Book review: Ender’s Game

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Author:Orson Scott Card
Reading Level (Conceptual):Sophisticated readers
Reading Level (Vocabulary):Children 12 and up
Genre:Science fiction
Year of publication:1977

Story of a boy who is raised (some would say, manipulated) to use his gifts to save humanity, and the thanks he gets. Easy to read, but not appropriate for young readers.

Caution: Lots of violence, some racial stereotyping.

The only answer to bullying, per Orson Scott Card, is to beat the ringleader to a pulp, if not worse.

(It might not sound like it, but we did enjoy this book, when we were not wincing...)

Other books for about ages 12 and up

Other books about/for gifted children
Similar books

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2 Responses to “Book review: Ender’s Game”

  1. NKoon89 says:

    As an average 17 year old male, having read many science fiction authors such as Stephen King, Dean Koonz and Orson Wells, I have definite opinions on how novels should be. I enjoy reading books that take me on a journey and leave me to wonder what is coming around the corner. When this book was assigned to me in my Junior year English class, I was excited. Finally, a book that I might find interesting had become required reading! I couldn’t have been more excited, this was a book I couldn’t wait to get home and start.

    This format was written in both first and third person, so this led to a little confusion at times. You were not always entirely sure whose perspective you were reading from, or whose eyes you were watching the events unfold through. The sentences were short to medium in length. The book wasn’t nearly as difficult to read as John Steinbeck because there were no run on sentences.

    The book was almost a little too fast, but for the subject matter the pace was almost perfect. The characters didn’t really develop over time, they were instantly who they were, no surprises. The exception to this being Ender, as the main character. Ender impressed me with his use of knowledge, and his ability to recognize patterns. Ender was consistently able to able to think on his feet and make instant decisions that impacted the game. I find that as I read Ender’s Game and learned his thought patterns, I found I could see myself in his analysis of situations, I do tend to think things through completely.

    The symbolism of the game was important to the plot because it kept the kids from realizing the reality of their situation. They were being taught war games, but putting it in a game format kept the children ignorant of what they were learning. There were times, for example, when Dink made mention to the reality of the game and again when Ender realized for himself what was happening. These events left Ender still in doubt, but he pushed through it to begin with, but eventually he feels burned out and feels the entire process is unnecessary and pointless.

    Throughout the book Ender finds himself haunted by odd dreams. He plays a computer game during his free-time, but suddenly there is an image of his older brother that was not programmed into the game. Ender finds himself struggling mentally with this and wonders what it could mean for himself and his future. This is a foreshadowing, though he doesn’t realize until it is far too late. The events in the book could be, if it was written today, an allusion to the war in Iraq. We heard they had weapons of mass destruction and we went an invaded the country. Yes, we did it in retaliation for attacks on American soil, but still, the fact remains that sometimes it is human nature to get them before they get you.

    I did enjoy this book because it held my attention. I will admit this is partly due to the fact that it is science fiction and I find that naturally interesting. However, the character Ender grew and I was curious what he’d become and as anxious as he was to get to the truth of the game. This book creates a situation where you can evaluate hypothetical situations and really take the time to think through your own personal bias once you have all the facts.

    This book could not be enjoyed by younger children, it is too long and complicated. However it could easily be a favorite of science fiction fans. Novices to the science fiction world would easily find this novel to be intriguing and entertaining. As a warning to parents, there is some non-graphic violence with the xenocide of an entire race and three humans. While this isn’t a book I think parents should preview, I do believe it would be a good topic of conversation between parent and child, particularly in light of current events and the ongoing war.

  2. Laura W. says:

    I love this book – it is one of my all time favorites. I am fascinated by all of the moral questions it brings up: do we have a right to manipulate a child to do a task that we couldn’t do ourselves? Were the people in charge correct in thinking only a child could understand an alien race well enough to defeat them? Were the adults justified in NEVER coming to Ender’s rescue when he was being assaulted? Do human beings, as a species have the right to survive at the expense of another cognizant species? And on and on.

    If you enjoyed the book, I would also recommend the audio version. It is excellent.