Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review: Ender's Game

Earth has been twice attacked by alien forces known as "Buggers". In response the government has started training children as warriors to defend Earth in the event of another attack. Andrew (Ender) Wiggin is the third child in his family and is the only one drafted to prepare for war as a student in the Battle School located on a ship that orbits the Earth. Ender is a natural leader and he advances quickly which isolates him from his peers. Soon the survival of Planet Earth rests solely in Ender's young hands.

Ender's Game
Author: Orson Scott Card
Series: Ender's Saga (Book 1)
Publication Date: 1985
Publisher: Tor Science Fiction
Number of Pages: 324
Where I Got It: Target, Mooresville, NC
Dates I Read It: June 10 - June 16, 2013
Number Of Stars: 5/5
Read For: The Movie's Coming

The first thing that I noticed about this book is how Ender (and really all of the children in the book) thinks and speaks older than a six year old should. At first it was overly distracting for me but as I kept reading I realized that there is so much pressure on the children in this novel.  The children are not allowed to be children- they are expected to be and forced to behave like small adults. Once you can accept that this is the case for children in the future, you can really start to appreciate what these characters have to endure, Ender especially. This kid has the patience of Job; he is constantly bullied and betrayed and yet he perseveres each time. His brother and sister, Peter and Valentine, get their own subplot a little over halfway through the book. I loved this story line as it was very advanced for the time that the book was written-they used the Internet!
All of the characters in the book were very well written. The emotions were raw and exposed through this entire book. Card has a gift for getting readers to feel empathetic even towards some of his most despicable characters. Everyone in this book has a motivation and everyone else knows how to play on those motivations to manipulate.

I am not normally a huge fan of science-fiction books and that is why it has taken me so long to read this book. Confession: I probably would have never read this book if it was never made into a movie. I am so glad that I did get to experience this one, though. I was surprised how how beautifully it was written. It has everything that I look for in a book: excellent character development and a beautiful writing style. Normally I don't care to read about intergalactic warfare but this book was highly engaging. I was blown away by how real it felt. The technology is very accurate so it is hard to believe that this was published in 1985. This book is the grandfather of today's ever popular dystopian fantasy fiction.

Another thing that did trip me up as a first-time reader of science-fiction, there was a lot of battle strategy and political talk which was very difficult to decipher at times and the descriptions of the battle arenas were hard for me to picture. Some of the terminology was way over my head and difficult to pick up and picture. This can become distracting and can interrupt the flow of the book but it is not too hard that it would cause one to give up on the book. If I can make my way through it and enjoy it as much as I did, then surely anyone can do it!

Probably my favorite part of the book is the setting. For seven years I lived in and went to college and graduate school in Greensboro, NC which is where Ender's family lives! Card also lives there and is somewhat of a local celebrity. I also loved the Battle School. As I pictured it in my head while reading I kept picturing it as Serenity from Firefly!

This book was a fun, violent, exciting, action-packed vision of the future with a twist ending that will knock your socks off. I recommend this to everyone who likes to read and I hope that people will read this before the movie so that they can fully experience the ending the way that I did. Five out of five stars!

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