Friday, October 5, 2012

Flashback Friday: Ender's Game

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.  Quoted from Goodreads


Again, Flashback Friday means I can pick a book I've loved for years, and Ender's Game absolutely falls into the category. I first read this book in Jr. High, and have read it multiple times since. Then I read the sequels. Then I read the Ender's Shadow series.  And still, this is the book I love the most. The one that started it all.

Why do I love this book so much?  One word: Ender.  He is such a human character, while being smarter than everyone around him (and come on, no one likes a stupid main character).  He has so many obstacles to overcome. Not only is there the physical challenges he faces at his new school from bullying kids to the teachers pushing him and expecting more out of him than anyone else, but he also suffers psychologically. Therein we find the great balance of this book.

I like the outside challenges Ender faces. Yes, it appalls me how mean children can be, but in that kind of environment, what else could you expect?  I love the different strategies Ender comes up with to defeat his enemies and the battle in zero-gravity. I loved watching the system break down, how Ender was pushed into becoming what they needed. I especially love Ender as a leader, the way he generated loyalty from his followers. 

Then there's Enders relationships.  I like Valentine, but I especially hate/love Peter.  He is such an excellent character. Part of you can't help but despise him for what he is, and yet what he becomes in the end is kind of amazing and terrifying.  Maybe I'm weird, but I also love the scenes with the giant and that entire world he created on the computer.

As someone pointed out, I missed Theater Thursday (though I told you I just don't have enough movies to do it every week).  Still, they are finally making Ender's Game into a movie, and I'm thrilled.  They haven't released many pictures (practically none) but here's one of the set I kind of liked.  I'm sure this movie will be featured later when more comes out, but you should read the book now, so you can get excited with me.

This is a book everyone should read.  It's a great coming of age story/adventure that makes you think. When I read it, the only thing I could even compare it to was A Wrinkle in Time, and that's a pretty far stretch.  I've read other books that are closer now, but this was groundbreaking for me, and I've loved it ever since. I will throw in that with language and violence, it really isn't for younger children, just giving you a head up.

 Based on the number of times I've read this book alone, it easily earns five stars.  Plus this book first came out almost thirty years ago, and it still holds up!  Was Card's vision of the future perfect?  No. He came close on a lot of things though, and it's still an amazing/relevant read. So if you haven't read this book yet, what are you still doing here?  Go buy or borrow it.  If you have, well, I guess you already know how wonderful it is, but it might be time it read it again. Goodness knows, I'm thinking about it.

1 comment:

  1. LOVE this book! I cannot BELIEVE that this is finally being made into a movie! I will definitely have to re-read this.