I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card! I’ve heard of this being a classic sci-fi novel, and I wanted to give a shot at reading it. Here’s a summary so we know what it’s about:
“Andrew “Ender” Wiggin thinks he is playing computer simulated war games; he is, in fact, engaged in something far more desperate. The result of genetic experimentation, Ender may be the military genius Earth desperately needs in a war against an alien enemy seeking to destroy all human life. The only way to find out is to throw Ender into ever harsher training, to chip away and find the diamond inside, or destroy him utterly. Ender Wiggin is six years old when it begins. He will grow up fast.
But Ender is not the only result of the experiment. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings, Peter and Valentine, are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. While Peter was too uncontrollably violent, Valentine very nearly lacks the capability for violence altogether. Neither was found suitable for the military’s purpose. But they are driven by their jealousy of Ender, and by their inbred drive for power. Peter seeks to control the political process, to become a ruler. Valentine’s abilities turn more toward the subtle control of the beliefs of commoner and elite alike, through powerfully convincing essays. Hiding their youth and identities behind the anonymity of the computer networks, these two begin working together to shape the destiny of Earth-an Earth that has no future at all if their brother Ender fails.”
Worldbuilding Development: 4 out of 5 stars
It took me a while to understand the full scope of the worldbuilding in this book, partially due to not a lot of information about the world really being given enough for me to understand until at least a quarter of the way through the book. However, I do think it was pretty consistent, made sense once I did get said explanations, and I found it intriguing to read the academic (and often deadly) environments that Ender found himself in, and how he managed to navigate all of those. I kind-of hoped for more information on the buggers and how they got into a war with the humans in the first place, but other than that, the general worldbuilding was understandable.
Plot Development: 4 out of 5 stars
Overall, I think the plot made sense and was enjoyable to read. I addionally enjoyed reading the sideplots of Peter and Valentine trying to virtually take over the world, in the midst of Ender enduring and going through his training. I also enjoyed the plot twist at the near-end of the book, as well the ending that came after it. I also think the ambiguity of the ending makes me, as a reader, wonder if Ender ever found a place for that hive-queen at the end. It’s never explicitly said if he did or not, for the rest of his life. Given this ambiguity, it’s interesting to consider whether he’s as deadly and as sacrificial of comrades and other beings for the sake of the rest of the world as everyone else thinks or not.
I do admit, however, that the changing perspectives from first-to-third-person did throw me off on occasion, but it wasn’t bad enough that I couldn’t read the whole book or was completely confused as of whose perspective I was reading at the time. I also wish there was some more development in the sideplot involving Peter and Valentine, given how their paths occasionally intertwine with Ender’s own throughout the book (especially Valentine).
Character Development: 4 out of 5 stars
It’s interesting to read Ender, Valentine and Peter individually, as well as how they interact with each other. Each of them have their own unique quirks that differentiate them from each other, and each of them are also terrifying smart. However, I do think there could have been more development in each of them to round them out a bit more. Ender was mostly fine when it came to my hopes for more development, but out of the three, I felt that Peter had the least amount of development. It probably also doesn’t help that he doesn’t have a section of the book where the reader gets to see things from his point of view, even if only briefly, unlike Ender and Valentine who both got their perspectives on their evolving situations shown in the book (Ender moreso than Valentine, given that Ender is the primary character between the two (why else would the book be called Ender’s Game?)).
As for the supporting characters such as Petra, Bean, etc., I thought that they were nicely developed and I definitely enjoyed reading Ender’s developing friendships with them in the midst of their chaotic surroundings, especially the friendships with Bean and Petra in particular. I loved that despite the harsh surroundings, Ender and his friends still had a lot of compassion for each other. Ender’s compassion for his friends inspired the loyalty within them to work with him and fight along with him until the end.
Overall, I’m rating this book 4 out of 5 stars!
If you’re interested in reading a book involving an all-out galactic war, and the brutal training leading up to it, this might be the book for you!
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