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. Enter Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, the result of decades of genetic experimentation.
Is Ender the general Earth so desperately needs? The only way to find out is to throw him into ever-harsher training at Battle School, to chip away and find the diamond inside, or destroy him utterly. Ender Wiggin is six years old when his training begins. He will grow up fast.
But Ender is not the only result of the experiment. His two older siblings, Peter and Valentine, are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Among the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.
Ah this book, so many things to say so many ways to put it. I guess first of all I am going to have to make one point very clear. This book would be a 5-star rating to me. It is a 3 ½ because of a reason that kills me, but I can’t ignore it. Everything else about this book was just absolutely beautiful beyond belief with the concepts and ideas all put together in a fascinating world with a complex main character. Except that in the beginning of the book, the author uses three lines. Three sentences that destroyed my view of the author himself. On this post I will not reveal what that line was, only my extreme disappointment. Luckily for me at the time I was able to pass it off, and move on, I read this book in less than two days after all. It simply obliterated the sincerity of the book and the magic behind it even more when I look back. It’s probably that bitter taste the author left in my mouth that will be the reason I don’t continue reading about Ender’s story in the following books. Sad, but true. My reaction every time I think about this “Why?! Just why did you have to do this?!”
Still, I am going to move away from the negatives now because no matter my outrage I cannot let it depreciate the piece of work Card put together when writing this piece.
This book is an intelligent one, it’s not plain or simple-minded. That means if you’re going to read it be prepared to think, to analyze. The thing I loved and had me not letting go of the book was that fact. It was engaging in a new way. The children in this books are unlike anything I had thought they would be. Admittedly Ender beginning out as six years old may be a shock and a bad point for this book. In my mind, it made it all the better. Mostly, no doubt, because this was taking place in the future and it seemed so truly relevant. These kids have the world at their fingertips with humanity at stake and the world’s technology and information at them all the time. That’s not saying all the young kids in this book are geniuses beyond imagination. There are others that lead more simple lives. But these kids? No they are fascinating. Because they are brilliant and with minds so capable and mature, except that they’re still children. They still obey the adults and are naïve and young and innocent. Not all of it was pretty, but it was honest. The adults in this book showed a nasty truth about humanity. We will fight for survival at any means necessary. Including the sanity of a few dozen children no older than twelve.
Then, there’s the mentality and character of Ender himself. The way his character works and functions and simply thinks. Loved him and hated him. But most of all couldn’t disagree with the hard decisions he made that people twice his age would break down from. A strength in character beyond any that was believable. It made sense. This wasn’t some insane fantasy world, it was a beautiful step into sci-fi, a world that ours could very possibly become. It even follows the science of evolution so keenly, those little details that caught my eye, just perfect.
Not to mention, as someone who loves psychology and the way the mind works, Ender was a great character to see the world from. Even more when Card slips into his brother and sister’s points of view to get an idea of what goes on back on earth.
The very fact I can’t and will not let go of though, is the bittersweet ending. Because it is brutal and cruel and impactful and exactly what I want and love in a book. It forced me to think. For that, this book will remain unforgettable despite my better judgement and thoughts on the author and his…disagreeable ideas. I can’t disagree with some much more negative reviews about this book, Card allowed personal standpoints it seems to leak into the book in a negative way that I couldn’t let go. Not everybody will love or even like this book. The idea of the kids isn’t something all can choke down. Still, I recommend pushing past it and reading to what’s behind it, because there is so much more depth than a few distasteful comments. If sci-fi is your thing, which I actually haven’t read very much sci-fi, I’m sure it’s a good look. This book is an intelligent read, something to think about, for that I recommend it to people looking for it, that can read past other things.
Side note: I will add; I have watched the movie. In fact, I watched it and then learned there was a book. Then the other day I found it on sale and decided I needed to take a closer look at the movie I enjoyed so much. I can still say I enjoy both thoroughly, if for slightly different reasons. No doubt it rounds back to those little details always lost to the movie.
Until next time,