Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender's GameEnder’s GameEnder's Game (The Ender Quintet) by Orson Scott Card by Orson Scott Card

I’ve been telling myself for years that I should read this one in my attempts to branch out a bit and try new genres. Science Fiction isn’t my favorite (although I did find a series last year that I enjoyed) and this seemed like a good one to try, as it’s a classic and multiple award-winner.

And it was ok. I finished it quickly as I wanted to find out how it all wrapped up, but it’s the first in a quintet, and I have no real desire to read any more in the series.

Many of my complaints with it are probably directly connected to the genre, so it’s a bit unfair of me to be annoyed at the book for what it is. I’m just not the best reader for a book so focused on this sort of thing. The battlerooms and details of tactics bored me, as did the descriptions of Ender as commander. Whoops, that might be a spoiler but I can’t imagine anyone reading it didn’t know that he was going to become the commander he was being trained to be. I mean, where would the book have been if he didn’t?

It’s also surprisingly brutal at times, in a way that had me cringing. I know why it is, but that doesn’t mean I want to read it. The fact that my son is fairly close in age to Ender’s when the book began doesn’t help much either – I kept imagining my “baby” in those situations and it was heart-wrenching.

No, I wasn’t much of a fan, but if you do like science fiction don’t let me put you off trying this one if you already haven’t. If like me, you also dislike most science fiction, I don’t think this one will convert you.

Publisher’s Description:
In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut–young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers, Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If the world survives, that is.

Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards.

Book Details

Title: Ender’s GameEnder's Game (The Ender Quintet) by Orson Scott Card
Author: Orson Scott Card
Category: Science Fiction
My Rating: 2.5 Stars

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  1. I think it depends on when you read it, too. I read it in middle school, when I identified with Ender and his siblings and fellow students–smart, isolated, frustrated with grown-ups, etc. It would be much different reading it for the first time as an adult with children. I always recommend this book to readers who don’t normally like science fiction, but I forget what a big difference age and life-stage would make.

    A note: Speaker for the Dead, Children of the Mind, and Xenocide are actually completely different from Ender’s Game. They’re much slower, more philosophical; no battles. They’re set a thousand or so years later on some of the planets man has colonized. There are certainly enough books to read that I don’t blame you for crossing them off your list, but if the only reason you’re skipping them is because you expect them to be in any way similar to Ender’s Game, well, they’re not. πŸ™‚

    Aaaaand if you’re interested, Card writes quite good fantasy, too. I think you would like Enchantment, which is, maybe not so much a fairy-tale retelling, but a fairy-tale/modern life/time-traveling magic mashup.

    • I can definitely see that, and it makes me wish I’d read it years ago.

      Hmmm, you’re making me consider reading the sequels, but I’m still not sure (as I also consider my ridiculous TBR list). Maybe I’ll give the second a chance and see. Or, maybe I’ll just go with Enchantment, because I do love fantasy. πŸ™‚

      Thanks for the tips!

      • Sometimes books find us at just the right time, and it’s sad when you realize one missed its chance.

        Let’s just say that I did NOT like Speaker for the Dead as a kid, but really enjoyed it on a recent re-read (listen, actually). But Enchantment, I think, would be a good choice regardless. Though I first read it when it first came out when I was in high school, so I hope I’m not steering you wrong again!

        • It does make me sad, and also make me think about what books I want to make sure my kids read while they’re still kids.

          I’ve added Enchantment to my TBR list. Actually, I added it to my library “wish list” which is like the top of my virtual TBR list. πŸ˜‰ It sounds like one I’ll really enjoy, so thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  2. I’m with you on this one – I just thought it was OK. I read it before the movie came out (my husband is a huge fan), but I couldn’t get excited about it. I haven’t read any of the other books in the series.

  3. I read this last year before watching the movie and I loved both. Like you, I’m not much of a sci-fi fan and all the technical stuff bores me. But I did like how ‘imaginative’ this novel was. I loved Bean. I have all the other books, too but I don’t think I’ll be reading any of it soon.

    • I loved Bean too! He was one of my favorite parts of the book! Valentine was another favorite. πŸ™‚


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