July 02, 2015

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

You don't have to like Card to recognize that this is a superb piece of writing.  Reading this book has always been powerful to me.  You get hooked in from the first page and it's hard to put it down after that.  And it's great that it could be read as a standalone, but is part of a series in case you want to continue Ender's story.

Ender is a brilliant child.  So much so in fact that he was specifically bred to take part in a program designed for gifted kids.  You see, families aren't allowed to have more than two children on future Earth, but Ender's family was given special permission to have him.  When at first they remove his monitor though, he think he's flunked out.  But time shows that he is about to be groomed to become a commander of the fleet.  The buggers are a constant threat in humanity's eyes and the school Ender is sent to, floating in space, is specifically designed to train to neutralize that threat.

Ender is a fantastic character.  He is relatable even though he is a substantial amount smarter than your average person.  And he has so much going against him and so much expected of him.  You're right there with him with his pressures, frustrations, and triumphs.  All of the other characters pale beside him, yet they are still complete because they serve a purpose in a way.  Especially his brother and sister, who enter into politics and discussion and play their own games.  He also has several interesting classmates that play the games with him and they too are incredibly smart.  Although some of them can be quite vicious.

From my description you'd probably think this is an action book.  But that's just because I can't fully explain the themes and details in such a short time, you'd really need to read the book to get the full experience.  It does have action.  But it also has political commentary, social morality and lessons about making hard choices in life and the consequences of them.  There are gritty details and violence.  It's not a pleasant book at all.  But it's one that will make you think.  And it's so well written that the pace, characters and setting draw you in and don't let you go. 

One of my favorite books that I've read and one that I could read over and over.  If you've never read the book, or if you've only seen the movie, make sure that you read it, it's well worth it.

Enders Game
Copyright 1985
368 pages

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