My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga, #1) by Orson Scott Card is a military-based science fiction novel. It is the story of a child, known as Ender, a third, in a family of brilliant children. Ender is selected to military school after years of being monitored, just as his brother Peter and his sister Valentine had been before him. He is chosen because unlike Peter, he can kill, but doesn’t want to kill. He is chosen because unlike Valentine, he has compassion, but can make the hard choices. He is Earth’s greatest hope against the Buggers. Earth has already fought two wars against the Buggers, barely defeating them both times. A third war is coming. The Buggers learn quickly from their mistakes because they have a hive-mind. In order to defeat them, completely and for all time, the IF needs someone who can think and act like the Buggers. They’ve chosen Ender, but can he live up to their expectations?
Ender is brilliant. He thinks quickly and methodically. He understands strategy, he understands that in order to win, sometimes you have to break the rules and he is willing to do so. During his time at the military school, Ender is deliberately isolated from his school mates by Colonel Graff. Slowly though, he begins to earn friends and establishes himself as a military genius. By the time he enters command school, Ender is nearly broken. He’s tired of games, tired of the rules changing, tired of defending himself against those who wish to do him harm for his brilliance.
Back on Earth, his brother Peter and his sister Valentine have become famous as Locke and Demosthenes, respectively, who argue about political matters on the Webs. Peter has taken the more benevolent stance, gaining respect as a humanitarian. Valentine takes the more rebellious stance, but gains recognition far quicker than Peter. It is obvious that Peter’s intent is to some day take over the world, something not lost on Valentine who knows how sinister her brother can be.
With a visit from Valentine, Ender decides to go on to Command School and command. He discovers that all who are now under him are those friends he made at school. He is now trained by Mazar Rackham, the victor of the second war against the Buggers. It is now that Ender learns to think like the Buggers and discovers how to defeat them. As he prepares for his final exam at Command School, can Ender make the hard choice? Will he make it?
The novel ends with an introduction of sorts into the second book in the series, Speaker for the Dead. Ender carries a special parcel that he will some day deliver to a special place. He tells the story of the Hive Queen and speaks of her life and death. He publishes the story anonymously and it becomes a religion of sorts. It is a wonderful introduction to more of Ender’s world.
Of all the science fiction books I have read, Ender’s Game is the one I come back to again and again. I’ve read it at least a dozen times, but this is the first time I have listened to it as an audiobook. If you want the full experience of Orson Scott Card’s story, I highly recommend that you listen to it. The emotions I felt listening to it where much much more intense than when I read it.
This is a book that I would recommend to anyone who loves science fiction, military fiction, and it is even appropriate for teenagers. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone under ten years of age because there is some violence in the book.
I’ve tried not to give any spoilers in this review, so hopefully you will still get the full benefit of the story when you read it yourself.
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Science Fiction, Military Science Fiction