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Is Ender's Game a bad book? No. Is it a great book? No. It's decent. It may have been great when it came out and there's a debate to be had over it's place in sci-fi history, but in the modern day it hasn't aged particularly well. "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny and Technology Marches On are both heavily in effect (the book's depiction of of blogging enabling a kid to effectively take over the world is nothing short of laughable) and Ender as a protagonist starts off as a mixed bag and slowly losses my interest.
He's tolerable at the start, but I remember the exact second the book lost me in presenting him as someone who was struggling. When he took command of the Dragon Army and started a winning streak against other armies led by more experienced commanders, fighting multiple armies at once, with his army suffering from sleep deprivation. I stopped taking the book seriously there. Ender became a cartoon character at that point, impossible to beat no matter how stupidly impossible the situation he was presented with.
This is without getting into the other problems the book has. The sub-plot with Ender's siblings feels tacked on and not needed (Ender's brother in particular made me wonder why the book felt like it needed a proto-Joffery), the morality being painfully one dimensional (and as subtle as a brick to the face), the fact that the plan to defeat the Buggers relies on so many things falling into just the right place at just the right time that it comes off as a Gambit Roulette, and it commits the most cardinal sin it can about Ender. It didn't really give me a reason to care about him, outside of vague ideas of him loving his sister. The only thing Ender really has going for himself as a character is getting constantly beaten down emotionally and on rare occasions physically, and it stops being engaging really fast.
The book has a lot of great ideas in it though, which means it's possible to get some enjoyment out of it, but it's not a masterpiece.
I read this book fully in 8th grade and thought it was pretty good. Some of the more infantile humor such as the way Rose de Nose is in the first time we see him I could have done without, but it's a very good story with a very engaging plot about how a lot of people would probably react if they were forced into a war that they didn't know they were fighting, that it was all a game. Hollywood Tactics also goes straight out the window, as Mazer repeatedly points out to Ender. It's a very realistic portrayal of what a kid would go through if forced into a war, to be the perfect soldier, and the book is really good for it.
Ender's Game is a fun, innovative scifi readóbut tries and arguably fails to address serious issues of morality in a way that can feel grating at times. The book is gripping and you root for the protagonist Ender, although the book continually provides moral excuses for the brutal and often over-the-top violence Ender commits over the course of the book. The reader is told that he has no other choice, that it is for the greater good, and one wonders whether the author is genuinely endorsing the eventual acts that Ender commits. The author advocates for an overly simplistic view of ends triumph over means, placing characters in Ender's way that feel generic and one-sided, allowing us to feel assured in their demise. The book does have an interesting exploration of group and individual psychology, and the idea of "wargames," but the treatment of the morality of violence raised in the book leaves the reader nonplussed. The author's own real-life (religiously inspired?) homophobia adds an odd element to the bookóthe derogatory name for the main enemies of the book are "buggers", a slang term for gay men. However, the book (and Card's books in general) feature a pervasive erotic interest in nude male bodies. Bonzo, a young man seen as "tall and dark and slender, with beautiful black eyes and slender lips that hinted at refinement. I would follow such beauty, said something inside Ender" (71), is later brutally murdered by Ender naked in the showers, kicked hard and sure in the crotch. (closet case?) Authority figures are aware of this murder, and of others like it, but do not intervene, as we are told that Ender, in order to save the world from the Bugger menace, must be a cold-hearted killer. Clearly, the reader is supposed to submit to Card's morality that either Ender is justified in his repeated murder (he is relieved of guilt by ignorance of the effects of his violence, or in the seedy realm of 'self-defense'), or simply pity him at the way he is manipulated by the adults around him. In essence, Ender becomes the innocent killer. He even kills off a whole race of aliens, who for the reader it remains unclear as to whether they were belligerent in the first place. In brief, a well-written scifi novel, but the thoughts provoked by it conflict with any reasonable persons morality, making it uncomfortable to experience.
Iím not saying that Enderís Game is a bad book, Iím saying that Ender's Game is a book for its time: 1987. Enderís Game is a very generic book, that feels very outdated when read now. Ender is a total Mary Sue, perfect in every way but loved by none. Any other characters are either just foil for Ender, like Peter and Bono, or only serve one purpose and have no personality. The plot is boring, and it takes several chapters to get anything done. With a setting of a military school in space, Enderís Game has to potential to have several subplots to support the main plot and give us a better understanding of the characters. However, there is only one subplot, and it has no impact on the main plot, and goes nowhere. As a result of the bland main character, boring plot and lack of any real originality, Enderís Game hardly left an impact on me.
Wow. Just wow.
This book is everything science fiction should be. The storyline is gripping, the characters are fully human; the philosophical issues it presents are deep and thought-provoking. It has definitely become a favorite, one I am likely to read again.
I was browsing around Science Fiction books online when I stumbled to this book. I told my mother from overseas that I want one and so she shipped one new copy to me. I started reading it, and what could I say? It. is. Brilliant.
The Plot, the Suspense, the Characters...everything. This is a book I really can't put down, and I have been running around for more. This, in an instant, has become one of my favorites.
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