Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

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.

This is one of my favorite sci-fi books, if not my favorite. I thought I wouldn’t like it, but, as you can probably guess, I did. The only thing about this book is that it clicks for some people, it doesn’t click for others. I would highly recommend this book for people who like sci-fi, but let me warn you that this book isn’t the easiest to read.

I love strong heroes and heroines, I really do, but sometimes it gets kind of old. The exact same “I”m strong,” the same “I have a horrible background,” the same “I will make you love me,” the same “I’ll find someone who is exactly as strong as me even though I’m so freaking strong and I’ll fall in love with them!” In that way, this book was a breath of fresh air with Ender as the main character.

“They have a word for people our age. They call us children and they treat us like mice.”

If you can’t understand that concept, I don’t think you’ll like this book as much as other sci-fi books. This book is about leadership, war and what it means to be a kid. Intelligent kids. A lot of times adults don’t know how to handle intelligent kids, especially in our everyday lives, besides the whole “Oh, you’re so smart.” Some people think that you need to numb down vocabulary and simplify internal monologues to make a child character believable. I understand that kids are different than adults, and that there’s a certain naivete to them, but those thoughts are like insults to intelligent kids.

The kids in this story aren’t emotionally developed, but at the same time they have a certain inner strength, understanding and intelligence that clearly defines them as intelligent people. In many ways, this book is about what it means to be a kid living in a war zone. About leadership, trust and power. These kids are cruel and kind in a way that only kids will ever know how to be.

I think the reason why lots of people like Ender is because of his universality as a character. He’s easy to relate to, especially for his type of intelligent kid. I love Orson Scott Card’s writing because even though in this book, where all the characters are basically tweens, the characters have a depth to them that you don’t see in writing from people who aren’t serious about his characters. I’d recommend this book to intelligent kids, the kind that resent being looked down upon and misunderstood, and also for pure sci-fi fans. The thing is though, older readers may find it harder to relate to the characters then younger readers.

4.5 stars. Really great book.

pg count for the paperback: 324

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