Friday, March 23, 2012

Retro Friday Review: Ender's Game By Orson Scott Card

Retro Friday is a meme hosted by Angie of Angieville and "focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc." 

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication date: 1985 (originally published as a short story in 1977)
Pages: 352
Source: Audiobook from Library
For: Fun
Series: Ender series, Book 1

Ender is a third child, a rarity in his world where population is strictly monitered. He has been chosen by the military to go to battle school at six years old, after his two older siblings were rejected. Little does he expect to encounter there brutality, cruelty, and no sympathy from adults. Working his way up by skill, strategy, and wits, Ender is being groomed to play a vital part in the war for the planet - one that will decide the fate of all humans.

Things I Liked:
This truly is a clever, original story.  I was completely impressed with how real it felt.  I love the complex plot, the real and completely horrifying world of the battle school, how Card doesn't hold back on what happens to his characters.  Ender feels like a real kid and we feel the horror of the situations he is put into, the reality that there are no adults to look out for him.  It progresses completely to the ending that is ridiculously surprising, yet afterward seems inevitable.  It's smart and good sci-fi and will keep you invested in knowing what Ender will do next, or rather what will be done to Ender next.  He has a lot of internal conflict and I think that is realistically portrayed.  Just plain good storytelling.

Things I Didn't Like:
It can be very depressing at times, not that this is something inherantly bad about the book.  It's just hard to see Ender deal with all the crap thrown at him.  I listened to the audio version this time and I liked having different voices for different characters, but Ender's voice was pretty annoying.  Valentine's was belivable and felt young enough, but Ender's voice was less so - an older man with a rather gruff voice (Stefan Rudnicki).  This was ok at times, but other times it grated on me to have such a young kid read by a person with such an old voice.  Still, it didn't detract much from the really good story.

Honestly, I don't know.  I guess I don't read enough sci-fi.
For other books with great plot twists, check out my Twisted Tales book list

s-factor: !@ 
scattered throughout

mrg-factor: none 

v-factor: ->->-> 
some of it is pretty horrifying, but not overly detailed

Overall rating: ***** 

Have you read it? What did you think?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. i have loved Ender's Game for a very long time. When I'm lost for a good read....Ender's Game. I'm not into sci fi but I think Card does a great job w/ character development and he doesn't get caught up in any sci fi mumbo jumbo. ;) I can't wait to see what they do with the movie.

    1. I think that's one of the best things about this book - lots of non-sci-fi fans really enjoy it, because it does other things so well. Interested to see the movie too!

  2. You might already know this but we decided to read this one for book club. I'm so interested to see what I'll think of it.

    1. I think I did see it on Suey's list. I will be intrigued to know what you think of it too :)

  3. I first read Ender's Game for a literature class in my master's library program a few years ago. I was NOT excited about the idea of reading it. I can't believe how wrong I was! My preconceived ideas about the sci-fi genre could not have been more wrong, and one must admit it does have rather unfortunate cover art. I think I could handsell this book in my library much more often if the cover art was updated. Love the whole series of Ender books.

    1. Oh the cover art. For the number of years it's been published, it should have at least one good cover going for it. Alas, it does not. I haven't read any of the other Ender books - I've really got to change that!

  4. I read Ender's Game a long time ago, but I remember that the ending was exactly as you said --- a total surprise, and yet so obvious. I remember going over everything that had happened earlier in the book in light of this new knowledge for days afterwards in my head (I love it when I read books like that!).

    I also remember marveling on how so much, the lives (and deaths!) of millions, depended on this one very young boy.

    1. Those are some of the best books - the ones you can't stop thinking about and loving how perfect the ending was. Great, great stuff.

  5. I listened to this one a few years ago and loved it. Have you seen that they are filming the movie right now? Seems like an awesome cast!

    1. I did see that the movie is in the works! I loved the kids they picked for it - they look a LOT like what I pictured. Interested to see how it turns out, though.

  6. I've tried to read ENDER'S GAME three times, but I just can't get through it. Everyone says the ending's so clever it's worth the read, but meh, I just can't do it.

    Oh, and I can't go see Michael Grant on Wednesday. My husband won't be here, so I'll have the kiddos. Bummer!

    1. Too bad about not being able to finish it! I guess it really is not for everyone (you know, like every other book out there). I probably won't make it to see Grant either, since we are trying to move this week. Someday we will meet!


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