Thursday, September 22, 2016

Book Review: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

A long time ago, I was “trapped” in a Barnes and Noble for a school book drive and had about an hour to kill before the event was scheduled to begin. Being the bookworm that I am, I set about browsing the adult science fiction section, just for a change of pace. Ender’s Game was sitting on the endcap of the first row, staring at me. I had heard of Ender’s Game before, but had never read it. So, I scooped up a copy, found a ridiculously uncomfortable chair, and started reading. I got lost in the book. So lost, in fact, people had to come and find me when my book drive shift began because I had completely lost track of time.

When Ender’s Game begins, Earth has already repelled two attempted invasions from the buggers—insect-like creatures who seem bent on taking Earth as their own. The main character, Ender Wiggin, is a six year old boy who has been actively monitored by the International Fleet since he was three years old. Why? The IF monitors, selects, and then trains children at Battle School in preparation for the anticipated third bugger invasion. After Ender is chosen to attend Battle School, he spends the next six years of his life training to be a fleet soldier to protect his home from the buggers.

The above summary doesn’t even scratch the surface of the whole picture of this story, and that’s why I enjoyed it. I loved how deep, disturbing, and layered it was. The reader is treated to a multitude of viewpoints throughout the book. The main story follows Ender through his time at Battle School and his eventual transfer to Command School. The second viewpoint is from his intense, and often times ruthless teachers at the schools, who are deciding Ender’s fate for him without ever involving Ender in their decisions. The last viewpoint follows Ender’s older siblings, his sadistic older brother, Peter, and his cunning sister, Valentine. All of these viewpoints come together into one amazing story, woven with so much intrigue, and so much detail and description that it makes the reader feel they are actually in the heads of each of these characters. The characters are what makes this story worth reading, no exceptions.

I’ll be honest, I have a love/hate relationship with stories that put kids into difficult and dangerous situations. Ender’s Game was no exception. I hated the physical and mental tortures the teachers, other adults, and other kids in this story put Ender through. It becomes even worse when you remember that Ender is only six years old when the story begins. I realize that Ender has to show his willingness to do whatever it takes to win the bugger war, but the adults’ “we’ll see how Ender deals with this” attitude was difficult to accept.

Ender’s Game is definitely a classic science fiction story and a great introduction to the science fiction genre. Yes, there was a movie based on the book back in 2013. If you’d like to watch a summary of the story, the movie is pretty good, but please, after you’re done watching the movie, get the whole picture by reading the novel!

Emily is finishing a wonderful 630-page monster for next week’s review and she’s going to invent a whole new genre! Keep an eye out for next week’s review to see what the book and new genre will be!

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