I am writing to tell you about a book that I just finished. It’s called Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. If you like science fiction as much as I do, you will be hooked from the first chapter. Orson Scott Card is a great author. He won the Nebula award as well as the Hugo award for Ender’s Game in 1985 and 1986; making him the only author to win science fiction’s top prizes in two consecutive years. That alone should tell you that this book will be great! Also, Ender’s Game was made into a movie in 2013 starring Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield.
Anyway, let me tell you a little bit about the book. Ender is the main character. He’s the youngest of three children; all geniuses! He has an older brother and sister (Peter and Valentine) who are also considered geniuses, but clearly not as smart as Ender. Ender was selected by international military forces to save the world from destruction. Ender did very well in his training. He was quickly promoted many times to different armies; finally leading his own army that would ultimately battle the buggers to save the world. Did I mention that Ender was only 9 years old? He’s a real genius all right! But before Ender was selected, he had to wear a monitor so that the military could see the world as Ender sees it. His brother and sister also had to wear a monitor like Ender did, however neither his brother or sister were selected. This made his brother, Peter, very jealous. It also made many people that he met in the armies jealous. One person in particular was Bonzo. Bonzo is older than Ender and another army leader. When training, Ender’s army would always beat Bonzo’s army. Towards the end of the story, Ender and Bonzo get into a fight in the showers and Ender kills Bonzo.
Besides being a great science fiction book, Ender’s Game is also packed with drama. I liked how the author elaborated on the relationships that Ender has with other people so that the reader can really understand what kind of kid Ender is. For a 9-year-old to successfully save the world he has to be smart and tough. The author did a great job show us how tough Ender is by showing us how he reacts to conflicts. He fights a lot and isn’t afraid to take on bigger kids.
I wasn’t surprised at all by the names of some of the characters in this story. The setting is in the future and most stories that I’ve read that are set in the future (Hunger Games comes to mind), author’s give the characters strange names as if to say that people in the future are bored with Sarah’s, Jane’s, and Tommy’s. Some examples are, Petra Arkanian, Bonzo Madrid, Dink Meeker, and Mazer Rackham.
Now, I realize that it was very important for the reader to understand how tough and smart Ender is. It has to be believable that he would be chosen by the military to solve a very large problem; and it was. That’s definitely not in question; what I found hard to handle was the fact that a 9-year-old child would be able to leave his home and family and survive on his own while successfully passing military training and getting promoted to a leadership position. The reader is always rooting or Ender; he’s a likable main character despite how many fights he gets into and how many enemies he makes. What I loved about Ender’s Game was WHY a 9-year-old child was necessary for the military’s overall plan. Children are more compassionate than adults and the military wanted to tap into Ender’s innocence and compassion for his enemy in order to defeat it. I thought that this was such a great twist to the plot! I would definitely say that this is the key to the theme to this story; Even genius has limits.
Ender’s compassion is most evident when he’s talking to his sister, Valentine. In chapter 13, Ender is upset because his compassion for others is being used against his enemies. He understands that once he gets to really know his enemies (including Bonzo and the buggers) he users their weaknesses against them in order to defeat them. This has proven to be very successful, but it also saddens Ender. Ender tells Valentine on page 127:
Ender: “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 –”
Valentine: “You beat them.” For a moment she was not afraid of his understanding.
Ender: “No, you don’t understand. I destroy them. I make it impossible for them to ever hurt me again. I grind them and grind them until they don’t exist.”
I liked this passage, as well as the rest of chapter 13, because the author really made Ender seem like he was undefeatable. He was a real hero at this point; worthy of the readers admiration. He understood his enemy and he understood himself. Ender is one of those characters that you feel like you got to know throughout the book and when the book is over, you miss him. Thankfully, the author wrote a follow up book for those of us who want to know what Ender did next. Because I finished the book wanting more Ender, I rate the book a 10 out of 10! I highly suggest you check it out as soon as you can!