BLOG: "Sabre's Take On Ender's Game" by Sabre
The book is considered a classic sci-fi piece. I hadn't read it until recently, but I'm always a little surprised when someone hasn't heard of it.
Anyway, I don't like the book. I've read it, but I won't read it again. It's terribly written. This was my review on goodreads:
I think if I’d read this book in the midst of my angst driven, rebellion-seeking, alone-feeling teenage years, it would’ve had more impact. I would’ve identified with Ender more and I wouldn’t have read so many books as I have now. I found myself thinking of other young adult books I have read that seemed very similar to Ender’s Game and were much better.
The first fact introduced is that Ender Wiggins is the third child. This is IMPORTANT because he is the balance between the first stereotypically aggressive masculine destroyer child, Peter and the stereotypically mild but manipulative female, Valentine. He is also the final child, because his parents received special dispensation to have him. Did you get that? It’s IMPORTANT because he is the BALANCE and the END. Even his name has END in it in case you missed it.
Card hammers the IMPORTANT BALANCE and the END that Ender provides, over and over and over and over; as the human military commander for his troops balancing friendship and command, as the military commander balancing human and enemy strategy, the commander who ends the war and even as the balance between the past and future of the enemy and humans. I’m sure there’s even more ways Card found to pound “Ender is the balance and the end” throughout; I just stopped caring.
The plot is simplistic: Ender is taken into a program to train astoundingly intelligent children to be the next military commander. What follows is your basic “break them, build them, repeat ad infinitum” military story, with the added joy of it being perpetuated on six to twelve year olds. In the meantime, Peter and Valentine hatch a plan to overthrow the existing political structure back at home. That little nugget of plot summary actually sounds interesting, but Card chooses to only allude to the most interesting plots like Peter and Valentine’s diabolical political scheming or international political rivalries tearing the Earth apart even in the face of all-consuming universal war. Instead, he focuses on long, drawn-out military games that are only there to show us all how smart Ender and IMPORTANT Ender is, because only he can see and do what needs to be seen and done and find the BALANCE needed to bring the END.
The plot twist, even for 1985 (especially considering WarGames had come out in 1983), is completely foreseeable. I don’t believe it was suppose to be. The writing in this book is simplistic, even for a children’s book. It’s choppy and fairly non-descriptive. Themes are pounded into the writing over and over again. The characters are never fully fleshed out, instead serving only as mouthpieces for the political/philosophical agenda that the author is putting onto them for the plot to work.
Then the last fifteen pages show up. It’s like Card got tired of writing and let another writer have a go. And it’s suddenly interesting. You get insights into the minds of the main characters that are introspective, character developing and enlightening. Political issues are suddenly explained and give insight into what had been going on behind those long, drawn out and boring war games. These pages are the only thing that makes the entire novel great. If the book had just ended with the end of the war, it’s a book that would’ve been thrown to the side very early in its career. These pages are the pages that make you long to read the sequel or re-read the book. The last fifteen pages are brilliant and utterly frustrating; who wants to hammer away at 150+ pages of utter rubbish to get to fifteen pages of greatness?
With all that criticism above, I do have to step back and remind myself that at a certain age I would have absolutely adored this book and probably read it over and over. I think this first in that category of books that doesn’t age well. The joy to be found in it now is to give it to someone who reminds you of your teenage self/Ender.
I absolutely adore "Ender's Game". I have read it no less than ten times and I have a tattoo dedicated to the book on my left ribcage.
With all books come underlying themes (well, maybe not ALL books. I have read some mindless drivel in my time...). And, I think, in order to understand those themes thoroughly in Ender's Game, you should take on the next few books. Now, I'm not talking about Ender's Shadow (although it is spectacular reading from Bean's perspective, which gives you eye-opening information that you can only get from third-person narrative). I'm talking about reading Speaker For the Dead and Xenocide. They are magnificent.
Anyway, I think that people with different life experiences will take away different things from the story. You should definitely re-read it every year or so when life events have changed you. There is so much to be said for what a story can do to someone emotionally.
Short story: I. Frakking. Love. Ender's Game.
I have always wanted to read this, but I've always had other books that have gotten in the way. I love sci-fi, so it's right up my alley. I don't know if I should read it before or after the movie comes out. Decisions, decisions.