Ender’s Game

375802by Orson Scott Card
Science Fiction
5 of 5 stars
Debut novel – first in series – 1985

I regret that it took me so long to read this book, especially since I can give it such an excellent rating. I loved every page of this story! The edition I read came with an introduction from the author that added insights about critical and popular reaction to its publication. Much of the debate was based on the fact that he wrote it as simply as possible. His style reminds me of Hemingway, the ultimate dry writer, but I like it much more. The author discussed the strange idea that declares any fiction understood by the masses isn’t worthy of acclaim or isn’t thought-provoking, and how that just isn’t true. Metaphors, subtle themes, and symbolism don’t mean a story is better or for better people. That belief is evident here. It’s one of the few times that an author’s ideology has felt very present without detracting from my enjoyment of the story.

The technology is believable–not just believable, but an accurate prediction in most cases–the characters are compelling, and the pacing is perfect. It’s undeniably science fiction (humans are in a star-ship war with aliens) but not much time is spent on space-travel or weaponry itself. The characters are always “on-screen” and driving the plot, so there are no huge chunks of exposition getting in the way.

The key relationships in the story are between Ender and his equally brilliant siblings, which isn’t something I come across often. Their interactions and reactions were the most interesting, especially as they demonstrated how clever people often find themselves being manipulated but can’t stop it. This story will leave you uncomfortable and thoughtful.

If you’d like to see more reviews or buy a copy for yourself, Ender’s Game is available on Goodreads and its parent company Amazon. Please consider supporting your local bookstore!

Similar reads:

  • Acorna: The Unicorn Girl by Anne McCaffrey and Margaret Ball – A saga following an alien girl discovered by some miners. They travel the galaxy on several quests, exploring themes of injustice and genocide.
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – The flip side of an Orwellian future; in this story everyone is controlled through pleasure, not pain.
  • The Time Machine by H. G. Wells – A short but poignant meditation on the human condition as the time-traveler explores the future.
  • Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin – In an alternate timeline, the Axis Powers won WWII, and a Jewish girl named Yael escaped is on a mission to kill the Fuhrer. She just has to win a cross-country motorcycle race first. And she has to do it by impersonating the previous year’s winner. See my review here.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Killian
    Apr 18, 2015 @ 05:10:24

    This is definitely one of my favourite SF books of all time. Like you said, the story is really strong and that is what makes it so great. I found the characters to be very interesting as well. Even though, on the surface, they seemed simple, deep down they were a lot more complex. The sequel to this, Speaker For The Dead, is told in a totally different way but is just as good. However, after that the series goes downhill. The third book is pretty rambling and aimless and I’ve heard that that’s how it stays in the fourth. In any case, the first two books are amazing and I’m thrilled that you enjoyed this one. It’s a real pity that Orson Scott Card is a total dick (as in, he’s a raging homophobe) in real life, it makes me feel bad when I buy his books.



    • Amanda
      Apr 18, 2015 @ 11:03:03

      Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll have to check out Speaker for the Dead. The length of the series as a whole kept me from starting Ender’s Game for some time, but I started hearing that only the first few were worth reading, and beyond that the author’s personal views start becoming tiresome (something I could easily see happening).



  2. erinkbay
    Apr 23, 2015 @ 19:30:17

    Ooh ooh!! I love Ender’s Game! I just started Insignia by SJ Kincaid and it totally reminds me of Ender’s Game! I really want to reread it now!! 😀



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