Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: May 7, 2013; originally 1/1985
Pages: 368
Source: library
Buy It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository

Once again, the Earth is under attack. An alien species is poised for a final assault. The survival of humanity depends on a military genius who can defeat the aliens. But who?
Ender Wiggin. Brilliant. Ruthless. Cunning. A tactical and strategic master. And a child.
Recruited for military training by the world government, Ender’s childhood ends the moment he enters his new home: Battle School. Among the elite recruits Ender proves himself to be a genius among geniuses. He excels in simulated war games. But is the pressure and loneliness taking its toll on Ender? Simulations are one thing. How will Ender perform in real combat conditions? After all, Battle School is just a game.
Isn’t it?--Goodreads

 Ender is a young boy, taken from his home and family, to learn how to become a space age soldier because he is one of the few who has shown enough of the promise to fulfill a certain set of criteria exhibited by humankind's last best hope. The threat is not over however, and a new saviour is needed. Ender is put through a rigorous training program that will either break him or make him the best chance to save mankind. His childhood is forfeit. Does he have what it takes or did they mistake his abilities? Read the novel to find out because like all good reads turned onto the big screen, you won't know what really happened unless you read the book.
"Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card was the third novel by this author that I have read, and it is the best so far. I actually listened to it on an unabridged audio CD, and there was a wonderful postscript written and narrated by Orson Scott Card which really added to the whole experience.  The author explains how Ender’s Game started out as a novella and then was expanded into a full length novel as a precursor to a full length companion novel.  Frankly I don’t understand how there could be any less than the full length novel and still make sense of the whole story.  It all seemed quite necessary to develop the main character so that the reader could understand and sympathize with his choices.  The postscript goes on to explain one of the biggest problems with making a movie deal contract for Ender’s Game is that the contracts all tried to get the author to sign over the right to make Ender an older character in the movie than he was in the book.  I was pleased to hear that Orson Scott Card stayed the course and refused any contract with that clause.  I agree with the author that Ender really does need to start out his whole journey as a young child and remain pre-adolescent long enough not to question his mentors and teachers to the point of rebellion and questioning their authority enough to walk away from the course they had set for him.
The ending of the tale was a bit disappointing because rather than feel the world’s relief at being spared, the reader is so into Ender’s emotions that angst is felt in larger measure.  From there the novel brings the reader down to calmville and a peaceful future.  I would have rather stayed on an emotional high in the end.
Ender’s Game may have been written approximately 30 years ago, but as with most science-fiction stories, it can withstand the test of time.  Overall Ender’s Game is an experience rather than just an enjoyable read because the reader is so bonded to Ender before the end of the novel that you feel the story rather than remain outside of it.
Cover: 3 
Writing Style: 4
Characters: 4
Plot: 4
Ending: 3

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