Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ender's Game

Ender's Game
by Orson Scott Card
352 pages
Middle School+

 At a young age, Ender Wiggin is drafted to fight the alien Buggers.  He's brilliant, a great strategist, and 6 years old.  After rejecting his older brother for excessive violence, and then sister for not being aggressive enough, Ender seems like the best hope for mankind against the next Bugger invasion.  With nothing besides the clothes on his back, Ender is sent off to Battleschool.

Up in the space station of Battleschool, Ender is not the only child prodigy.  He's not even the smallest, but he might be the best.  Quickly adapting to the life of classes and simulated battles, Ender excels.  He is innovative, bright, and beating students that have been there years longer than he has.  On the outside, life couldn't be better.

But Ender's life is lonely.  He misses his sister, his victories feel hollow, and the simulated games are losing their appeal.  If Ender really is mankind's best hope, then where is his hope and happiness?

Wow, what a book.  Super powerful, and even more the next time you read it.  Knowing what you learn at the end of the book (don't jump ahead!  Read it in order) makes the rest of it really interesting.  Like a lot of other books, the more times you read it, the deeper and more significant references and actions in the book are.  Definitely read this more than once.

This book is full of people doing bad things and withholding secrets for the "greater good."  Even within the book, there are consequences for these people, but how much suffering do we let people go through for their own good?  While ultimately, it saves the world, what damage does it do to Ender and his friends?  Is that trade off acceptable?  I could write papers upon papers on this book (not that I really want to, but hey, there are enough issues to keep a writer occupied for years).

I know they are doing a movie on this, and I have mixed feelings about how it will turn out.  While I'm excited for a lot of it, but I'm also not quite sure how they are going to get all of Ender's angst and personal struggles communicated to the audience.  So much of the book happens in Ender's head: are they going to change that?  Make him more reactive to people?  Should be interesting to see the movie!

So, overall, great book that makes the reader think.  Deep, thought provoking, and a little disturbing at times.  While the characters in the book are young, I would give this mostly to high school student, and maybe the occasional middle school.  Lots of violence in the book, both military and person to person, not to mention a little language.  Not knowing what the movie is like yet, don't know if you need to read the book before you seen the movie or not...  But amazing book!  Have fun and read it!

Quick note about sequels or companion books- I liked Ender's Shadow and that series a lot more than the Speaker for the Dead series.  To me, the books that followed Ender (Speaker for the Dead) just got weird and hard to read, but I last read them as a teen.  Ender's Shadow was much more interesting to me.  But that is just by opinion. 

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