The first time I read Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card, I was in sixth or seventh grade and I hated it. In fact, I hated it so much I couldn’t even finish it. It has been many years since middle school, and with a film adaptation set to be released in November, I felt that the time was ripe to give the book another shot.
Ender’s Game is part epic war story and part school story. Andrew Wiggin, who goes by the name Ender, is chosen to go to an elite school to train to fight the inevitable second coming of the alien invaders called “buggers.” The students at the school are divided into armies and spend most of their time playing mock battles against each other. Ender quickly rises through the ranks and becomes the best student at the school, despite his young age. Ender never loses. Could he be the one who can destroy the buggers once and for all?
The most interesting thing about this story is that the whole world is relying on a group of specially trained children to save them. Card seems to be interested in the idea that wisdom comes from the mouths of children, so to speak, and that children are not to be underestimated. On the flip side, he asks questions about whether it’s right to deprive a child of his childhood and to ask him to hurt, kill, and essentially lose his innocence for the greater good. For being a book that is commonly read by a young adult audience, Ender’s Game poses a lot of ethical questions and deals with heavy topics.
Although Ender’s Game still isn’t my all-time favorite book, it was definitely worth finishing after all this time. It’s a classic of the genre, and I encourage everyone to give it a shot!
Card, Orson Scott. Ender’s Game. New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 1977.
Cover art by Sam Weber. Image from Amazon.com.