Orson Scott Card – Ender’s Game

22Aug09

I picked up this book as part of the Take A Chance Challenge, under Challenge#3: Birth Year Book: “Find a book that was published or copyrighted in the year of your birth. Read the book and write about it.”

For better or for worst, I was born in 1985, and as I haven’t read much fantasy this year, I opted for this gem of a book, and I must say it was a great choice. I loved the book, and it makes me wonder why I don’t read more fantasy.

Ender, the protagonist, is six years old when the book starts, and, deemed a genius. A ‘third’, i.e. the third offspring in a day and age where only two children are allowed, Ender is ‘special’ – the government requested his parents to have a third child, due to their exceptional genes. The first two children were both ‘monitored’, but due to minor inadequacies, they were deemed not good enough.

What does the government want little geniuses for? To train in battle, lest the “buggers” (an alien civilization that resembles insects) invade again, and this time, everyone’s running scared despite humanity prevailing stronger in both the previous invasions. Humans need a strong leader, a capable one, and Ender is chosen, after being closely monitored by the government, by literally having a monitor “installed” on him.

The characters are extremely well-drawn, be it six year old Ender, his old brother Peter, and their sister, Val – or – Ender’s friends from battle school. Dink and Petra remain two favorites, whereas Bean was almost a repeat of Ender’s character.

While the book is far-fetched, there is a strong feeling of reality as Ender’s character grows and matures, and swings between different emotional states, as people continuously toy with him. He’s not perfect, but, he does what he’s meant to better than anyone else.

And this is Ender’s journey, training in battle, playing ‘games’ with fellow genius children, battling it out, and aiming for just one thing: winning. But as the government and the teachers keep changing the rules, to test Ender further and further, one wonders: is Ender going to make it, or will he succumb to his darkest nightmares?

Rating: 4

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6 Responses to “Orson Scott Card – Ender’s Game”

  1. I have a copy of this book, but don’t normally read science fiction. I am very intrigued by it, but my husband read it and loved it so now I’m not sure – he is a big science fiction fan and we have not found a book we both love yet.

    Are you a fan of science fiction? Do you think I’ll enjoy this one?

    • It’s a tough one. I like science-fiction and fantasy, but don’t read that much of it. However, I think what makes this book amazing is the character of Ender, and how well his emotions are portrayed, be it exasperation, frustration, fear or… in the rare case, happiness. Ender’s the hero, but, he’s not perfect by any means, and that makes it more “real”.

      I’d suggest trying it – it’s a relatively quick read, and there isn’t much to lose – in fact, you might find that you really like the book, and may have missed out on it due to pre-conceived notions. If you hate it, please don’t blame me!

  2. I love this book. I’ve read it several times and every time I read it I am amazed at the story. The first time I read it I was a teenager and thought it was awesome. I wasn’t sure it would stand a reading as a adult but it has – over and over!
    To me, this is more than a science fiction novel. In fact, I think the sci-fi part is almost secondary to the plot. The rest of the series is just as clever and well written but not as deep. And there is also a shadow series that tells different parts of the story from Bean’s perspective. I’m a huge OSC fan, but this series, in particular this book, are by far my favourite.
    (Sorry for such a long comment, I’m just so excited to see a review of one of my most loved books!)
    Here’s my review here:
    http://nosebook.mapledesign.ca/?p=15#content

    • I agree with you about the sci-fi being secondary to the plot – it was so well written. I’ll have to read the other two books in the series, now… been really bad with sci-fi/fantasy trilogies this year. Read K=Pax, but not K-Pax II & III. Read Sabriel, but not Lirael and Abhorsen. And now this.

      The shadow series sounds really interesting as well.

      And thanks for the comment – I love long comments:)

  3. Score!! I read “Ender’s Game” ages ago and loved it! (Didn’t you love the twist at the end?) I’m glad this challenge led you to it … it was a wonderful book and one of his better ones I think.

    • I did – totally! I’m glad I stumbled upon it as well, as you can make out.

      I’ve got Speaker Of The Dead in the pipelines already – it’s supposed to be really good as well.

      Thanks a lot for leading me to it.


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