Bookworm Burrow

Book reviews on over 125 different books from several different genres. Use the search or categories to see more.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card July 22, 2007

Filed under: Book Reviews,Books,Fiction,Juvenile,sci-fi — Julie @ 6:26 pm

enders-game.jpgEnder’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: First published 1977 this edition published by Starscape in 2002

Recommended Age Group: Ages 10 and up

Summary: Ender’s Game is about a boy named Andrew Wiggin who calls himself Ender. The story starts out when he is six and in a special program for really smart kids who, if they advance, will go to school to become an astronaut. These astronauts fight the “buggers” who tried to destroy humans and colonize earth quite some time before. He has two older siblings, something that only happens when it is approved by the government because of population regulations. Ender’s two older siblings Peter and Valentine, were in the program too but got kicked out for various reasons. Apparently they are monitored from a very young age and it is a disgrace to get the monitor removed because this means that you are kicked out of the program. They remove Ender’s and he gets into a fight at school because of it and ends up killing the ringleader, but he doesn’t know it at the time. Ender gets accepted to the school and does very well despite the teachers trying to make it hard for him all along the way. In their minds they think they are helping him to grow by isolating him and making it hard for him to get friends. Near the end of Battle School Ender gets into a fight with some pretty bad kids and ends up killing this guy too, although he doesn’t know it then either. He is chosen to advance many different times in school making the other kids jealous and dislike him. Eventually he becomes the commander of a battle group and he wins every match that they ever play which happens once or twice a day. In the end he is chosen for Command school and is sent to train there. Although before he goes he is aloud to return to earth and learn to appreciate what he would be saving if he would fight for it. He plays in what he thinks are games and wins every time destroying the enemy at seemingly impossible battles. In the end he destroys their world and they all die. Then he finds out what he has done with the battles, that they were real, and what he did to those two boys he got into fights with. He wants to change and have a peaceful life. Meanwhile his siblings are doing a lot of work at home. Peter is trying to take over the world thought the net and a person he created called Locke. His sister Valentine is forced to help him and becomes Demosthenes who changes the way people think about the world. There is a civil war and Peter, as Locke forms a treaty and slowly gains power. In the end Ender and Valentine go to colonize one of the old bugger worlds and he becomes governor. Then they fly around from planet to planet inspecting other colonies and meeting the people there who worship Ender because he saved all their lives.

Personal Notes: I liked this book. It was kind of hard to get into at first and I don’t think I would recommend it to anyone who didn’t already like and read science fiction. But it was good for those who had some sort of background. I liked the way Ender kept trying even when it was hard, it is a good message for young people. However, I did not like the way Card seemed to make every bad thing he did good because it was for a greater cause. I think this may have a bad influence on some of the kids who read it. Overall though I thought it was a great book and that it had a great message. A fun and exciting read.


7 Responses to “Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card”

  1. Santa Says:

    “I liked the way Ender kept trying even when it was hard, it is a good message for young people.”

    Really? As I recall, technically, he gave up, or he quit the game, on both 2 parts of the story. And I think you got the whole message wrong as well, maybe its due for another reading?

    “I did not like the way Card seemed to make every bad thing he did good because it was for a greater cause”

    As someone who critiques, please give reasons why you believe.

  2. Julie Says:

    It has been a while since I’ve read this one and since I’ve read of fifty books since I agree maybe it’s worth another read. However, from what I remember he did keep trying, a lot. Yes he did give up twice but look at every other time he kept trying. They made the battles harder and harder for him. They put everyone against him. They made him fight more than any other team with major disadvantages on his side and yet he still won. When he did quit it was long overdue with a lot of harassment from the adults. There’s only so much a person can take. If you look at how long he tried and tried I think it is a clear message not to give up when things get hard.

    I have learned a thing or two about reviews since I started this blog. I agree, reasons are important and I have tried to implement that in my more recent blogs this being one of my oldest it is obviously lacking in the why category. That being said here’s the why…

    “I did not like the way Card seemed to make every bad thing he did good because it was for a greater cause”

    Ender killed two people and he killed an entire alien race. Card just passes over that like it’s not a big deal. Some of the adults mention it and it is kept a secret from Ender. He’s not punished. He gets into two fights, two kids die, and they do nothing to Ender. The adults recognized his talent in battles and overlooked the other problems because of his talent in battle. It probably happens all the time in the real world. People get deals when they can help out but I still don’t think it’s the best message to send.

  3. Christine Says:

    Sorry, I’m just passing though, but I do have to disagree on the point you made about how no one punishes Ender for killing an alien race and two children. They are at war, and I recall quite a few lawyers go after him about that after the war is over. But, more importantly, it leaves room for Ender to punish himself. Which, I feel, is much more important to the story. Though, I think that Ender’s guilt is explained in greater detail in the next book, so you may have over looked it…

  4. Julie Says:

    The lawyers do not go after him. They charge Colonel Graff instead. Referring to this in the last chapter it says, “The prosecution was too clever to charge him directly, but there were attempts to make him look sick, perverted, criminally insane.” Ender watched the trial from up in space but was never directly involved. While I do agree he did suffer guilt but that’s because he was a good kid and you are right it does go into more detail in the other books and that was not overlooked but since this is a review of just Ender’s Game and not the series then it wouldn’t work if I were to talk about what happened in the other ones. I still think that while it is good that he felt guilt the lack of legal action still sets a bad example. Should we let all criminals off just because they feel bad? I do not think this is a good lesson to teach the kids who read this book. No matter how guilty Ender may have felt or how much he punished himself he was still not directly punished by the law.

    • Dan Says:

      Ridiculously late to the discussion, but I love Ender’s Game, so I needed to chip in my two cents. Ender’s Game is not, nor will it ever be, a “kid’s book”. It is a book for young adults, who may or may not be 8 years old. I was six when I first read it, and years later it still holds just as much, if not more, emotional impact. Ender wasn’t punished by society then, yes, but we also don’t charge soldiers with murder in the context of war. That’s a bit of a no-brainer. The two children he killed were his tormentors, which doesn’t excuse anything; but without seeing his ability to fight for himself, he would not have been chosen for Battle School. If I have to put it another way, most kids who get into the school did so because they showed a willingness to injure or kill someone else. That is the entire purpose of making these children soldiers. They must do terrible things for the greater good. It teaches kids (and adults) that moral decisions are never black and white. What makes it a decision is the grey areas, and those we must navigate alone. That’s why Ender feels so much personal pain, rather than government sanctioned discomfort.

    • anon Says:

      I’ve seen this argument before and I don’t understand it at all. I will use Bonzo as an example. Bonzo corners Ender, naked and alone in a bathroom along with a gang of older, stronger friends – friends deliberately chosen for these attributes. We’ll also Ignore that this is the second occasion that he has attempted this, that Ender can hardly have been said to go out of his way to provoke him (apparently it’s barely possible to sneeze in Bonzo’s presence without him losing it) AND the fact that all the adults were aware that this was going on, but allowed it to happen anyway. Ender was jumped by larger, older boys and he defended himself using his self defense training. How can he possibly be held responsible for murder? What other ways of dealing with the situation were open to him? Can’t tell an adult, they already know and don’t care to stop it. Can’t run, he’s surrounded. Can’t take the beating, he’ll likely be murdered. Can’t do _anything_ to avoid the situation other than fight back. You would try the little boy for murder?

      The homeworld – Ender was told he was doign an examination. For school. Very important, prestigious school. If, back when I was of school age, I’d have completed an English essay only to have my teacher say “by the way, every letter you wrote, killed someone directly” – that would make me *responsible* for those deaths?

      Yes, Ender is allowed to kill and remain morally pure, which is what seems to be the criticism – it’s remarkably contrived – this is because it is fiction. The story has been designed so that he can be morally pure, and commit those acts. That is what makes the story interesting.

      They got the right man. Graff is psychopath.

  5. Maddie Says:

    i agree with that guy!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s