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Reviews of Ender's Game (1985)

Review by enderwiggin (2009-09-11)
There are not many books that truly excite a person, seduce them into a series, captivate their interest, make them crave for more. There is an even smaller number of authors who are able to put this spell upon a person.

Orson Scott Card can.

In Card's novel Ender's Game, a futuristic science fiction novel, a young boy is forced to go to a battle school in outer space. His older brother Peter was too violent to be given this honor, and his older sister Valentine was too soft. They were both close, but no cigar. So the government allowed Mr. and Mrs. Wiggin to have another kid. That's where Ender comes in.

The idea of a two-kid limit is a theme used in many books, including Lois Lowry's The Giver and Margaret Peterson Haddix's Shadow Children series, both of which were published after Ender's Game. Yet this book does not focus on that idea too much, and thus makes it very original.

So Ender is sent to Battle School with the warning that he might never see his parents again until he is an adult. But six-year-old Ender goes with many other boys, to learn how to fight, and more importantly, to win, against the alien buggers, who are coming back for another war, even bigger than the last.

The book does not portray Ender as a superhuman, mindless fighting machine, nor as an over-emotional wimp. It has very realistic characters, an exciting plot, and is filled with action and thought-provoking lines. It has spawned several sequels (the first of which is Speaker for the Dead) and parallel novels (including Ender's Shadow). In my opinion, it is one of the best books ever written. Orson Scott Card has joined the ranks of the authors who can weave the spell of captivation. Keep writing, Mr. Card, and I will keep reading.

Grade: 9.5

Review by zephyrpilot (2009-08-11)
I really liked the underlying themes in this book, would definetly reccomend this to readers and non readers alike. Very addicting storyline (as are the sequals). Its short enough to read in one sitting, but still long enough to satisfy. The Adult themes in this book, show how politics run so much of our behavior. Showing how conflict can push a person into a certain mindset. And how easily moldabe we are, I felt a connection more so after going through a 2 year school in the navy. How they tried to shape and form our mostly "young" minds into a thinking a certain thinking process. Its really interesting how institutions well, institutionalize people. It makes me think, good book haha

Review by mmrobins (2007-07-02)
An easy read with plenty to say about how we deal with the unknown with a really cool twist ending. Easily the most entertaining sci-fi book I've read just about ever. It made everything understandable without being oversimplified and had some enjoyable characters.

(This review refers to the 1991 version titled “Ender's Game”)

Review by jetshred (2007-02-27)
My brother casually recommended this book to me several months ago, and yesterday I finally decided to read it. This book could be understood easily by any 10-year-old (I wish that I had read it at that age), but underlying the simple prose it is as complex and thought provoking as you the reader allow it to be. I literally could not put this book down; I read it in one sitting. I assure you that you need not to be interested in science fiction to enjoy Ender's Game. I love when a book or film makes me think, especially if I keep thinking about it long after I have finished it. This is one of those books. Put simply, you must read Ender's Game!

Review by archaic (2006-12-30)
Being the first sci-fi book I had read in years I was a bit skeptical how my transition from fantasy to sci-fi would be. After reading this book all skepticism was gone.
The author did a wonderful job writing each of his characters especially Ender. Each was unique and seemed extremely real. The setting of the book I must admit was not the best but fit well with the story. The plot was what made this book exceptional. The author kept the pace moving and it never seemed to drag on as some books do. My favorite part of this book was the ending. This twist that the author threw in I couldn't believe. I had to re-read the paragraph over and over to believe it.
This book is a great read for all book lovers.

Review by harryhermionerw (2006-11-21)
I really loved this book. My friend lent me this saying that I would probably really like it. It was well thought out, and overall an great book. The plot was great, and fast-paced. I especially liked the last few chapters. The characters were good, with lots of significant details, not just random details that have absolutely nothing to do with the plot. Simply put, it was amazing.

Review by boomkatfan1 (2006-03-16)
Perhaps it is premature for me to review this book. That is because I have not finished reading it yet. But I feel I have to review it now because I am finding it to be one of the finest science fiction books ever written. Orson Scott Card has a true genius for writing. His characters are compelling. The story is believable. It reads like science fiction should. It makes for a fun beginning to a so far 8 novel long series. All told the characters seem real because Orson Scott Card makes all of them from Ender to Peter seem like they are exactly as they should be at the age they are portrayed at. All in all it is worth a look.

Review by jangel35 (2005-09-20)
This book is SOOOO good!!!!!I love it.
Ender Wiggin is a very intellegent human being who has extreme wisdom beyond his years. His brother and sister(peter and Valentine)love him. Ender and Valentine have a functional relationship, while Peter and Ender don't. Valentine and Ender's love is very special and is important throghout this book. Peter, however doesn't like Ender because Ender is living proof that Peter wasn't good enough. Peter also has to have the power(keep that in mind). Ender is sent off to battle school in which he is transformed from a nice and genourous, smart boy into a hateful, and intellegent boy. He later goes to Commanding school in which he and his old buddies from Battle school take on this "game". Later in this part of the book you'll know why they call this book Ender's Game. He then learns that all he worked for at battle and commanding school was a mistake.

Review by macjohn (2005-07-09)
I've spent most of this year trying to read as many books as possible from the iblist top 100. I've read 1984, Brave New World, Atlas Shrugged, The Alienist, Hitchikers Guide, Animal Farm, Fahrenheit 451, and many more. This was the first time I read the book from start to finish in less than a week (I couldn't put it down). It was also probably my favorite of the lot.

I thought this was going to be a sci-fi book, but the story, for the most part, concentrates on the life of Ender Wiggin. His relationships, his training, his perfection, his difficulties, etc. That is where the story is great, the alien invasion part almost could have just as easily been any insurmountable challenge that the boy was being trained for to save the world.

Review by ropie (2005-06-09)
I just finished Ender's Game. I know it's a very popular book and has received countless glowing reviews but I have to say that I found it really wasn't for me.

The story certainly flowed along nicely and Ender himself was an incredibly endearing character, but really, what more is there to this book? I found the action sequences repetitive and very predictable, the sub-plot was laughably convenient and vague, and the ending (which could have been good) was rushed and verging on schmatlzy.

What I did enjoy, as I already said, was the writing - stylistically succint, it was very easy to read without being glossy and the different bits of the plot knitted together well. I also really enjoyed the descriptions of the surreal game world from the Battle School; actually these were my favourite bits of the book.

Overall the book seemed to be a cross between the Starship Troopers movie and Harry Potter, and whilst I can say I enjoyed reading it, it was really only because it didn't take me too long. I certainly won't be in a hurry to read any of the sequels.

Review by mrdude (2005-02-15)
Ender's Game, The First book in the Ender Wiggin Series, by Orson Scott Card is the story of six year old genius Ender Wiggin. The story starts off when Ender Wiggin, third child in a time where population is controlled, is chosen to go to battle school to be trained to fight against an alien race that threatens to destroy humanity.

This book won both the nebula and hugo awards and there is no doubt in my mind as to why. The writing is superb, the story is enthralling and captivating and suspenseful. I was particularly impressed with the authors ability to convey the persona of each character. All the characters had a lot of depth to them, and the reader gets to experience many sides of each character while still having a good idea of how others view said person. I was also impressed with card's version of the future. He seems to keep his interpretation vague so that the reader is forced to use their own imagination to fill in the gaps. This, surprisingly, helps make it much more realistic than if he had explained more.

Nearly every chapter starts off with two unknown people discussing what to do with Ender and how things are coming along with his training, and then goes into what is currently happening to Ender or other characters such as his sister, brother or classmates. As the book progresses it becomes more obvious who the two unknowns are. The author also enjoys switching which characters point of view he is writing in but definatley has very unique and deliberate tone

I did find it hard to conceptualise how much time passed throughout the book. Card tends to "fast forward" through the boring parts. So the pace of the book tends to change in relation to what is happening to ender. This can sometimes make it difficult for the reader to grasp the age of characters and how long they have endured certain things, but in other ways it parallels Ender's own experience with the events, since he himself has trouble gauging how much time has passed in his life time.

I also would like to point out that although people might try to consider this book to be aimed at a younger audience based on the age of the characters, I found it to deal with much more adult issues, and in fact would even consider it a little inappropriate for younger children. Overall I loved the book. It really deals with interesting issues and how people think and work.

(Review also posted at the IBDoF)

Review by darkkilala (2005-01-28)
This book was fantastic. I don't think I will ever read a more amazing science fiction book. The author is equissite at describing all the technology in this book. PLus, he describes in detail all the characters and what they do in the book. It is well written, and the best science fiction book I have ever and probably will ever read.

Review by Zacynthus (2004-11-23)
WOnderful science fiction novel about how easily innocence is destroyed and how easy in the modern era it is to kill. The characters are gritty and real and the story line is so gripping you won't want to put this down.

Review by alanhunt (2003-09-12)
This book is perhaps Card's best work, and I think that he has written a number of superb stories. Ender's game is completely engaging, the plot relentless, the characters rich and human. While the themes explored by the book may be old ones, they are retold here so well that they seem new. I would definately rank this among the top science fiction works, and would especially recommend it to someone new to science fiction.

Review by zylah (2003-08-21)
I thought this book was great, and i couldn't put it down, kind of like a cross between Starship troopers and Apprentice adept. A word of warning though the rest of the books in the series seem to get progressively worse.

Review by LJOL (2003-06-29)
Ender's Game was the first SF book I read (and still the only one) but it gave me one of my best reading experiences ever. I could barely put it down before I was finished and that is very unusual for me. I am still thinking about it, days after i finished reading it. Both the plot and the language is fantastic and the characters is captivating. If you are going to read only one book this year, read this one!

Grade: 10/10

Review by freezer (2003-04-24)
This should be required reading for any children entering their teens and interested in reading. I believe I first read it sometime around then, and it singlehandedly turned me on to science fiction. With the addition of Ender's Shadow and its sequel(s?), new readers have even more to look forward to. As for the why, there's something about the combination of the story and Card's writing style that does pull you in, as many of the other reviews have hinted at. I can only describe it as a "smoothness" (a balance between flowing description and brevity that other authors miss) of delivery.

Review by Mariko (2003-04-08)
Still one of my favorite books, eight years after I first read it (though I do like SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD better), and it's the book that got me interested in science fiction and speculative fiction in general. I see that a lot of people who've written reviews for it haven't been too impressed, but I can't recommend this book more emphatically than I do already. It's the characters that are at the heart of this story; that's something that it would be nice to see more of in all genres of fiction.

(The enemy's gate is down.)

Review by empathy (2003-03-12)
This is a great book, which works on many different levels. The story is intense, exciting and engrossing, and I truly could not put the book down, it has a seriously addictive quality. A must-read book.

Review by nowlaj (2003-03-08)
What makes this book so good is the depth the author plunges into the various characters in this story. Ender's Game will entertain and captivate children and adults alike. You are left with saying "I can't believe they are going to make Ender do this." Without whitewashing humanity, Ender's Game shows us what we as people are capable of both good and bad. An excellent story and an excellent adventure. I would recommend it at all levels!

Review by Humungus (2003-03-08)
This is definitely a good book. But is it better than Dune? I don't understand why Ender's Game is ranked #1. The book is a good read. And it has some fascinating insights; but there are a few hundred better novels. Why is it #1 on this site? (a slashdotter favorite?)

Review by lmagarga (2003-03-08)
A classic young man's novel, with enough adult themes to keep the older generations interested. Some suspense, plots twists, and a good ending make it a solid read. The inevitable sequels pale in comparison, but the original is definitely worth reading.

Review by DaBGP (2003-03-08)
This book contains some decent drama, but has flawed logic and a fairly predictable outcome. When and if this list stabilizes it is my opinion that it should'nt be among the top 100 SF-books ever written.

Review by transient0 (2003-03-07)
This is a traditional boarding school story told against a science fiction backdrop. It is an adult book, but also an excellent book for children who read above their level. Any child who enjoys Harry Potter should also read the Ender books; to put it bluntly, they are fun for the same reasons, but better.

Review by cryohazard (2003-03-07)
Great book that is incredibly easy to get through. Originally read this for a middle school project in 1994 and have read it several times since. I oringally read the 4 book series for Ender's Game and have since read the Ender's Shadow series ... the 3 books in Ender's Game get a bit dry and boring but are a good read to understand Ender's life. Ender's Shadow I thought was such a great book, in that OSC was able to show the exact same story through a different pair of eyes. The Ender's Shadow series gets a bit more political but is also a great read.

Review by gen_patton (2003-03-07)
On the outside, this is a wonderful book for kids. A fun story of a child leading an army against alien attack. Much like CS Lewis however, this novel holds a world of depth and insight for the adult reader. Card presents an incredible look into the mind of humans, their thoughts, desires and motivations. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to see the world from other's eyes, this book will let you. Amazing, an all time favorite and more than a worthwhile read for anyone.

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