Review: Ender’s Game

Ender's Game
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ender’s Game – A Reread Review

I first read Ender’s Game while I was in High School in the late 80’s. At the time, it quickly became one of my favorite books and has remained in that position for the past 25 years or so. Now I’m 42 and see there is a blockbuster movie version of Ender’s Game hitting theaters in November 2013, so I decided to re-read this classic and all-time favorite.

I’ve done this with many books as the movies are released (notably the Harry Potter books, the Lord of the Rings, the Narnia books, and The Hobbit. I started Ender’s Game last week because I wanted to make sure to give myself enough time to finish it prior to the movie release. I had no idea Ender’s Game would be as gripping as it is.

In short: 25 years was long enough to dull my expectations of this fantastic novel. It hit me blindside. Grabbed my attention and imagination and wouldn’t let go. And now, just about a week later, I’ve finished it and heading towards a re-read of Speaker For The Dead. I know for many of you 1 week is a long time to take on a book. For me, though, that’s insanely fast. I usually just read 15 minutes a night and very rarely during the day. It takes a long time to read a 300 page book that way.

Brief Synopsis
Ender Wiggin is a 6 year-old prodigy. He is a Third, one of those rare examples where a couple are allowed to have a 3rd child due to the promise shown in their first two children, in the search for the perfect battle commander for the upcoming 3rd conflict between the humans and the alien race called “The Buggers.” In the first two conflicts with the buggers, the humans very nearly lost as the buggers attacked earth, winning only by chance as far as the International Fleet’s leaders can tell.

Ender’s early life is heavily influenced by his sadistic brother and empathetic sister. But then everything changes as he is taken from his family to Battle School to learn how to fight the buggers. Their influence on him remains, though.

What happens next is a marvelous story of Ender’s development. How his life is affected by all the things done to him. And the interactions he has with the other children at Battle School create bonds that bind.

Ender’s siblings get some attention during the book as well, and their part is quite different but also very interesting and impactful.

It all comes down through a series of climactic battles throughout the book. These are masterfully described and honestly, they’re so well done that I’m worried that the movie just won’t be able to do them justice.

The Verdict
In my lifetime there have been very few times when my expectations for a book that I’ve read have been exceeded. Great books will sometimes do that, and when it happens, its an incredibly joyous feeling.

But for a book to do that twice is something I can’t recall happening quite like this before. As I mentioned earlier Ender’s Game was fantastic when I read it as a teenager. Because of this, I was expecting it to be good, but not as good as it was back then. Boy, was I wrong! Reading this book as an adult it was even better! Areas of the book which I remember bogging down a little bit (in the computer game with the Giant, all the stuff with Peter and Valentine) not only flew by, but were enthralling on this read. They were much more important than I’d realized on the first read. The added maturity I’ve gained makes it better.

Ender’s Game maintained ALL of the magic it had on first read. And gained depth, pace, and importance.

This is a 10/10 read with no qualms!

Who Should Read It?
Anyone who enjoyed the Hunger Games should definitely read Ender’s Game. They are totally different, but completely compatible. Besides that, I honestly feel anyone who enjoys a sense of wonder and has the slightest imagination should get Ender’s Game and read it. If you, like me, haven’t read it in a decade or two, it’s probably time for a re-read. You won’t regret it.

My only problem with this book is that it has SIGNIFICANTLY raised my expectations for any book I read. Why can’t every book be this excellent? Do you have recommendations for me that won’t disappoint?

View all my reviews

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