Book Review: Ender's Game20 Nov 2013
I had never heard anything about the Ender's game before the announcement of the movie. I liked what I saw in the trailer and decided to read the book. Not the brightest idea to have struck me in some time. I grabbed a copy for my Kindle and started reading it.
- Author: Orson Scott Card
- Published: 1994
- Series: The Ender Quintet #1
- Age Group: Kids/Teens
I don't know how to begin with this one. It's possible I had too many expectations from the book after reading plenty positive reviews and praises. Alas, I didn't enjoy it much.
The book is about Ender Wiggin. A genius kid who's in a school to be the next commander of Earth's fleet. Commanding in a long battle against an alien species known as the Buggers. Kids in this school play games in zero gravity to get used to thinking in free space. They have some classes where they study theory of science and math. There are a few leisurely activities such as playing computer games.
Pretty much every kid in the school is a gifted, intelligent individual. They're all there to graduate and move on to the higher studies. They have battle groups where they fight each other using freeze guns. Sounds good so far? Read on (spoilers ahead).
The biggest issue with this book is the lack of parallel story lines. Zero character development except Ender. There are a couple of chapters about his brother, Peter, and his sister, Valentine. From what I have heard, they are the main characters in later books. Unfortunately, that's about it. Rest of the book focuses on Ender and his battle games.
Soon, it gets boring. Ender, a smart-ass, gets on the bad side of almost everybody in no time. The teachers are aware of the situation and yet they decide to make things worse for him. He survives it all, no matter how bad the odds, how convoluted the schemes, he always wins. Let's assume for a minute that he is, in fact, intelligent enough to survive all that. Now comes the problem. In the end, Ender fails to see that the battles are no longer against a computer. That he is controlling the fleet against the Buggers. It just doesn't fit.
Moreover, the battles are not described at all after a point. His training isn't mentioned. It feels like a book written by a child (I'm pretty sure, this review also reads the same). Entire tone of the book is - Ender is the best, rest are crap, no matter what - Ender wins. Orson has tries to expand the topic to include the world politics through Peter and Val and fails miserably. The scenes are not detailed, the actual content of their writing is not clear, the agenda or the work is never shown. The Buggers are never mentioned except in the last chapter. The previous battles are not mentioned.
One way people look at the story is how corruptible young minds are. Without knowing anything about the Buggers he fights them. Unknowing to him, Ender destroys their entire race, thinking it's a game. There have been plenty of books on similar subjects. Some better, others worse. Ender's game, in my opinion, falls on the bad side of things. The concept is ingenious and the execution is poor.