Monday, September 27, 2010

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

This science fiction book is the first in a series, and I gave it a rating of five out of five. Actually, it's one of my favorite books from all that I've ever read. Ender is recruited at age six to be trained as a space battle commander. The thought is to identify and train geniuses while they're young, so they'll be ready to lead when the buggers mount their third invasion of Earth sometime in the future. The adults at the space training facility make things as difficult as possible for Ender, and he sometimes feels hopeless. He is isolated by the adults, and he's several years younger than other recruits. They are jealous of his genius, but Ender always finds a way to win the simulation contests in the battleroom. He uses creative tactics that have never been seen before, and his armies dominate the others. The adults decide to break up his army and give him new soldiers with no experience. He still finds a way to win, but things really change when Ender is sent to command school. The climax of his simulation battles at the command school will be surprising.

I enjoyed how the author made Ender's conflicts as difficult as possible, seemingly impossible to overcome. He felt pressure due to his isolation, peer pressure, pressure to win all of his battles, and pressure to be the best when he was told that the whole human race was depending on him. Some readers might be turned off by the political angle of the novel that centers around Ender's brother and sister. This part of the plot lends itself to more mature readers, and the political angle is more prominent after the third book in the series. Ender's Shadow is the sequel to Ender's Game and is excellent. It follows Bean, the recruit introduced in the middle of Ender's Game.

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