Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)'s Reviews > Ender's Game

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
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** spoiler alert ** Do the ends justify the means?

What if the only way to save your planet from certain annihilation is to ruthlessly manipulate a young child into becoming a solder who is skilled enough to destroy billions of your enemy, to make him into a killer?

With Ender's Game, the reader gets to ponder this question. I had many thoughts as I read this story. I didn't always understand what was going on. Like Ender, I questioned where the game ended and reality began. Children in the environment of this book don't get to be kids for long at all, especially when they are genius children. Instead, they become soldiers, training day in and day out to be the best, to win, to conquer their enemies. All for the purpose of defeating the alien race that Earth views as a deadly enemy (called Buggers) in the coming war. I questioned how a six-year-old kid could even grasp this. Even a genius child. As I read, I questioned the ruthlessness of adults who would put a child through these experiences. It takes a certain personality, a particular mindset to able to justify one's actions. It's hard not to judge, but then, I'm not in the same situation. And I was grateful for that.

I just wanted Ender to have some peace and be able to just be a child. I cheered for him to find his way past the many mazes he was manipulated through. I didn't ever lose faith in him, because he had proven himself worthy of my faith. Even though I wondered what was the whole point of everything, I didn't stop believing in Ender. I was glad that Ender managed to find that light that kept him moving forward. Sometimes it was in the form of his beloved sister, Valentine, and other times, it was his fellow students, and sometimes it was the determination not to let them see him sweat. Whatever it was, this kid didn't break. I liked that about the book.

Some things didn't sit well with me as I read. I couldn't always visualize the game setup at Battle School as clearly as I would have liked. Instead of letting this throw me out of the read, I just managed to fill in the blanks around my lack of understanding and keep reading. Maybe Card meant it that way, but it was interesting how warfare became an experience that felt more like playing a video game than a face to face meeting of enemies. I wondered where that was going, but I soon found out, and I was like, "Are you serious?" I don't care much for mind games and boy was there some serious mind-screwing going on in this book. Perhaps his point was that as technology advances, warfare becomes more and more dehumanized, and it takes away the immediacy of the moral questions of taking a life, and using soldiers like pawns on a board to do so. As above expressed, the ruthless treatment of children and its effects hit me hard. They did not make for easy reading for me. On one level, I understand that a lot of psychology goes into training soldiers, and I know that some of it is necessary. I just wonder where the line gets drawn. The aspects of Peter and Valentine's political experiment left me a bit cold. I wasn't sure what Card was trying to get across here. Is the political arena just a big elaborate game in and of itself, a game that has the potential to have very disastrous and wide-reaching effects? Or was he trying to say that age is just a number? Kids aren't really kids, depending on the society and the situation that the child inhabits. Still not sure about either of those conclusions I drew. As close as I can get, anyway. Lastly, the ending got a bit strange. While I appreciated the aspects about Ender gaining an appreciation for the mind (the human-like aspects) of the Bugger civilizations, things got a bit weird and abstract when Ender's empathy with the Buggers became a philosophy that turned into a religion. It felt disconnected from the story to me, and added to a certain lack of satisfaction I felt overall. I appreciate the fact that he examined how war, differing philosophies, external differences, what have you, can separate entities in a way that if we strip down all the differences, there is a lot more alike than we think.

Final Thoughts:

Ender's Game is a well-written work of science fiction that has a lot to say about subjects that can make for hairy discussion. Subjects that I tend to avoid discussing with a ten-foot pole. War is as old as mankind. Literature is a good sounding board to explore those questions of war and humanity. Overall, I think that this novel does a good job of staying in the story and not just acting as a soundboard for the author's opinion. I am sure that others may disagree. For myself, I didn't necessarily feel that it was a preachy work. If it was, I think both sides of the questions were adequately presented in such a manner as for me to feel that this was a book with a story that had some themes that could get a reader thinking. Not mere propaganda for espousing one person's beliefs.

I liked this book a lot, but I felt the ending took it down from a five star rating for me. Also, my sense of disconnection at not quite getting some of the gaming aspects. I'm sure that others better versed in gaming or military strategy, or better read in science fiction might have visualized and understood those elements better than this reader. For what it was, this was a good book, and I can say that I gained a lot from reading it. I still have some philosophical questions running through my head now, and I feel that I have yet to make up my mind about those things, as there are always two sides to every story. So for me, that's a good experience, getting a good story and something to think about in the end.
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Reading Progress

02/03/2012 page 48
14.0% "There are few humans more cruel than a group of preadolescent children."
02/04/2012 page 118
35.0% 4 comments
02/06/2012 page 215
64.0% "I will finish this book today. Oh yes, I will!" 4 comments

Comments (showing 1-50 of 55) (55 new)


Tressa Ender Wiggin is one of my all-time favorite literary characters. You'll love this story!


Issam Just finished it last night. AMAZING.


Kara You haven't read it before? A sci-fi gem - hopefully not too over-hyped for you now. =)


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) Nope, first time. I'm going in cold. So far, so good.


Kara Enjoy. I look forward to the review.


Kerstin Loved this one! Hope you enjoy it as well.


Tressa If anyone is interested, Ender's Shadow is a parallel book that takes place at the same time as Ender's Game, but from Bean's perspective. There's a lot of background on Bean, too.


Katalili An elementary school teacher and myself made a small program for the "avid" readers in the 6th grade, and this book is among the ones we chose for the kids, and I must say, they love it!


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) Katalili, that's interesting and encouraging that the kids like this book. It's rather cerebral in some ways, so that gives me a lot of hope in the younger generation that they can enjoy a book that has some heavy themes in it.


Alisha Danielle, I have to second Tressa's recommendation. Ender's Shadow is so much more than the term "parallel novel" can convey. It's truly Bean's book, but in reading it, there's a lot revealed about Ender and his plight that could not have been done in the original.


Whispers from the Pirate's Ghost Whisper I think there is the anatomy of a school with bullies hidden in htis story. And more.

I liked your review. Thank you.

Hugh


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) Thanks for the recommendation, Alicia.

Thanks, Hugh!


message 19: by Markm (new) - added it

Markm If this helps that the battle scenes were written when Lazer Tag was the big new thing. I agree on a lot of your aspects.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) That does help, although I am going to be honest and admit I never played Lazer Tag. I guess I was deprived!


message 21: by Kagama-the Literaturevixen (last edited Feb 08, 2012 11:36PM) (new)

Kagama-the Literaturevixen I had never heard of this book before. But suddenly its popping up all over the place.

The plot sounds intriguing...but I have never managed to finish any of the two Orson Scott Card books I started to read.

Is it something you would recommend?


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) Hi, Kagama. I would recommend it if you're still interested despite the aspects that didn't appeal to me.

I think the ideas are interesting. I feel it's hard to read about kids being treated the way they are in the book. Also, some of the technical elements didn't always make sense to me. If you're fine with those aspects and/or still willing to give it a try, I say go for it.

Card has a reputation for having some strong opinions that come off as prejudiced, which has alienated some readers. I don't pay much attention to author politics outside of a book, unless I knew them for their political opinions beforehand. I don't think this story was especially biased, so if that's an issue for you as a reader, I think you'd be okay with this book.


Kagama-the Literaturevixen Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "Hi, Kagama. I would recommend it if you're still interested despite the aspects that didn't appeal to me.

I think the ideas are interesting. I feel it's hard to read about kids being treated the w..."


Hello Danielle.

Well I have heard he has some pretty uncomfortable ideas about homosexuals. But if a book is good...*shrugs*

Would you say the kids are treated exceptionally bad? Seeing bad things happen to kids is not one of my favorite subjects.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) I don't know if I'd say exceptionally bad. There were some uncomfortable moments for me. More than anything, the kids are manipulated and treated with a disregard for their safety in a way that adult soldiers would be treated. That was a big issue for me, but it didn't give me nightmares or anything.


message 25: by Kagama-the Literaturevixen (last edited Feb 09, 2012 05:14PM) (new)

Kagama-the Literaturevixen Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "I don't know if I'd say exceptionally bad. There were some uncomfortable moments for me. More than anything, the kids are manipulated and treated with a disregard for their safety in a way that ad..."

Hmmmm...well I only know I hate kids being badly treated. :/

Not really in the mood for something gloomy so Ill just let it linger for a while in my to-read pile.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) I hate it too, Kagama. I'm probably fairly sensitive to this. Might be better to wait until you're in the mood for it.


Kagama-the Literaturevixen Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "I hate it too, Kagama. I'm probably fairly sensitive to this. Might be better to wait until you're in the mood for it."

Yes... I am pretty sensitive about some topics.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) Don't read Blue Monday then. I just about got an ulcer reading it for that reason.


Kagama-the Literaturevixen Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "Don't read Blue Monday then. I just about got an ulcer reading it for that reason."

Thanks for the warning.

I know the feeling... when I was reading Glow I got a pain in my ovaries.


message 31: by Kagama-the Literaturevixen (last edited Feb 10, 2012 02:13AM) (new)

Kagama-the Literaturevixen Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "Likewise on the Glow warning."

Its just something about the concept in Glow of(view spoiler)

That book crossed the line. I felt physically sick. Yuck.


message 33: by Kagama-the Literaturevixen (last edited Feb 10, 2012 02:26AM) (new)

Kagama-the Literaturevixen Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "Oh that's heinous!!!"

I hated it >_< and the religious overtones of the bad guys added another layer.Felt like the author was trying to make a statement.

Ended up as a cliche instead.

(view spoiler)


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) (view spoiler)


Kagama-the Literaturevixen Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "[spoilers removed]"

I learnt a new word. And sure we can be, it shouldnt be so but it often is. But it was made even worse by that they were women...


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) I agree. I never got how another woman could hate women so much.


message 37: by Kagama-the Literaturevixen (last edited Feb 10, 2012 02:40PM) (new)

Kagama-the Literaturevixen Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "I agree. I never got how another woman could hate women so much."

If i dislike someone its because its a person I dont get along with.Not because its a woman.

I made an observation on how this is at play in several YA dystopian books lately like

Wither
Eve
Enclave


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) You know, I haven't felt the urge to read Wither. I really don't like the polygamy subject matter at all. I do have Enclave in my tbr pile because I am a fan of Ann Aguirre's books.


Kagama-the Literaturevixen Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "You know, I haven't felt the urge to read Wither. I really don't like the polygamy subject matter at all. I do have Enclave in my tbr pile because I am a fan of Ann Aguirre's books."

Wither.I was intriguied by the plot so I took a chance.Not really a fan of polygamy either,especially when one of the brides is (view spoiler)

It wasnt bad per se...but it was a situation in the book that made it turn sour.Maybe you wont put so much meaning into it as I did.

Sorry for dissing your favorite author though:/


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) I didn't take it as you dissing Ann Aguirre. I totally respect if you don't like a book/author I loved. We all have different tastes. I haven't read Enclave yet.


Kagama-the Literaturevixen Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "I didn't take it as you dissing Ann Aguirre. I totally respect if you don't like a book/author I loved. We all have different tastes. I haven't read Enclave yet."

Well you said it was your favorite author so the least I could do was be polite enough to say "excuse me" if i offended you :)


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) I appreciate that. As a Twilight fan, I'm used to people hating on my favorite books.


Kagama-the Literaturevixen Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "I appreciate that. As a Twilight fan, I'm used to people hating on my favorite books."

I have to admit its not one of my favorite books. First one was ok though.

I think Twilight is part of about 80% of all discussions in goodreads...Twi-fans vs Twi-haters


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) What I find interesting is how much time people who don't like the books spend talking about it. If I hate a book, I just move on.


Kagama-the Literaturevixen Lady Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "What I find interesting is how much time people who don't like the books spend talking about it. If I hate a book, I just move on."

"Read ´em and leave ´em" lol

I wish I had your selfcontrol...I can get pretty agitated by some books.My reviews for them become pretty snarky.


message 46: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) (last edited Feb 10, 2012 04:37PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) I will get heated over some books. I don't know, I just don't enjoy being negative about books. I look at all the books I own or that I am looking forward to reading and I get excited. I like that feeling of joy that books give me, so I like to focus on the positive.


Michaela Interesting... I didn't know you'd read this :) Have you read Speaker for the Dead? I see what you mean about the ending... This book was originally written as a prequel for his book "Speaker For the Dead" to give some background about Ender, which is probably why it ended a little weirdly lol... A lot of people like it because it's action-packed or whatever, and I enjoyed that, but I mostly thought the deep psychological parts were really interesting. Orson Scott Card has a lot of insight into the "human condition", if you'll bear with me for saying that lol :D
I think that Speaker for the Dead is better because it has more hope, but really, I think that Ender becomes so weighed down with guilt and stuff that it's really hard to read about him by the last book, and I found myself, as I read book 4, begging Orson Scott Card to just kill him and get him out of his misery... Anyway, i still like the books, but I sort of avoid the last one. I think his quartet "Ender's Shadow" has a lot more hope to it, even if it isn't as good.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads) I haven't read Speaker for the Dead yet. I'll check it out one day though. I liked your review, Michaela.


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