Friday, December 5, 2014

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card [1985]

Earth was the constant noise of crickets and winds and birds. And the voice of one girl, who spoke to him out of his far-off childhood.

Wow! I read a Sci-Fi novel, and I actually loved it! Not just liked, but loved. This book isn't perfect. There are a few things that I don't like about it, but it is certainly a worthwhile read. Let me just throw it out here that this book does have language and a little crass talk. Just because I really liked the book does not mean that I approve of all that.
This review will have spoilers, but it's been out for ages, so I'm not pulling out the angry red font.
So. I really liked the writing in the book. The author is really good at really making you feel the way the character does. A lot of people say that Ender is a boring, static character, but I really liked his character arc. All through the book, Ender is afraid that he is like his psychopathic brother, Peter.
It's true, when Ender is confronted by an enemy (like bullies, or the weird giant thing in those computer games) he doesn't pull punches, he practically eliminates the threats so they can't hurt him anymore.
Then at the end of the book, his worst fears are practically confirmed when he is tricked into destroying the bugger's homeworld. But then, he finds that last egg or something from the last queen bugger, and sets out on a mission to find a place where the egg an hatch and thrive. The book ends with the line "He searched for a long time."
 I'm doing a poor job explaining this, but I'm trying to lead up to my point. I have a friend at college (one of the two people who recommended the book to me!) who thinks that the ending was setting up the sequels, but I actually think that it was a really good ending for the story.
There are a lot of books that just kind end, with absolutely nothing resolved. These kinds of books are very unsatisfying to read, and kind of wreck the book even if you feel like the rest of it was well plotted and such.
Then there are book that end with some of the plotlines still dangling, but emotionally, philosophically, and thematically, the story is over. Are you guys picking up what I'm putting down? I'm thinking about books like The Brothers Karamazov or The Road. Books where yes, there are still things that are unknown, and maybe you don't know if everything will be okay, but the characters have found- I hate to say this because it sounds really stupid- inner peace. You know, emotionally, the story is resolved and you maybe don't need to know what happens next.
Maybe I'm just silly or something, Je ne sais pas.
Anyhoo, something I really liked about this book was that the hero's most important female relationship is with his sister, Valentine (who is also a really interesting character!). Not with some half-baked love interest, but with his sister. Their dynamic is very well-written.

The Verdict: A
I didn't expect this book to make me cry, but I almost did at the ending. This book is well written and well plotted, and it kept my attention very well all throughout. This book is quite deep, and pondered some interesting questions, and I can't wait to read it again sometime next year. ;) I don't know if I'll be reading the other books because the ending of this one just seemed so 'right' to me.

Age Appropriateness: 14+
There's some cussing and crass talk, and a few borderline-disturbing scenes.

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