Book Club Review: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Title: Ender’s Game

Author: Orson Scott Card

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian

“In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them…. I destroy them.”

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Ender’s Game was so different from the books I have been reading recently; I was excited but apprehensive about what it would be like. Thankfully, reading it was well worth the risk.

Ender’s Game follows Andrew Wiggin (known to most as Ender), as he is accepted into Battle School. With the fear of another attack from the aliens known as Buggers, the adults push Ender to the limit, to see if he has what it takes to command their fleet.

I was rooting for Ender from the start. I loved that he stood up for himself, that the fear of becoming like his awful brother Peter was shaping him into a kind, compassionate person. I liked the style of narrative – I enjoyed being able to see inside Ender’s head whilst objectively viewing his behaviour.

I thought it was a very clever book. Scott makes no attempt to hide that the adults are exploiting Ender in a truly immoral way, breaking him down piece by piece. Yet, that big twist at the end (I refuse to ruin it for potential readers) springs out of nowhere. Perhaps a more observant reader would have picked up on subtle clues, but I was completely beside myself when I found out. I just knew the consequences for Ender would be dire.  Funny how adults messing around with children’s heads results in the child growing into an unstable adult, and in this sense I could see parallels with We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (review found here).  It really did sadden me.

One of the elements of the book I really enjoyed was the moral conflict, something that really affects Ender near the end of the book. I touch on this in my checkpoint post too. At what cost will the human race ensure their survival? I found it alarming that the humans wanted to literally wipe the Buggers out of existence. Fear makes people do horrendous things, but I was surprised at how vicious humans were portrayed to be – children and adults alike.

I also found the politics between the children to be very interesting, and another way the book is clever. It reminded me of Lord of the Flies – how hierarchies and groups formed among the children. Knowing Ender’s fear at the beginning of the book, I was so proud of him when he was promoted again and again, each time becoming stronger.

I could talk about this book all day as it has completely blown my mind, but this review has to end somewhere. Has anyone read any other books in the series?  I’d love to know what happens to Ender in the end.

Star rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)


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