Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
Fiction, Young Adult, Science Fiction
My YA kick continues! Ender's Game is the first book in the Ender Quintet and tells the story of Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, a child with a brilliant mind for military strategy who is called upon (and used/manipulated) to save the Earth from an alien attack.
That premise may sound ridiculous but it was actually pretty interesting and the book was easy to get into. The parts that focus on Ender and his training were very good. Some interesting themes were brought up, like the nature of free will:
Human beings are free except when humanity needs them. Maybe humanity needs you. To do something. Maybe humanity needs me -- to find out what you're good for. We might both do despicable things, Ender, but if humankind survives, then we were good tools.
The portions that focused on Ender's siblings and the political situation on Earth were my least favourite parts. It was never entirely clear what exactly was going on and neither sibling was particularly likeable.
Throughout the book, I had a very hard time reconciling many of the conversations and situations with the fact that the characters were supposed to be children. When we meet Ender, he's only six and by the final battle, he's eleven. His siblings and the other students in the Battle School are not much older. I get that these kids are supposed to be geniuses but it was still strange.
Last but not least, the way Ender's siblings were characterized was annoying. His older brother, Peter, is basically a psychopath and his sister has a heart of gold. There are a couple of examples of these things but mostly, Card just tells us this over and over again assuming that repeating it is enough to convince us. There was a lot of repetition. Maybe this bothered me more because I'm not the target demographic but, but I always prefer authors who show rather than tell.
Overall, I enjoyed this book and I'm glad I read since it's supposed to be a YA classic. But I'm not sure that I liked it enough to keep going with the series. I was satisfied enough with how it ended and am not really curious to follow it any further.