Ender’s Game Book Review

“I’ve watched through his eyes; I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he’s the one. Or at least as close as we’re going to get.”

–pg 1

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

I was recommend this book by a close friend of mine…the Fish. We did a book trade. I told her to read Cry of the Icemark (by Stuart Hill) and in exchange, I would read Ender’s Game. I wasn’t too hesitant about reading this since I’ve read another one of Card’s books (Enchantment it might have been called) and I really enjoyed it.

Ender’s Game is the story of Ender, a third born son, in a futuristic world where mankind has advanced enough to take part in intergalactic warfare with an alien species known commonly as Buggers. Third born children (and forths and fifths) are a thing of the past because in this world the government has power over how many children you can have. So, as you can imagine, Ender is picked on and made fun of. But that is of little consequence to him because he is a genius– an honest-to-God full-blown genius. In this version of the future, genius children have monitors put on the backs of their necks to well monitor their behavior and see if they are fit to be part of the  space military.

Ender and his older brother Peter and second born sister Valentine have all had the monitor, but Ender had his the longest– six years. Peter’s was removed because he was too violent (he beats Ender up a lot) and Valentine’s was failed the program because she was too mild. Both Ender’s sister and brother were brilliant so the government allowed his birth in hopes that he would be the balance between those, thus creating a brilliant commander with a heart.

Well, it worked, because Ender hates violence. Yes, he beats kids up but his reason for being so tough in tumbles? So that he doesn’t only win the current fight, but all the fights to come. He’s just a kid who likes to be thorough.

Anyways, Ender’s monitor is removed when he is six years old and he thinks it’s because he failed like his siblings, but it turns out he did better than either of them– he’s been chosen to go to battle school, a place in space (rhyme!) where children bursting with potential are sent to play the Game. At battle school, everything is about the Game. And Ender the genius wins all the games. But (and here I am quoting from the back of the book) “is he smart enough to save the planet?”

Well, that question is quite a biggy and pretty much the center of the plot. Ender is an interesting enough character and he is put into interesting enough situations. Towards the beginning, my friend told me the plot was slow and that it didn’t pick up until Ender went to battle school, but I thought it was interesting then and just as interesting when Ender went to the battle school. However, that was kind of a problem. The pace was pretty much the same throughout the book, which at times made it feel…hmm, how do I describe this?… slightly monotone.

I guess what I am trying to say is that Ender plays the Game a lot and after 200 pages it gets a little dull. Never to fear though, Card throws in a little extra spice and the flavor picks up towards the last hundred pages of the book. And even though I was able to predict the “twist” ending, my friend did not, so I suppose the ending was fairly unique.

Aside from Ender, the Game and the Bugger war, there really isn’t much else going on in this book. The characters were alright and had a good variety (from jerks to his adoring sister) and no clichés. The writing style was fair, not spectacular, and certainly not the in-the-moment action style I was expecting, but it wasn’t bad. It was slightly above  average, that’s all. There some parts of the this book that were kind of gory but in a necessary way (how can gory ever be necessary, you ask? You’d be surprised…). There are a few side-plot things going on, but those were kind of boring for me to read and they’ll be boring for me to write about.

What I liked about Ender’s Game was the way the ideas of space travel and that were written down. You see a lot of sci-fi in movies, but reading them can be just as good an experience. I loved the words such as Intergalactic Commander and Stellar Fleet. I love space in general.

I also liked the way that Ender had to solve his own problems and I liked reading his thought processes. It was nice that even though he is a genius, idiots like me still understood what he was saying. Also, Card was very creative in his solutions for Ender’s problems. I’d try to come up with my own, but they were never as good as what ended up happening.

My final thoughts on this book? (I’ve mostly just rambled on with this review. I apologize.) As long as Ender (the character) is feeling energized and active, then the book is good. But as soon as Ender gets tired, the books starts to drag and I started to feel sleepy.

That isn’t to say this was a bad read. It was good. Not my ideal book, but good nonetheless. Man alive, I’m just bursting with contradictions in this review.

Okay. Read the book. You’ll probably like it and it will go by pretty quickly. The ending might surprise you, it might not. Most of the time, you’ll feel awake. The doldrums go by fairly fast and I’d say the final page was satisfactory.


Ri’s Rating:


0. Couldn’t get past chapter one for fear of wanting to kill myself. Book induced suicide…

1: Yuck. Ew. Below Average. Probably didn’t even read the middle and skipped to the end.

2. Ok. Would’ve been better if I’d written the ending and everything else.

3. Not bad at all. Very enjoyable. Quite nice. Recommendable.

4. My kind of book. Near ideal, but something was a little off (annoying names, bad ending, that sort of thing).

5. WOW. Makes me wonder why people watch T.V when this is out there. Really liked it. Don’t expect to see this often.

6 and above. What I want my book to be.

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  1. I’m not sure if you’re curious but I was reading a blog and came upon this 100 notecard challenge. The rules are, you start with 100 notecards and in exactly 5 days, you have to have a piece of art on each one, no matter how insignificant the art is.

    Too lazy to backspace and put the d.

  2. I love “Ender’s Game.” One of the things that blew me away about it was that it even though Card wrote it in the late 1970s, there’s so much about modern life he predicted: the ubiquity of laptop computers, playing elaborate video games in which you immerse yourself in a world (the game around the “Giant’s Drink” problem reminds me of something like Zelda), and most impressively, the whole subplot in which Ender’s brother and sister are anonymous proto-bloggers “Locke” and “Demosthenes” who influence the politics of the country. Back in the 1970s personal computers were still mostly bulky oddities operated strictly by trained technicians, video games were just dots blipping about in very simple patterns, and the Internet as we know it did not exist: it was literally decades away. I watched all this stuff appear in my lifetime, so it’s that much more breathtaking to me that Card nailed it so far in advance.

    Also, time after time, it seemed to me that there was no way Ender could get out of the no-win, desperate situations Card would put him in. And yet with his resourcefulness, genius, and pluck, Ender always figured out a way. The push-and-pull between “I can’t see how Ender can survive THIS time!” and “OMG! He did it! What a genius!” was intoxicating for me when I first read it.

  1. Book: Ender’s Game | taking a break

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