Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Word Lily review

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (1985), 336 pages per Amazon, but my copy ends on page 226

Summary
Ender was conceived because the ruling authority thought he just might have the right characteristics to be able to lead the fleet in the Bugger Wars (the buggers are aliens). He advances through the training years ahead of the norm. There’s endless debate about the best way to push him to excel, but all Ender knows is that they make his life hard. He’s good at this stuff, but he doubts himself and resents that his destiny was chosen for him.

Thoughts
I don’t remember why I decided I should read this book, but I bought it to read during the June 2008 read-a-thon. That seems about one hundred years ago. Over the impending years, I’ve had two brothers-in-law bugging me (heh, that pun was unintentional) to read it whenever the subject came up. I challenged myself to read it in 2011, and now, at the end of 2012, I’ve finally fulfilled that goal.

I was caught up in the fast-paced story from the very beginning. Ender is very human, and reading the (apparently begrudgingly written) introduction by the author helped draw me in, too. Card, there, talks about how some readers criticized the book, saying Ender (and the other characters) didn’t talk or think like children, but Card’s response that when he was a child he heard himself speak not as a child but as a person, which I thought was a very good point.

I really loved this book. I definitely see some ways Ender’s Game might have influenced The Hunger Games, or at least some parallels between the two. Ender is incredibly sympathetic.

Now, just a couple criticisms. I liked the references to religion early on, but I was disappointed that it wasn’t addressed more.

The political aspect of the book really reminded me that it was published in the 1980s. Not all bad, but it definitely dated the story.

I’m frustrated about one bit at the very end, and again it’s about religion. Card creates a new religion, and it apparently takes off, but there’s really no reasoning given for its huge popularity, and as described, it seems to be one small ritual, not a full-blown religion. The way he persisted in talking about it was a real turn-off to me. I’m guessing it’s set-up for the next book in the series, but it feels tacked on and awkward in this book. He either needed to explore it more or take it out. This was almost enough to sour the book for me, but really, the rest of the story shines clearly enough to overpower this. And maybe I’m alone in feeling so about this aspect of the book? Or maybe my opinion will change if/when I read book 2, Speaker for the Dead?

Rating: 4.75 stars

Ender’s Game won both the Hugo and the Nebula award.

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11 responses to “Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

  1. Just had to jump in and say I’ve read 5 or so Ender books and just recently discovered Ender in Exile, which is supposed to take place between Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead. It starts a little slow, but it’s been a fun way to fill in missing pieces in the series (this title was released in 2008).

    I also encourage you to pick up Ender’s Shadow, which tells the Battle School story from Bean’s perspective. Good stuff!

  2. I read this years ago at my son’s urging. I remember the basics of the story but not a lot of the details. I do remember that I thought the book was pretty good for science fiction.

  3. Amy @ My Friend Amy

    Congrats on finally getting the book read. What do you think the chances are that you’ll go on to read more?

  4. I read this one for book club and never got to discuss it. It was WAY outside my usual genre so I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Like you, I’m not sure I’ll be continuing anytime soon.

  5. It’s on my list, too, for years now. Maybe in 2013 for me.

  6. I loved this one. I know it was one of my favorites the year I read it, maybe 2008? I listened to it and was completely turned off by Card discussing religion after Ender’s story had ended. Jason went on to read Speaker for the Dead, but as much as I loved Ender I don’t see myself reading more. So glad you loved it too!

    • It wasn’t even so much that he discussed religion for me, but how supposedly this religion grew from nothing but there was nothing to it! It bugged me that it wasn’t more fleshed out, I guess, if he was going to go there, that he didn’t give us a reason for everyone flocking to this new belief system? What did Jason think of Speaker for the Dead?

      • He thought it was good, but he isn’t interested in reading more after that. I’d heard some people say it was better than Ender’s Game but that wasn’t his take. I’m happy with how I left Ender.

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