Sunday, July 22, 2012

Review: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Review: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

My Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads):
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.


I really liked Ender's game, and it was an interesting enough read.  But OH THE CLICHE STORY-LINE.  It's not that this is bad writing.  Really, Card did quite a good job when he wrote this.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Ender and his escapades.  But seriously, this entire novel was like watching an episode of Star Trek.  But instead of adults, it's starring kids.

Also, I feel like it's pretty hard for readers to connect with Ender.  I mean, how many six-year-olds, exactly, do you know that can do trigonometry? It just seemed rather unlikely.  And even though near the end of the book, he reaches 12 years of age, that's still pretty young for a teenager to be able to connect to.  

Other than those two major things, the book wasn't that bad.  The world in of itself was extremely interesting, with the Battle School stationed in space and all of the advanced technology. Card did a wonderful job with world-building.   The biggest issue was that in this fantastic world where there could easily be an interesting story, Card chose to pick the most cliche story line known to man.  He had all the right cards- a new world and a fascinating protagonist.  But he didn't make his own story, just a copy.

So, if you're into sci-fi and you really like Star Trek, and you want to see how an episode of Star Trek may play out if it starred children, then that's Ender's Game for you.  This story isn't something that when mentioned I would strongly advise against reading, but it also isn't a story that I would highly recommend.  

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