Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Review: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Publishing Date: Originally in 1985
Pages: 336 pgs
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Summary from GoodReads:
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.
I read this book for our January book club pick. Well, I actually did not read this book but I listened to it. I wasn't sure if I would like this book because it is a little out of my comfort zone in terms of genre. That being said, I think this book evokes so many questions and discussions that I ended up really enjoying it.
To begin with, the idea of childhood came up when discussing this book. How important is a childhood and at what point to children become adults. In this book Ender is put into military training at a very young age and is forced to grow up very very quickly. Is Ender every really a child? The book also brings to mind child soldiers in war torn countries. To western society the idea of a child soldier is completely horrific and it is not something that would be considered morally ok.
In this novel, it seems like childhood is not a very important part of society and as a result children going to war just seems like a natural progression throughout the book.
This book brought me through a variety of emotions and anger was one that prevailed while I listened to the plot. I couldn't believe the way in which Ender was manipulated and the government didn't really see anything wrong with what was happening. I just wanted to yell at them and in fact I found myself expressing such anger as I was driving down the highway listening to my audiobook.
I think that demonstrates just how powerful this book is. It made me think about things in a new way and I think that the sign of a good book is one that makes you think and analyze things. Overall I give this book 4.5 stars out of 5