By Orson Scott Card
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 absolutely adored this novel going in. Ender was a phenomenal protagonist; there was something so human and vulnerable about him. Struggling with a part of him that leans toward cruelty. But at the same time he almost always had the upper hand, had a good grasp and perception of everything around him and he excelled in his environment. Striving to bea- sorry destroy his opponents and battling a strong empathy towards others. He was a genius. And you could tell. The author cleverly portrayed Ender’s superior intelligent when it came to strategies, but also portrayed his knowledge of human manipulation just as well.
The fact that a six year old, when we are first introduced to him he is only six, could easily perceive others and learn from them in order to use certain things to his own advantage enthralled me. The fact that no one could match his potential was also fascinating. The tactics used and the battle strategies put into place, mixed with the competition in between armies made me love the book all the more.
Ender is in almost constant emotional isolation throughout the novel for several different reasons. Ender’s isolation and lack of connection with his peers demonstrates that even working in close condition with him they will never regard his as a friend. Ever. He is respected and he has friends but they regard him more like a commander than a companion. He is so far removed from them that the other students do not perceive him as one of them. I understood the need for the isolation, but I still had an achy feeling in my chest.
The author had a side plot line that focused on Ender’s siblings, it was unnecessary and didn’t really contribute much to the plot. However the only thing that really disappointed me about this book was the anticlimactic ending. The author had all this build up focusing on how Ender was the last option the last possible solution, but when it came down to it, the final challenge, the final battle, the war to end all wars or whatever you want to call it, you barely knew what was happening. And that was disappointing.
Having said all this I would highly recommend the novel.
The novel Ender’s game was a fantastic book. I loved Ender as a character, it was impossible not to notice his superiority and intelligence above all the others trainees. Ender succeeded and won at everything he did, he was regarded as the best commander in the fleet and respected by everyone. Ender was only 6 years old when he entered battle training, one thing I didn’t like about the book. The novel would be so much more appealing to a teenage age group (the readers) if Ender were older. It would seem all the more amazing if he could be part of our age group yet so much more intelligent; we would be able to better see, to compare ourselves to Ender, which would portray Ender’s superiority much better. I greatly enjoyed reading about a 7 year old that could manipulate the minds of so many people to get them to do as he wished. Ender was able to understand the way people thought so well that he would be able to manipulate them to his advantage without them realising.
The side story about Valentine and Peter was yet another thing I didn’t enjoy about the book. The author made them sound as though they were equally intelligent to Ender. I would have preferred the story had they both tried battle school but they were both hopeless at it and couldn’t participate any longer. I liked the idea that ender was a unique boy that nobody could match to; though people may try they could never match up to him. His problems with Peter were a great idea, which I found interested and endearing about him as it showed his humanity, that he was not just a robot of a boy but that he was still a child with fears.
Valentine’s character was also one I didn’t like, she seemed to be supportive of Ender but as soon as he left she went running to Peter. She was disloyal to Ender in my opinion. Enders isolation was an excellent factor of the book it made him seem all the more superior, different to everybody else. That nobody could accept him as a friend but only as their commander. At points in the novel I felt sorry for him that he was just a small boy that shouldn’t have to be put through these things. But the glory he received at the end when he succeeded the task always override the previous sorrow I felt for him. The ending of the novel ruined some of the book for me. The entire novel was building up to the great final battle but then the battle just happened with out us knowing. I thought that the author should have ended the book just as Ender was boarding the space ship and then written another book about the finale battle.