Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card

My Copy: 9780812589047 (image from abebooks.com)

I’ve read this book at least half a dozen times. I was having a very blah week and picked this up again. It’s always worth reading. I can read it in less than two days easily because I still don’t want to put it down.

Ender’s Game refers to a boy named Andrew Wiggin, but known as Ender by most everyone. He’s a Third child, in an America where because of population, there have to be special circumstances to allow more than two children in a family. He was basically bred to be the mix of personality traits of his ruthless brother Peter and empathetic sister Valentine. Early on, when he’s only 7, he’s chosen to go to Battle School.

Children are selected from all over the world to go to this children’s military academy in space. They’re essentially bred to become military geniuses after Earth was attacked twice by “Buggers.” The book takes you through the militarization of these children’s education, from his first days as a Launchie to getting put into armies…and onward.

The book’s great for a number of reasons. I will admit I’ve barely seen any of the new movie that came out, and only saw what I did because my dad was watching. I liked the world OSC’s words built in my head–it’s great description that still leaves plenty of room for imagination. Nowhere did I feel the book was too bloated or meandering–it was great.

We really get a feel for this kid, and get to understand his friendships, his enemies, the teachers around him. At times the story is uncomfortable to read because they’re really breaking this kid down, stacking the deck against him. You get a good idea of how this system is affecting Ender’s life and personality.

I like Ender. He’s a good kid and I get his thought process. I really sympathize with his fears about becoming a sadistic control freak like his brother, because it’s clear the school needs that killing edge to create commanders for the fleet.

Ender becomes the best there’s ever been, but the things they do to keep him on that fine edge would fit under anybody’s mantle of child abuse, I should think.

And if you haven’t read the book yet, or seen the movie, I won’t dare spoil how things go in command school. The world and the stakes are incredible, and I will be coming back to this one again and again.

This book is fantastic, an amazing piece of science fiction. I haven’t read the other “Ender” books, and might do so another day. I just know I’ve enjoyed the hell out of this one. Worth a read and re-read forever.

I wasn’t planning on reading and reviewing this particular book so early in the year, but I have to admit, Ender’s Game‘s been making me think a lot issues with children growing up in an increasingly complicated world, especially considering the world we’re in now.

I’ll have more on this, I’m sure.

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