Friday, November 22, 2013

Julia Reviews Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Title/Author: Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Publisher/Year Published: 1985 by Tor
How I got this book: I was given it in an RAK
Why I read this book: I wanted to before I saw the movie, because it was supposed to be amazing.
Rating: 5 stars

For years now I have had friends, mostly people who I would consider readers but not voracious readers, telling me that I need to read Ender’s Game. As soon as I heard the movie was in production I figured I should get on that. I received the book in an RAK by coincidence a year or so ago. But still with all of this, I didn't pick the book up until I literally had one week to read it before I was planning see the movie.

Here is what I knew about Ender’s Game before starting to read:

  • It’s a sci-fi series starring a young boy protagonist (named Ender) by Orson Scott Card
  • Aforementioned Card is an outspoken homophobic douche canoe
  • Because I didn't read it when I was a kid I would not get or connect with this book on the same level as if I would have read it as a young'un.
  • Everyone gets there panties in a twist at how amazing this book is.
  • Harrison Ford and the kid from Hugo and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas were going to be in the movie.
  • Seriously: Douche. Canoe.

That is all I knew, which I think worked in my benefit because damn it count me among those whose panties are twisted. (Maybe I should get a better metaphor since it’s a kids book.. eh whatever).

Ender's Game is unlike any book that I have read recently. It pairs this scientific world with one that is grounded in enough reality to be familiar, but also enough differences to make it unique. Ender is six years old when this book starts off, but he isn't like any other six year old. He is abnormally smart. Well he was bred to be. You see there is a battle going on in the universe, or one is being held at bay really. There is an alien race, called buggers (because they look like bugs... sure), that moved into our solar system looking for a new place to colonize. Well we humans didn't take too kindly to that and fought them back. We won a huge battle and since then have been preparing the resistance. How? By finding the best and brightest kids to get pulled from their lives and trained to fight and command.

This book really follows Ender on his physical and emotional journey as he becomes not only one of those kids but THE one of those kids, the one who will save the world from the buggers.

What an interesting read! Like based on point three above, I really thought I was going to enjoy it but not be overwhelmed by it because of my advanced old age of 26. No I really did enjoy it. The world building was excellent. Harrison Ford in my head as one of the space trainer people was amazing, but really pulled me out of the story when they called him fat. Lol wat?

I feel like there are many more reviews around the net that talk more in depth about why this book is good, why its bad and what Card’s personal influence means in the context of the pages, but I just want to focus on the fact that I haven't been this wowed by a book in a long time. Maybe not since The Hunger Games.

It was written well, flowed pretty okay… maybe a little slowly at times but nothing noticeable. It ended in a place that lets you continue a series but still wraps up the book (one of my biggest pet peeves with fantasy series), the characters are dimensional and relatable… I can’t find anything that I don’t like about this book, really.

Since writing this and posting over at my Booklikes page, I've seen the movie, too. Book of course was better, but not for the reasons that one would think. I thought the movie suffered from being too much like the book and not making enough translations into the visual medium. It didn't give the background that it lost by not being narrated by Ender. Or the movie did have the voice over, but that doesn't make you connect with a character like it does when you are reading it. Ender just came across as robotic. It was an okay movie, but I not one I would see again.

I am sad I took so long to read this, but glad that I finally did. If you haven’t yet and enjoy adventure stories with a moral and philosophical commentary on humanity in them, seriously give this one a read. Put aside Card’s asshatery for a second and read it. If you feel bad about giving him money, go to a second hand store or donate double what you paid to an LGBT group or something. It’s worth your time.


  1. I think it's really hard to put aside the fact that Orson Scott Card is an ass hat when spending money on the books and the movie means that you're basically paying money towards homophobic organisations that are trying to make being gay illegal and are actively making gay people's lives a living hell. No matter how interesting this book sounds I'm 100% not OK with that and I don't really think you should tell people to just 'put [that] aside' because it's a really big issue.

    1. It is a really bit issue, and I didn't mean to make it sound like I was demeaning it. But for those who can separate it, this is a good book. My rational with seeing the movie, which I wouldn't recommend, was doubling the ticket price as a donation to an LGBT group. And with the movie, there were a large number of individuals who get income off of ticket sales that shouldn't be hurt by Card's asshatery. But as an individual I would want people to make their own decision regarding the book and I would understand if you didn't want to read it.

  2. I didn't read Ender's Game until well into my 20s, too, and the whole time I was mentally picturing the kids as being...well, early 20s. Frankly, even at that age they would be prodigies, and it helped me overlook the lack of any childish traits. (Genius =/= mature)

    I've stopped spending any money on OSC since finding out his homophobe leanings, but it wasn't a hard decision. He has a tendency to write really good first books, and then each book after the first in a series gets progressively worse and weirder.

    1. After I finished this, and really enjoyed it, I had already decided not to read more into the series. I am happy with how it ended, and that way I don't have to spend more money supporting this asshat. But that said, I really did like this book. I remember being underwhelmed with the only other Card book I read, so not too much of a loss.

  3. I read it years ago and liked it and decided, when I heard about the movie, to reread it. I liked it even better this time. Have the 2nd book in the series waiting to be read. I don't pay any attention to author's and their personal lives, if I did there would be a number of books I wouldn't read and that would be sad.

    1. I like to be aware of it so I can make an educated decision. With Card, I knew I wanted to read Ender's Game. If I didn't get gifted the book I would have gotten it from a second hand store so I wouldn't be supporting him with my dollar but also not missing out on the book. It's a conundrum. I feel that way too with author behavior online as well sometimes. Do I read this book knowing that the premise sounds good but they just attacked that other reviewer over their for an honest opinion?

      I am glad you liked it on the reread as well!

  4. I wasn't quite as against it as you were, but like you I loved it as well! Such a fascinating read! Unfortunately, I found the film to be a bit of a disappointment. Great review. :D

    1. Yeah. The film I didn't really like. Meh was the best I could come up with. I hope I don't feel like that after I see Catching Fire later...

  5. This is one of my all time favorite books - I'm so glad you enjoyed it! As far as the shenanigans with Card... I'm split. I think everyone is entitled to their own political leanings, it's when they get to be a huge douche canoe, as you say, that it bothers me. I don't want to be preached to (which is why I don't read Christian books, even as a Christian myself) - which is where the rest of the Ender series goes, and the reason I don't like the sequels as much.

    I really liked the second half of the movie, but I think the first half lacked the complexity and development of the characters that I was really wishing for. But I really did like Asa Butterfield as Ender!

  6. I read Ender's Game a few months ago for the first time. Although I really enjoyed the book. I hated all of the adults in the book. The world building, Ender, Ender's siblings were all fantastic, but I hated the adults and what they did to "create" Ender. I have a hard time separating the adults with the amazingness of the book. Is that weird?

  7. Awesome review. I was out today and was going to buy this one, but wasn't sure if it would really be something I'd read, but you've convinced me :)

  8. I initially read this book as a kid so without any awareness of Card's personal opinions. It kills me that I love this book so much but adult me is disgusted by the author and it just makes it tough.


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