Several months ago, when my son mentioned Orson Scott Card, I purchased a copy of Ender's Game at a secondhand book store. He didn't really dive in to...moreSeveral months ago, when my son mentioned Orson Scott Card, I purchased a copy of Ender's Game at a secondhand book store. He didn't really dive in to the book right away and I'd forgotten about it until Amazon offered a Kindle version that cost under $6. (For what it's worth, as of today, all the big 3 online e-book stores offer this for under $6).
I loved this book and as soon as I finished it, I interrupted my son's homework to tell him that this should be the next book he reads -- and I don't recommend books lightly, especially to my kids. It's not for everybody, but if you enjoy the Young Adult (YA) Science Fiction genre, this is a must-read. While reading it, keep in mind that it was originally published in 1985, at least 5 years before a very crude version of the internet was publicly accessible. The initial story was conceived by Card in 1977 and was surprisingly prescient given his futuristic vision of online role-playing games, for instance.
This book, along with the latest installment of the Hunger Games series, has provided a context for talking to kids about war and those who would seize and use power in order to control others, while some would choose empathy and forgiveness. It's full of thought-provoking concepts and portrayed by innocents -- children who are forced (by adults) into being tools of destruction.
As always, battle scenes and combat strategy -- especially these in null gravity -- are really hard for me to visualize, so I had a difficult time getting through some of the battle scenes because I just didn't understand the strategic maneuvers. Ultimately though, there's no quiz to see how well you understood the battles and it's not critical to understanding the wider implications, so just enjoy Ender and his story. (less)
Xing is clearly misunderstood, but his understanding of others is also shallow and one-dimensional. My feelings about Xing took an interesting turn ab...moreXing is clearly misunderstood, but his understanding of others is also shallow and one-dimensional. My feelings about Xing took an interesting turn about halfway through the book and I had a hard time reconciling some of his choices.
Bottom line: it's tough sometimes not to default to a well-known stereotype about a group of people, or to resist the temptation to form our opinions based on what somebody appears to be when placed in the context of popular culture or mass media. I'm challenging myself to try to become more aware of my own perceptions of others rather than focusing on wrongs done to me or members of my family -- I don't want to perpetuate the myths or the stereotypes. In other words, it's human nature for people to misunderstand or mistrust that which is unfamiliar and I can't change that -- I can only change my own behavior.
I had high expectations for this book and I wasn't disappointed. Ultimately, the story's about the transformation a life can take with a shift in one'...moreI had high expectations for this book and I wasn't disappointed. Ultimately, the story's about the transformation a life can take with a shift in one's perspective -- and what can happen to those who choose to truly see and to care.
It's like I've been chosen. But chosen for what? I ask. The answer's quite simple: To care.
Has your life ever been transformed by somebody who cared? Mine has. I've been on the receiving end of an unselfish depth of understanding - along with an investment of time. It's those true and lasting connections that we make when we really pay attention.
While some of Ed's inner dialog was jarringly (but not unexpectedly) explicit, the rest of the story unfolded in a delightful and satisfying way. It's not often I want to re-read a book as soon as I finish, but this is one that I would. (less)
I was so heavily invested in this series and in this story that there was only one conclusion I was willing to accept when I started reading Mockingja...moreI was so heavily invested in this series and in this story that there was only one conclusion I was willing to accept when I started reading Mockingjay -- my 5-star rating illustrates that not only was I not disappointed, I was fully satisfied. The provocative ideas in the final book of the trilogy have me considering questions about what we choose to believe about our friends and also about our perceived enemies. Ultimately, our enemies aren't others as much as they are the movements or ideas that would encourage the destruction of our fellow human beings. Sometimes WE truly are our own worst enemies. We often have to fight for and discover what's REAL and true -- and that's the battle that rages in Katniss, Gale, Peeta and others in this final book. (less)
While I would love to write an intelligent and thoughtful review, all I can manage to say right now is . . . I loved this story and the characters. My...moreWhile I would love to write an intelligent and thoughtful review, all I can manage to say right now is . . . I loved this story and the characters. My son declared it the best book he's ever read in this genre and asked me to read it too. He promised I would love it and I did. I started it on New Year's Eve and finished it on New Year's Day, so I don't know whether to say it's the best book I read in 2009 or the best book I read in 2010. Yesterday I also read Stargirl and When You Reach Me. I highly recommend all of them.(less)