Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards
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.
Why I read this book:
This was read as part of my self education on the YA dystopia genre. Even though it’s not marketed like that.
I don’t read a lot of sci-fi. In fact I kind of avoid it because I’m not really very science minded and never really been interested in outer space. Until recently and watching Firefly that is. Anyway, whenever I pick up a sci-fi book because lets face it it is rare, I find that I always enjoy them.
Ender’s Game surprised me with how much I did like it. I was addicted. In that sense where I was sneaking reading at work when um I shouldn’t have been . And yet it felt sooooo worth it!
I often found I forgot they were children. I didn’t see them as adults but I also didn’t see them as kids either. They were smart and brilliant and cruel and mean. Ender was a fantastic character to follow. Being in his mind and seeing him figure things out was both challenging and rewarding.
However, I am going to openly admit that this book still needs some editing. There were a few scenes at the beginning that felt clunky and could have been paired down. The ending also felt that way to. The what happens after and the happily ever after, I didn’t need that. It could have been cut. Their was also an experimental section of tense, where the author couldn’t decide if they were going to write in first person or third, which could have done with a rewrite.
But as a product of its time it was really good. It was fast paced but with thorough character development. I even enjoyed, though not at first, the exchanges at the beginning of the chapters. Once I got to know the characters those became both humorous and heartbreaking.
As a starting point for Dystopia and even Sci-Fi this is well worth picking up. I can see why it won both a Nebula and a Hugo. If it were released today, I think it would be a much different book. I’m glad it got out when it did.