REVIEW: Ender’s Game (Ender Saga #1) by Orson Scott Card

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars, Genre: Science Fiction, Pages: 324, Level: Easy

Book Description from Goodreads:

“Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards

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, that is, the world survives.

Ender’s Game is the winner of the 1985 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for Best Novel.”

Wow. I forget how well written this book is. There is a reason it is on my top ten favorite books of all time.

The story reads so smoothly; I did not want to put it down and this is the second time I’ve read it, so I already knew what was going to happen.

Here are some of the great things about Ender’s Game:

  • Most of the book is told from the point of view of children, but since they are geniuses, there is no talking down to the reader; Adults will enjoy it as well.
  • The reader does get to see a little of the story from the point of view of the adults involved, so conversations and feelings that are not obvious to the children, are revealed to the reader.
  • Ender’s siblings do not disappear from the book once he leaves for training.
  • Events and politics earthside are portrayed through the activities of Ender’s siblings.

For those of you who are not really into science fiction, I promise there are quite a few topics that are phenomenal for discussion purposes and they do not necessarily have anything to do with science fiction. Aside from the most obvious of using children as soldiers, consider the following quotes:

“Human beings are free except when humanity needs them.”

“I’ll tell the truth. We’re allowed to do that in emergencies.”

“Sometimes lies were more dependable than the truth.”

“As far as the rest of the biosphere is concerned, we could be wiped out and it would adjust, it would get on with the next step in evolution.”

“Individual human beings are all tools, that the others use to help us all survive.”

And so many more. Not to mention, there is one big, huge shocker… at least for me there was. Maybe you all are smarter than I am and will see it coming, but I love it when I am surprised in a book.

AND NOW, THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

I debated on whether or not I wanted to address this, but I might as well. Since the movie will be coming out soon, a lot of scrutiny is falling upon Orson Scott Card for his homophobic stance. If you want to read more, you can do so at the following websites:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-becker/orson-scott-card-homophobia_b_3569146.html

http://www.salon.com/2013/05/07/sci_fi_icon_orson_scott_card_hates_fan_fiction_the_homosexual_agenda_partner/

http://www.contactmusic.com/news/harrison-ford-restonds-to-orson-scott-card-homophobia-scandal-with-indifference_3771549

I’ll let you verify the Orson Scott Card quotes for yourself if you care to do so.

Bottom line for me, I don’t read a book because of an author’s political or moral stances. If want to, I will read non-fiction. If I boycotted authors with whom I disagree politically or morally, I would be missing out on so many wonderful books. Most of the time, I don’t even know what an author’s political or moral stances are. Ender’s Game is fiction and as far as I can tell, and I was really looking for homophobia this time, there is nothing that even hints towards homophobia in this book.

It comes down to personal preference. If you disagree with Card’s comments and can and choose to separate his views from his writing, I think you will enjoy this book. If you cannot or choose not to, you will likely skip this book regardless of my review. Based ONLY on the book, I highly recommend Ender’s Game.

Reviewed by Christina
August 5, 2013

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