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.
Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. 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. Ender’s two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.
Ender’s Game is the winner of the 1985 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for Best Novel.
I was truly expecting to like this book more after hearing so many rave reviews, but it wasn’t really my thing. I anticipated an exciting story filled with plot twists, but I got a mediocre plot that was transparent.
I loved the psychological aspect of the novel – the brainwashing and training of the young soldiers. The concept of the battle school and subsequent command school is brilliant. Take young kids who are open to possibilities and train them through games. However, the story contains way to many battles of similar nature with long winded descriptions of tactics that went over my head and disengaged me from the story. It was irrelevant what formation they used, what I wanted to hear was fast paced recount.
Ender’s character was well developed and it is hard not to feel sorry for the young soldier. Peter and Valentine were extremely fascinating characters but their side of the story was dragged down by political references and treaties that never get fully explained. There was so much development of their story and then it just ends suddenly and only right at the end, when the story is summing up, do we find out the end result of their activities. It felt choppy and disconnected – another scene from their POVs in the last quarter of the book would have been nice.
The huge plot twist at the end didn’t surprise me in the least. It was super obvious to me and I guessed at it at least 50 pages before it is revealed. There is a part at the end that really bothered me but as it is a spoiler, highlight it if you want to read it. I understand that Card wanted to show that the buggers had emotions, and had family lives, but “oops sorry, we attacked you humans because we didn’t think you were sentient, but we can definitely live in harmony with you” just didn’t fly with me. And then the whole “we connected with you Ender through the ansible and now you hold our future in your hands” I mean what? I can’t even begin to wrap my head around how stupid that is.
I will be watching the movie because I have heard good things about it, but I will not be continuing with the series.