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A War of Gifts (The Ender Quintet #1.1)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  12,655 Ratings  ·  820 Reviews
Orson Scott Card offers a Christmas gift to his millions of fans with this short novel set during Ender's first years at the Battle School where it is forbidden to celebrate religious holidays.
The children come from many nations, many religions; while they are being trained for war, religious conflict between them is not on the curriculum. But Dink Meeker, one of the ol
Audio CD, 3 pages
Published October 30th 2007 by Audio Renaissance
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Schatzl Zeck Morgan is the little boy in the Title story who has eidetic memory and is caught between his gift, that helps him remember every sermon his…moreZeck Morgan is the little boy in the Title story who has eidetic memory and is caught between his gift, that helps him remember every sermon his father has given, even those opposed to the current one This makes him impure .Meanwhile his mother has asked him never to let his father suspect that Zeck can remember everything he's read. Unusual abilities are freqently looked upon as coming from Satan and not G-d in True Trumpian fashion. Satan can wear a lovely face so it does matter how good it seems or how long it lasts. The other guy is always wrong and you are right.
He is tested and taken to Battle School despite family objection. We follow him up to the ship where we have been many times with Dink and Ender and Bean and and are with Zeck as he willfully gets the lowest score ever when he refuses to shoot anyone and has to be sent home. His gift is the object of many wars. Not using may cost the earth. It could cost his soul, if he thinks about it. It costs him his mother and father.(less)
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Community Reviews

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May 20, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Enderverse Luvvahs
Recommended to Flannery by: My wallet at Parkplace Books
You know that part in Good Will Hunting when Robin Williams finally gets Matt Damon to realize that his childhood abuse was not his fault? Yeah, this book is kind of like that except I didn't want to sleep with the main character (which would be illegal since he is 8) and I didn't get the visual of how weird looking Matt Damon is when he cries.

What's that? You want an actual review? Well, FU. I think that's in the spirit of all the gift-giving and moral value reaffirmations that abound in this b
For everyone who is a loyal Ender fan, this novella will not disappoint! In this interesting story of faith, we get to journey back to Battle School again. While the story centers on a new character from Rat Army, Zeck, many of my favorite characters from the original series are present, including Ender and Dink. I loved getting another glimpse at Ender's journey and Dink's non-conformity.

But, what makes this story compelling is the moral debates at its center. Zeck refuses to fight in Battle Sc
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
I picked up this novella in the library the other day, thinking, hey, here's a story in the Enderverse that I haven't read yet. Read it in about an hour, thought, not great, not bad, maybe a 3-star read. I get on Goodreads, pull up "A War of Gifts," and there it is: I've already given this book a 3-star rating. And I didn't recognize it at all.

So this raises some interesting questions: Was I thinking about a different Ender story when I originally rated it? Was it so unmemorable that I read it a
Marty Reeder
What is it with Orson Scott Card's Ender books, particularly the Battle School ones? Card is always an insightful author, but nothing ever rings as true and as strong as when he takes his readers up to that same spot where his ride to fame took him three decades ago. A War of Gifts isn't even a novel. It's an extended short story, really. And it should be commercial drivel, since it was specifically made for the Christmas season. There are a lot of things it should have been, but instead it was ...more
Dec 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone, everyone
Recommended to Relyn by: Jeffrey Lawson
I read this tiny book late Christmas night because Jeffrey asked me to. So far, in nearly twenty years, I've only disliked three books he's asked me to read. He has a pretty good track record, I'd say.

I think Orson Scott Card is one of the greatest living writers. It doesn't matter what he writes, it is powerful and the characters feel like living, breathing friends (or enemies). I am not a sci-fi fan. In fact, I never read it. About seven years ago Jeffrey asked me and asked me to read Ender's
Aug 06, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I first read Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card when I was twelve or thirteen. It’s the story of a young kid who is taken to Battle School (where soldiers are prepared to lead fleets against an alien race) and his experience while he’s there. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. It has great characters, and the descriptions of fighting while in zero gravity are amazing. I read it every couple of years, and actually started reading it again after this week’s book.

Truly it’s difficult to creat
Nov 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Ender's Game and the Ender Series
This novella is set while Ender is at Battle School in Rat Army. It is a story about how two Dutch students observing Sinterklaas Day sets off a war between the students and the faculty over religious observance.

I have found that the books in the Ender Series sort of fall all over the place in quality. Ender's Game and [boook:Ender's Shadow] are both really excellent books. Speaker for the Dead is alright, and I think that Xenocide and Children of the Mind fall off pretty fast quality wise. Like
Dec 24, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I received A War of Gifts in the mail a couple days ago, just in time for the Holidays, and finished it in under an hour last night. Though this book is sometimes called the tenth novel in the Ender universe (I’m looking at you, wikipedia), it’s best viewed as a short novella.

In 126 small, wide-margin pages, it tells the story of Zeck, an abused minister’s son, Dink, later one of the eleven children who command the counteroffensive against the aliens, and Flip, a Dutch boy who is homesick for so
Apr 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
More Christmas-themed stories should be like this. Smart, thoughtful, and brimming with a Christmas message that doesn't come across as being forced, unrealistic, or saccharine.
Of course, it helps that the whole thing is written by Orson Scott Card and set in the Enderverse. Hard to go wrong, in that regard.
A WAR OF GIFTS is also noteworthy for Card's deft handling of religious themes. Card is one of the few writers who can write deeply about religious issues without alienating half his audience
Mar 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
Merry Christmas to me! I loved Ender's Game and Ender in Exile( which I read last year) and when I saw this, decided to read it in December. I loved it. At first, I missed Ender in it, but I really enjoyed getting to know more about Dink. I really like him too. When Ender showed up in the story I was so excited and it did not disappoint. Can I possibly love Ender more than I already do? Thank you Orson Scott Card for this thought provoking little gem and for giving me more time to spend in Ender ...more
Dec 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an excellent book to read in December - a perfect Christmas visit with Ender, Dink and others in Battle School. It is a very short book packed with a lot of content regarding war, peace, religion, abuse, respect for other beliefs, tolerance, etc.

If you loved Ender as I did and would like a little more of him tied up in a Christmas package, then you should definitely treat yourself to this book. I did the audio version and was so taken with it that I listened twice back to back and was
Jorge Criado
Este pequeño libro me ha desconcertado. Por un lado, el tratamiento psicológico de los personajes me ha gustado bastante, así como el empeño de los chicos de la Escuela de Batalla por celebrar la Navidad (o algo parecido, más bien basado en los regalos). El final me ha gustado también, pero quizá el que sea un libro demasiado corto como para profundizar más me ha dejado un poco frío.
Dec 24, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Christmas-themed novella that takes place during Ender's Game, probably interesting only to those who have read the original story and definitely not required reading even for those who have read other books in the series.
Jul 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-books
This book got me right in the feels. I disliked reading from the point of view of an unlikeable character and another from a minor one but it definitely gave me a clearer perspective of Battle School and what the kids had to go through. Loved it.
Jun 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this several weeks ago on vacation, and I’m still deciding about it. I have a feeling, in fact, that this review is till going to end up slightly incoherent. Of course it is well-written, coming from Orson Scott Card. It was not what I was led to expect form the back cover, but went much deeper that that. In fact, the “war” is not so much a war between the students and teachers so much as between the students and Zeck.

Zeck, as a character, is hard to make up my mind about. He is fiercely
Al Astronomo
This novella is actually confusing. I couldn't see what purpose did it actually serve for the series. Open our eyes to the rules of the Battle School against religious observance to promote unity and uniformity? I really don't know.

Also, the one chapter that included Ender's family into the story was rather pointless. It also didn't have any effect on the whole story or on anything, to be honest.

But for the most part, it was fun to be in Dink's point of view during Ender's stay in Rat Army.

Dec 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
When I heard there was a Christmas-themed entry in the Ender Wiggins saga, I figured it would be like the Star Wars Holiday special, focusing on the bit players, with singing robots, some fresh aliens, and maybe a spot for Harvey Korman to appear for some comedy. Nope. Not even any music. My second guess would have been that, based on the title, a feeling of Oprah-ness had overcome the Battle School and everyone was gifting everyone else and thinking deeply personal thoughts (like “when I am a t ...more
Elisabeth Haljas
That was such a nice story, by the end of it anyway. I like the psychological issues presented there and how they unrolled. A pretty good addition to the whole saga.
Christopher Smith
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Angela Blount
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, sci-fi, novella
A truly ensnaring, cerebral read.

This novella is a great holiday supplement for fans of Ender, though one needn’t have read any other books involving him to grasp this particular story. (Although, having read at least Ender’s Game would maximize potential enjoyment.)

As it happens, Ender is more of a side character than featured protagonist in this tale. Instead readers are presented with Zeck Morgan—the broken genius son of an abusive, pseudo-Christian cult leader—whom the military has procured
Dec 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: orson-scott-card
I liked this - it is another tale of the battle school and the kids there, but for me personally it did not have the preaching found in a lot of the other Ender books. Which is surprising since the main topic covered is the religions of the kids and how they cannot observe them while at the battle school.

I think for kids the real "religion" of the holiday is the same as it is for retailers and economics types - it is gifts - though obviously for very different reasons.

I cannot speak for everyon
(publicado em

A War of Gifts é um pequeno volume pertencente à Série Ender. O primeiro volume desta série, Ender’s Game, venceu os prémios Hugo e Nebula, e apresenta uma realidade em que os seres humanos se encontram em guerra com uma espécie alienígena. Para parar esta guerra os rapazes são testados e recrutados na infância, para melhor poderem apreender técnicas de guerra.

A história presente em A War of Gifts retrata a personagem principal, Ender, duran
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Card barely touched religion in his Battle School books (Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow), and only dealt slightly more with clture. A War of Gifts, really just a short story, added some depth to those subjects. Zech is an interesting kind of "different" battle school kid, and I really liked getting to know Dink a little better. The portrayal of the pseudo-fundamentalist preacher (Zech's father) was a little heavy-handed, but even he had a few surprises, and honestly, there are those like him out t ...more
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When have holiday-themed sci fi books/movies ever worked out well for science fiction? In a weird, "A Star Wars Christmas Special" way, A War of Gifts presents an abused, Fundamentalist little boy who refuses to fight in Battle School (so why did he go in the first place?) and whose heart eventually grows three sizes that day after meeting Ender-Loo-Who. If anyone can heal little Zech's heart, it's child prodigy Ender Wiggin.

I've come down pretty hard on the Ender books in my reviews. It's becau
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After reading Ender's Game, I wanted to learn more about the world in which it was set. While Ender's Game was good, a lot of the story was missing (preceeding and following the story as well as the happenings on Earth). So when I learned that there were numerous books that provided just that, I was pretty excited.

Unfortunately, A War of Gifts was not exactly the story I desired. It was fine for a short story. Card touched on a few interesting topics, mainly religion, how the children dealt with
Kael Jauron
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, I liked this story. I have seen the movie Ender's Game a few times, and this book describes what happened before the big war. Zeck is the main character in this story. He gets taken away from his parents and goes to an outer space base. Zeck has a power to remember all the scriptures in the Bible by memory. I liked how they told the story from a different perspective. Since I had watched the movie, I already knew what Ender was going through, but now that I read it from a different kid' ...more
May 15, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
This was a very quick read (which is fine), although I would have been peeved if I had not checked it out from my library and paid brick-n-mortar prices for it.

The story fit nicely with the Battle School era, although I wasn't sure Mr. Card portrayed the characters in quite the same manner. Col. Graff was the only adult referenced and his role would have better suited someone lower on the command structure - like Anderson, perhaps?

I won't give anything away, except to say that Ender's solution s
Aug 19, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I love Ender, and I LOVE Battle School.

This takes us back to Ender's Battle School days and introduces us to Zeck, a brilliant fundamentalist Christian. He practices a self-righteous non-violence and is a pain to both the adults and the other kids at Battle School. And then, um, SPOILER: Ender comes in and magically saves the day.

Some issues I had with the novella:
1. Ender doesn't talk like Ender.
2. We don't get to see much about the workings of Battle School, and the novella is too short to re
Nov 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-reads
I am a complete Ender fanatic.

With that being said, this book is more of a short story or novella than a novel. Don't expect it to take you long to get through. Plus, it doesn't offer a solid view of Ender. It takes place during Ender's time at Battle School.

For a feel good Christmas story for the Ender fan, I say read this. If you're a somewhat Ender fan, I still say read it. Its so short that you're not wasting days on it. If you are completely unfamiliar with the Ender series, it helps to hav
Alex Yard
This novella did not feel necessary. After a couple of chapters I thought, do we really need to revisit the events of battle school yet again? Feels like it's been three times before this (I'm reading all Enderbooks in order of publication).

In the climax of the book there was some of the intellectual one upping, smart characters figuring each other out, staying one step ahead of each other, vying for intellectual dominance, of the sort that made the good Ender's Game books good. But it only come
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Around the Year i...: A War of Gifts, by Orson Scott Card 1 22 Dec 17, 2015 03:20PM  
  • Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show: An Anthology (v. 1)
  • The Infinite Sea (Chaos Chronicles, #3)
  • Ender's Game: War of Gifts
  • When Duty Calls (Legion, #8)
  • Robota
  • Mercury (The Grand Tour, #16)
  • Deceiver (Foreigner, #11)
  • The Devil's Eye (Alex Benedict, #4)
  • Paul of Dune (Heroes of Dune #1)
  • The Candle of Distant Earth
  • Ender's Shadow: Command School
  • Destroyer of Worlds (Fleet of Worlds #3)
  • Blade Dancer
  • Ender's Game, Volume 2: Command School
Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools.
Besides these and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy (Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys), biblical novels (Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah), the American frontier fantasy series Th
More about Orson Scott Card...

Other Books in the Series

The Ender Quintet (4 books)
  • Ender's Game (Ender's Saga, #1)
  • Speaker for the Dead (Ender's Saga, #2)
  • Xenocide (Ender's Saga, #3)
  • Children of the Mind (Ender's Saga, #4)

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“Graff smiled a little Mona Lisa smile, if Mona Lisa had been a pudgy colonel.” 1 likes
“Who else but a pacifist would attack somebody as little as Wiggin?” 0 likes
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