Review: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game
MINDBLOWN! Not so much by the ending, but by the character development and by the fact that when I was six years old, I got assigned to play the triangle in music class and was so damn proud of that – and these six-year-olds are learning how to fight aliens in space! Life is so unfair.


Once again, Earth is under attack. An alien species is poised for a front 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. In simulated war games he excels. 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.



CHARACTERS: Brilliant and atrocious, gives me goosebumps. Anything dealing with kids makes me think of ethics and human rights, and that’s something that’s so prevalent in Ender’s Game where the main characters and most of the supporting characters are children. We follow Ender through ages 6 through 13, and throughout this time, he had to deal with so much verbal and physical abuse, and is manipulated so much by the adults that it’s unfair. What terrifies me is how brutal and aggressive these kids are, and scarier to know that there are kids like that in real life too. The book blurb makes Ender sound like he’s always been brilliant, ruthless, and cunning, but even HE was a blank slate of innocence at some point. The adult-like thoughts and actions of Ender and his older siblings, Valentine and Peter, also give me goosebumps because seeing children behave not like how I expect them to behave is just eerie. However, this makes Ender’s Game that much more engrossing.

PLOT: Brilliant and atrocious, gives me goosebumps. The defeat-the-aliens plot in space occurs at the same time as a conspiracy on Earth starts taking place. Both are dramatic and insanely intricate, and although we do get snippets of the adults’ conversations, Ender and the other children are kept in the dark about certain facts. There’s nothing surprising until the end, but even so, the plot is fast-paced and exciting and full of evil brilliance. This is my first time reading Ender’s Game, and I’m really surprised by how “the aliens” don’t really appear that much. (Must read sequel!) The action scenes are also vividly described.

FEELS: Brilliant and atro-YOU GET THE POINT. Card has an introduction of Ender’s Game that basically explained how he came up with the idea for the book and the complaints and praises he got. It prepared me somewhat for the non-childlike children (although some readers would say that this is how children think), and this was the point of controversy for this book. I thought it added an element of unnaturalness, which I really liked. (My feelings for this book are similar to my feelings for I, Robot, if that makes any sense.) I was on Team Ender (who isn’t?), and it was just a bombardment of anticipation, anger, sadness, suspense, and hatred the whole way. No happy feelings in this book, not until the very last possible moment. But it was worth it!


I can’t imagine how I’d feel if I were a younger reader, but Ender’s Game was a violent attack on my feels, if my feels were attackable. It’s hard to describe, but I feel like a wind-up toy that’s been continuously wound up, or a balloon that’s been continuously blown up to my limit… no chance to relax at all with this book! 😱

Have you read Ender’s Game?
Why do you think this book is such a classroom classic?


5 thoughts on “Review: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

  1. Aww Sophie, I love your comparison of yourself at six – haha!

    This is why the film didn’t work. Because we see Ender grow over several years in the book, and obviously his character develops. In the film it literally feels like a matter of days and makes no sense.

    Glad you enjoyed this one! The order of the other books is a bit weird I think – there’s a written order and a chronological order, plus a spin-off series or two I think?

  2. You really know how to sell a book! If Ender’s Game weren’t already on my to-read shelf (thanks to your recommendation while watching the movie), I’d be adding it immediately. It certainly sounds like an interesting reading experience, if not a pleasant one. It also reminds me of a reality TV show that aired for one year, Kid Nation. I’m sure it’s quite different, but the idea of kids not being childlike was an important element. It was both fascinating and disturbing to watch.

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