A review of Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.
Andrew Wiggin prefers to be called Ender. He’s a six-year-old genius destined to save the world. He’s also a Third, that is the third child in a world in which it’s against the law to have more than two. The government made an exception with Ender, because he’s going to become the General who will win Earth’s war with an alien race called the Buggers. Why Ender is the one quickly becomes obvious. Yes, he’s only a little boy, but Ender thinks and acts like a great leader. And that’s why he leaves his family for battle school, to become a great military leader. But the challenges he faces in military school are more than even Ender expected, and yet he faces them with both dignity and cunning.
I easily understood why this novel won a Hugo and Nebula Award. Ender’s Game is a masterfully told tale. It’s a strongly plotted story with excellent character development. And really it is more about Ender than about the game, because the game changes Ender. As he progresses, he must wrestle with his own feelings about what he’s done and who he’s become. May God help him if he actually wins the war and kills all the Buggers. What will he do about his conflicted emotions then?
The first few chapters I had some trouble with. I especially had trouble understanding that the Earth is under forced population control. This premise never made sense to me in the context of the story and characters. The story did not need it, either. The idea of global population control was superfluous and confusing, but it only popped up a couple times after the first few chapters. And starting with the fourth chapter, Ender really grew on me. I rooted for him, and I admired him. As he faced each new challenge, I literally could not put the book down. And when I read the last page, I felt like I had really been in that other world and had really known those characters. I believe the word I used was “Wow!”