Sunday, January 20, 2013

Book Review: "Ender's Game"

"Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
First published in 1985
324 pages
My rating: 4 out of 5

"Ender's Game" didn't have the best writing or the most page-turning plot, and I'm not sure I'm intrigued enough to continue with the rest of the series. But I know I won't soon forget the book. This futuristic science fiction novel was different, and it was memorable.

Far from catching frogs, building forts and playing with his friends like normal kids, 6-year-old Andrew "Ender" Wiggin is the potential savior of Earth. It's 70 years after aliens -- buggers -- twice attacked our planet, and it's feared they're preparing for a third invasion.

Ender, a brilliant child with a level of wisdom and intelligence that very few adults ever attain, was literally born to become a military genius. At 6, when we meet Ender, he's selected to attend Battle School, a training academy in space that brings up new armies of elite soldiers to lead the third bugger war.
Not surprisingly, Ender excels at the training, wins all the war games and quickly improvises and adapts to all the challenges thrown at him in the battle room. But he's also lonely, isolated and despised by some of the other children -- a situation purposely created by the adults in charge -- and though he knows he's being constantly played and manipulated by his teachers, he has no choice but to go along with the military's plan to mold him into a weapon.

Can Ender, a mere elementary-aged child, handle the pressure of being the world's best hope for a military leader, endure the rigorous and unprecedented "training," and survive the forced isolation his teachers think is necessary to shape him into the best possible commander?

"Ender's Game" has some rabid fans, and several people recommended the book to me when I was working a the library. I wouldn't put it in the ranks of my favorite books, but Card managed to keep my interest with his unique tale, and I was intrigued by his underlying themes about the military and the government.

The movie version of "Ender's Game" comes out this November and it sounds like it's been cast perfectly, with the role of Ender going to Asa Butterfield of "Hugo." Usually I enjoy books much more than the movies developed from them, but I'll definitely see the "Ender's Game" film -- and I would actually recommend seeing the cinema version over reading the book. The book is a bit dry and slow at times, and I think the story will be greatly enhanced and the characters easier to identify with on the big screen.

Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. I only read this because my husband really, really liked it and kept telling me about it. And while I'm not a major SF fan, I actually enjoyed it! You're right, something about it captivates you, although I can't quite put my finger on what exactly that is. For me it might've been Ender, actually - he's brilliant, but also kind, confident but also unassuming. Don't think I'll be reading the next books, though I'm also looking forward to the movie!


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