Monday, November 4, 2013

Book Review: "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game Orson Scott Card
Published: 1985
ISBN-10: 0812550706
Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction
Source: Personal Copy / Kindle
Recommended for fans of traditional Science Fiction

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.

My Thoughts:
It has taken me a long time to read this book.  I've had people recommend it to me for the past decade and, at one point, one of my previous book clubs discussed it.  Since I knew I wouldn't be able to make that meeting, I didn't bother to read this.  Finally, my good friend and most trusted book buddy convinced me to read it before the movie comes out.  So, I did.

Eveyone I know who has read this book was completely blown away by it.  I, on the otherhand, was underwhelmed.  I don't know if it is because this book was so hyped to me before I even read it or if it just isn't "my type" of book (I do not normally read science fiction), but it was just "eh" to me.

I have some minor quibbles with the writing.  I felt the battle scenes were just a bit over-written and could have been simplified or stream-lined.  I also felt that the 3rd person point of view shifted too much--in the midst of describing what was happening in the mind of one character, it would switch to another character, then back to the first character.  But, really, there weren't any major problems with the writing, or the plot.  It just didn't click with me.

I'm clearly in the minority on this and there are many, many people who love this book--I'm just not one of them.  I am planning to eventually see the movie and, maybe, that may change my mind about the book.

I was not solicited for this review and received no compensation.

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