Sunday, February 6, 2011

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Book Blurb
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.
My Review

Wow- Ender is so complex as a character, I barely know where to begin.  I was reading another review where Ender is critiqued as being an "innocent killer"- who acts in morally reprehensible ways but in situations that make them no fault of his own.  I do agree that Card really pushes the button with Ender as a protagonist.  He is so perfect, so isolated, and I did find myself wondering about him- was I supposed to like Ender?  Is he a hero?  Is he to be blamed for some of the situations he finds himself in?  Ender is a very provocative character, and I still haven't come to terms with what I think of him.

After reading this book, I discovered it was published in 1985- which provided some context for the story that had me wondering.  The themes of this story are varied- and it is very dense reading at times.  I think that this book would be great for young boys, but they would have to be adept enough to navigate some of the subtleties in the story.  This was definitely a book that stuck with me- I finished it weeks ago and find myself wanting to talk about it with people (but hey, 1985, so apparently it's old news).

There aren't any romantic relationships in the book, and actually, Ender is isolated from even friends through most of the book.  The primary relationship was with his sister Valentine, whom he truly loves throughout the years.

I read this one because some of my students told me it was sooo good.  I went into it pretty blind, and I enjoyed it a lot.  I think it's a great, high interest novel, but definitely for a more sophisticated reader.  I'd give it 5 stars, but I imagine it's a 'niche' book- it just happens to be right up my science-fiction-loving-ally.  


  1. Very cool blog, Eileen! I love the books background and I look forward to checking in regularly!

  2. Thanks Elizabeth! I love YA Lit, so I decided to start a blog this year so that I could write about books and connect with others! Thanks for posting a comment!