Thursday, December 9, 2010
Amaranthine Review: Ender's Game
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.
Rating: 4 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Sci-fi fans, especially those new to or unsure about the genre
High point: The twist at the end
Low point: The emotional manipulation
Reader maturity: 10+
One of my friends bought me Ender's Game and one of the companion books, Ender's Shadow, and the first thing I have to say about it--after "thank you," of course--is this: "Why didn't anyone put this book in my hands earlier?!"
I'm not much of a sci-fi fan (well, ask the friend who bought this for me, and she'd probably tell you that my nose goes up a few inches upon a mere mention of that genre), but this was amaaaazing. My lunches last 30 minutes every day, and I finished Ender's Game in 4 days. Yeah, that's how fast I read it, all 324 pages, because it was that good!
Ender is an eerily smart little boy at the beginning of the novel, and he's shaped and manipulated into one of the greatest combat masterminds of all time. Unlike the other boys his age, he stops to think about the consequences of his future actions, but he's so young and still so naive that he's swept away in war games and battle simulations. Rather than being a far-fetched sci-fi novel full of techno-babble and pseudo-science, Ender's Game plays to the human sacrifices and reactions of those who allow themselves to be--or choose to be--pawns in someone else's game.
And the twist at the end?! Oh my goodness, I never saw it coming!! I was floored as equally as Ender. Now that your interest is [hopefully] piqued, go grab a copy of Ender's Game!
Title: Ender's Game
Author: Orson Scott Card
Genre: Science Fiction
Book Source: Received as personal gift