Thursday, October 31, 2013

Review: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

ISBN: 9780765370624
Released in: 1977
Series: Ender's Saga #1
Page Count: 324 Pages

"Once again, the Earth is under attack. An alien species is poised for a final assault. The survival of humanity depends on a military genius who can defeat the aliens. But who?
Ender Wiggin. Brilliant. Ruthless. Cunning. A tactical and strategic master. And a child.
Recruited for military training by the world government, Ender’s childhood ends the moment he enters his new home: Battle School. Among the elite recruits Ender proves himself to be a genius among geniuses. He excels in simulated war games. But is the pressure and loneliness taking its toll on Ender? Simulations are one thing. How will Ender perform in real combat conditions? After all, Battle School is just a game.
Isn’t it?"

I was drawn into this book immediately by the fact that it was about about a six year old boy. I have a soft spot for small children (who doesnt?) and I kind of had that "aw the poor baby" feeling when I first started reading Ender's Game. Thankfully, Ender isn't six through the whole book, but my brother is 9, so reading about a 10, 11, 12 year old main character was still difficult for me, especially when the author isn't particularly nice to said main character.

Either way, I'm finding it hard to form an opinion of this book. I enjoyed it very much but... I just don't know why. I can list all the pros and cons like I usually do, and what took away from the story, but I just can't put my finger on that thing. There was something about this book that drew me in. The story was perfectly paced and I was interested the entire time. I think Ender himself drove the story, and even though this story was not entirely character driven, I think he is what kept me coming back. The characters and their development were probably my favorite aspect of the story. I really enjoyed the parts at the beginning of each chapter that showed the instructors talking about what they were doing to Ender, and I found myself wondering at the end of the book if they ever really knew him at all - or if they knew him better than he knew himself. Am I making any sense?

This is the first time I've ever read an entirely science fiction book, and to my suprise, I did enjoy it. After reading Across the Universe by Beth Revis (a YA sci-fi novel with minimal romance until the last book), I knew that something with little-to-no romance in the sci-fi genre might be something I would enjoy, but I was wary going into this one. I didn't know how I would feel about aliens and intergalactic warfare - it almost seemed kind of ridiculous. The "buggers" in this book are specifically described as ant-like beings and I almost wanted to roll my eyes at that, but in the end it seemed to work out for the story.

One of the only problems I actually had with this book is that I'm not very good at visualizing certain things, and the intricate happenings in the Battle School didn't exactly help. Many scenes were of Ender and his team doing battles in no-gravity battle rooms, and it was hard for me to imagine every move they were making. It may seem that those movements might not be integral to this story, but at times they were. Oddly enough, many of those scenes could be considered tedious and repetitive (considering there were several battles per day) but I enjoyed every one.

How many times have you come across a book that you just could not describe? Many of us come to a point where we have a hard time writing a positive review, right? I know I do, haha... but even when I get to that point, I can usually at least identify why I enjoyed a book, just not how to put it into words. In this case, I can't tell you why I finished this book in just a few days and couldn't put it down. All in all, when I use the standards I always use when rating a book, I suppose I can understand why I liked it, e.g., pacing, world-building, character development, etc. Usually, though, there is some other driving factor that gives me a reason to give a 4 or 5 star rating and I still am at a loss..

If we're talking about the things I didn't like, besides the fact that I could not visualize many of the battles very well, the ending of the book kind of ruined it's chances for a five star rating. I fully expected and anticipated the book to end the way it did based on the blurb on Goodreads. After the main plot resolved itself in the way that I expected it would, it continued on to give a sort of epilogue, and as I began reading it, I was very satisfied with it until the last couple of pages. In those last few pages, the story took a very strange turn that I think is supposed to set up for the next book in the series. However, I don't think I will continue on with this series solely based on the ending of Ender's Game - too weird for me.

For those of you who have read this book, what did you think about the way it ended? I don't mean the way Ender resolved the main issues - I mean what happened to him after he did. Was it as weird for you as it was for me? I kind of ignored it and am pretending it didn't happen and that the book ended after the main resolution.

I still want to see the movie but I don't think I'm going to go tomorrow for the premiere of the movie, simply because I am not at all confident in the way this book will be interpreted onto the big screen. Usually that kind of thing doesn't bother me and I'm generally very good about understanding the differences between a movie a book and their adaptations. I just can't see myself going in and enjoying that movie, though, when I can't even figure out why I enjoyed the book. Maybe I will wait until it comes out on DVD or even wait for Netflix.


Have you read this one before? What did you think? Do you agree with my points about the pacing, world building, characters and plot? Was it easier for you to figure out why you liked/disliked it? I'd love to know what you think, so maybe I can figure out what it was about this book that had me so hooked.

Thanks for stopping by!


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