Review: Ender’s Game By Orson Scott Card

The cover of Ender’s Game (credit to flickr user Wolf Gang

Kevin Han

Ender’s Game, written by Orson Scott Card, is a science fiction novel which was published on January 15, 1985. It won the Nebula Award for best novel in 1985, and the Hugo Award for best novel in 1986, which are considered the two most prestigious awards in Science Fiction. According to an article written by The Wertzone in 2015, “Ender’s Game by itself has sold seven million copies. Card’s other books, including the highly successful sequels and ‘interquels’ to Ender’s Game have also sold extremely well”. It is also rated 4.3/5 on Goodreads, and 4.5/5 on Google.

Set in a futuristic era, this novel is about Andrew “Ender” Wiggin’s journey from a young boy at the age of 6, to a commander who has to defend Earth from an incoming alien force. The Formics, an insectoid alien species, has already invaded Earth twice, causing millions of casualties and the IF – the International Fleet – is in charge of recruiting geniuses to defend Earth. After Ender is accepted into joining Battle School–a spaceship where all recruits are trained to fight–he faces many challenges, physically and mentally. This book delves deep into Ender’s thoughts and feelings, which has a contrasting atmosphere to the many action scenes, while also revealing his genius and talent at commanding others.

However, that isn’t the only thing that the book covers. It also mentions the political aspect of the rest of the world, while Ender trains in Battle School. For example, Ender has two siblings–Peter and Valentine –who are also geniuses on the same level as Ender. Peter, a bloodthirsty and ruthless teen, and Valentine, a kind and caring child, manipulate the public by posting articles as two separate entities by the name of “Locke” and “Demosthenes”. The story of these three siblings–one in space, and the others on Earth–changing the world truly creates a masterpiece called Ender’s Game.

There are many things that I enjoyed about the book. The personalities of the various characters that the book introduced really stood out to me. The characters felt “real,” and even though most of the main characters that were important to the plot were children, the way they acted felt mature. I think this is partially due to the detailed origins of the characters, and their location: Battle School, where all characters are expected to act as soldiers. When I asked a fellow freshmen at CVHS what he thought about Ender’s Game, he replied, “I really enjoyed Ender’s Game because of the development of the Wiggin family as a whole instead of just focusing on the main character, Ender Wiggin. Another reason why I liked this book is because of its compelling plot, action scenes, and it being a Sci-Fi book was an added bonus, because I enjoy reading Sci-fi.”

Another part of the novel that made me engaged in it was the descriptions and the details. The description of the Battle School and the different and diverse word choices really enhanced the visual aesthetic of the book, even though there were no pictures other than the cover. The different settings had a futuristic atmosphere and an aura of mystery that enhances the descriptions. There is a scene in the novel where Ender plays the Mind Game, and the details in that game really laid out how the scene was and what Ender did. Along with Card’s unique style of writing, the details connect together to bring out beautifully crafted settings.

Although the book does not explicitly tell what year the story takes place in, it does show that it is placed far into the future by describing a variety of technology that isn’t present in the current world. In the novel, the students use things called “desks” that are similar to real-life tablets, both in shape and how they work. They are used by most of the population, and in Battle School, it is used to run numerous academic programs such as the Mind Game, which Ender spends a majority of his free time on. While Ender prepares for the upcoming Third Invasion, he uses a weapon of mass destruction called the Molecular Detachment Device (M.D.D., Little Doctor, M.D. Device). This weapon, which is similar to a nuclear weapon, is something that caught my eye when I was reading because of how it worked and it is a new concept that I personally haven’t seen before. It works by creating a space where electrons can’t be shared which would keep exploding when it makes contact with more and more molecules.

Even though this isn’t my first time reading Ender’s Game–and it certainly won’t be my last –think that really made this book even better. Reading this book again after a few years made some parts of the novel that I hadn’t realized were there pop out. I would rate this book a 9.5/10, and recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading Science Fiction.