worked.

You Have Arrived at Your Destination:

The ending was great. It summed up everything that happened. What he did. Why he left. What happened after. Then we had Valentine and Ender. I expected those two to reunite. It was awesome when they did. Those two worked well together. A great duo. And what happened with the queen? Amazing. I wouldn't expect anything like that. And everything really was a misunderstanding. They didn't understand you, and you didn't understand them. If you spoke the same language, it would have been better.
I don't feel like there is a need to read the next books in the quintet. The story ended perfectly. Ender got something that could make him happy. The other books could explore Ender more, but I don't feel like I need to read them.

This review is short because this story was just too hard to place. I couldn't formulate my thoughts. It was hard to understand the book. I feel like it was on another level of comprehension. I was missing things; I know that. I can't explain things I don't understand.


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