"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us." —J. R. R. Tolkien

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

ENDER'S GAME by Orson Scott Card

I'm pretty sure this book doesn't need another review. I read it back in the 90s and then again just recently as our book choice for the 5th Grade Boys' Book Club I run.

ENDER'S GAME by Orson Scott Card (Tor, July 15, 1994)

(the cover of my edition)

I'll sum up the review by saying...
  1. I'm a huge Orson Scott Card fan
  2. If you haven't read this book, no matter what genres you think you like to read, do yourself a favor and pick it up. It's a classic, and kind of one of those books that should be required reading.

So what can I talk about when it comes to ENDER'S GAME?

Well, I loved it as much the second time reading it as the first. That said, the second time I read it, I wore my "Mom" hat, and as with all things when it comes to being a parent, the book had an entirely different look.

First, there are bad words in the book. I kind of cringed when I first remembered this, seeing as I was the one who picked the book for book club. So I brought this up when we discussed the book. (And I sent an email to the parents to let them know so they could make the choice if they wanted their son to read it.)

It's funny how much the boys noticed these bad words. I asked them if any of them learned a new cuss word, and of course the answer was no. These are 5th grade boys. There have been many an incident in the boys' bathroom at school already involving cuss words. There have been many other incidents in the boys' bathroom, too. But still...the kids were kind of a bit shocked.

Second, there is the killing off of an entire race. Not a single boy in the club had a problem with this. After all, the book is about war, and war seems to fascinate many a 5th grade boy. These boys play Halo on occasion. The war was no problem.

Would I recommend ENDER'S GAME again for 5th grade boys? Totally. But this is one of the main reasons I run the book club. I want the boys to have a chance to read books they otherwise might not pick up, but I also want to read along so I can talk about any issues that may come up. So if you've got a 5th grade or above kid at home, consider reading this one along with them.

Source of book: Already owned in my collection

From Amazon:

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut--young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers, Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If the world survives, that is.

Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards.


lisanowak said...

I loved this book. One of my characters is reading it in my book Getting Sideways, and I got so many smiley faces from beta readers when they saw that. It's popular for sure. Frankly, I don't remember the cuss words.

Natalie Aguirre said...

My daughter's read this, but I haven't. I need to this year.

Happy New Year!

Kristin Rae said...

I don't know much about any of his books, but I know he's got like a million of them. AND he'll be the keynote speaker at the Houston Teen Book Con this year, so I'm excited about that.
Thanks for the nudge to pick this book up. :)

PJ Hoover said...

Oh, fun, Lisa! I bet that was a treat for the beta readers. And I never noticed the cuss words until this time :)

Yes, Natalie! You should! It's a must. Happy New year!

That will be awesome, Kristin. You should read this before he speaks there!

Angela Brown said...

I read Enders Game to get an Orson Scott Card read under my belt. I was not disappointed. I was both bothered, excited, engaged in the story and riveted by the writing.

It's definitely one that should be read by many.

Book Sake said...

I haven't read this book yet. I have read Pathfinder by Card and LOVED it. I definitely look forward to reading more of his work. Oh - and he and his daughter have a manga style book called Laddertop that I was pleased with as well.
- Jessica @ Book Sake

PJ Hoover said...

Yes, Angela! So well said. And I'm so happy read it again 10+ years later. It's nice to see how my memory was retained.

Jessica, totally check out Ender's Game. It is classic. And thanks for the Laddertop rec. I will definitely look for it!

Miriam Forster said...

I love Ender's Game. And I find it interesting that you read it differently after you were a parent. I can see how that would change your perspective. :)

PJ Hoover said...

LOL, Miriam! Everything looks different with parent eyes. It's crazy.

Jinky said...

Awesome book! One of my fav books read last year. :)

PJ Hoover said...

I loved it, Jinky! It's one of those books I think people will be reading fifty years from now.