In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.
Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.
The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Is Ender the general Earth needs?
Ender’s Game is the winner of the 1986 Hugo Award for Best Novel.
I’ve been wanting to read this book for absolutely ages. And now that I have I’m not sure what to think.
I really did enjoy the book, it was everything I expected. I flew through it finishing it in just a day or two. But there were no surprises. No shocking plot twists, dramatic turn of events or cliffhanger chapters.
The main character, Ender, is such an emotive character. He’s so young, starting the novel at the age of six, but he (being a child genius) has the most articulate and moving voice. One quote from the first chapter was one that I think highlights his character.
“Sometimes lies were more dependable than the truth”
The plot line itself is simple but clever at the same time. Each chapter starts with a conversation between the people in charge, giving us an idea of what they’re doing and why. Then we get to see what’s happening with Ender in the battle school and his siblings back on earth. There are quite a few characters with stories of their own (as opposed to just ‘filler characters’) and they’re all interesting well developed characters that are a privilege to ‘meet’.
Another thing I really loved was the relationships between the characters. Such as between Ender and his sister there is a very clear, very real devotion between them. It’s refreshing to has strong sibling relationships in books that isn’t just the main character trying to look after and protect their younger sibling. Also some of the relationships such as the one between Ender and his brother are beautifully complex, this makes it so much more realistic because sibling relationships aren’t simple things (as I well know!), they’re complex and contradicting and fascinating.
The best part if this book was the ending. I absolutely loved it. And if my review has put you off or you don’t fancy reading it, please, read it just for the ending. It was beautiful. Seriously, it was so lovely and perfect I almost cried.
Overall Ender’s Game is not just a well written (if slightly straightforward) classic sci-fi novel, it’s a story of a young boy forced to grow up before his time and manipulated to his full potential and to the needs of those manipulating him.
I only gave Ender’s Game three out of five stars because I enjoyed it but there are aspects I thought were missing. It is a great Sci-Fi read and I definitely do recommend you give it a read yourself!
If you’ve read it (or are thinking of) please let me know your thoughts.