16 May, 2015

REVIEW: ENDER'S GAME by Orson Scott Card

Title: Ender's Game
Author: Orson Scott Card
Series: The Ender Quintet #1
Genres: Science Fiction, YA, Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Science Fiction
Source: Physical copy
Pages: 342

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SYNOPSIS: 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.

Ender's Game is the winner of the 1985 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

I did not know about this book until the movie came out in 2013, very nice movie by the way. I saw in the credits it said "based on the book by Orson S. Card" and since I enjoyed the movie I decided to read the book as well.

I thought the concept of genius children taken into an interstellar academy and trained in combat was quite original for these times. The book was written in the 90's I believe when Star Wars was the star of the show and there is definitely some influence however the book is always written from the point of view of Ender, a child trained at the academy and then taken to the academy located in outer space. Compared to the movie, the Ender of the book is younger which I first thought was going to be tedious to read because I always find harder to identify myself with very young characters compared to young adult or teenage characters. However, I was pleased to discover that Ender shows maturity through out the book and handle all the toughness really well. Better than most people would do. Ender is not only a genius in calculus, strategies, etc but has a compassionate heart. The academy wants to teach Ender to be cruel, invincible, and to show no emotion but he doesn't want to become like his brother (who was expelled from the academy for being too aggressive, oh the irony) so Ender is stuck there fighting for the top spot on the ranking while trying to not step onto anybody's foot. There is a special moment in the book, one I think is crucial for Ender, where he leaves the academy and goes back home because of an incident involving another student... that was emotionally exhausting for me to read. He is so conflicted that it makes you, as a reader, also over think and end up being brainwashed... he eventually finds the peace he was looking for though and goes back to fight the aliens who tried to invade the planet several times before but couldn't. Oh! the aliens yeah I didn't mention them before but they are the reason why people (mostly military) thought it was a good idea to conscript children since birth and train them as soldiers if they turned out to be smart enough and not only that but families have to ask permission to the government to have children, "selected" children. Tough world there.

OVERALL: I did enjoy it a lot despite being narrated by a child because Ender was very mature. I am however not interested in reading any of the following books because the summaries just don't appeal to me... if someone has read them and would like to share his/her opinion it will be very welcomed. I recommend everyone to read this one, the first one of the series, specially if you're a fan of Star Wars space trouble kind and Legend (by Mari Lu) kind of smart characters. It is a good combination, you have my word.