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Science Fiction at its Best,
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This review is from: Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet) (Mass Market Paperback)
I first Read Ender's Game over fifteen years ago, and remembered very little of it except the very basic plot. I don't even remember if I finished it, but obviously it didn't have a lasting impression on me. After seeing the reviews on Amazon, and it appearing as #3 on NPR's Reader's Picks for the "Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy Books," I decided I must have missed something and should give it another try.
Ender's Game has all of the classical elements of storytelling, without falling into the "technology trap" that captures so many science fiction books. Instead of focusing on technology and spending half the book trying to "wow" the reader with descriptions of future weaponry, warp drives, and quantum mechanic spaceships, the success of Ender's Game lies in the character development and plot. Set in Earth's far future, most of the story takes place within our own solar system. New technology exists, but although there are obvious advancements, they are easy enough to grasp without having to suspend disbelief or take up too much complexity within the book. This leaves the focus on six-year old Ender Wiggin, an obviously brilliant child who is groomed to become the savior of humanity from an encroaching alien race. Card immediately sets him up to be a likeable character by making him the object of ridicule and bullying among his peers and sibling. This is a theme that is maintained throughout most of the book, and Ender's struggle to survive along with his response to it, ensures that the character is not alienated from the reader by his overwhelming intelligence. The idea that Ender is only six years old presents an entirely different aspect that sets the book apart from its contemporaries.
It's likely that I didn't have enough experience with the science fiction genre when I initially read Ender's Game, because it is a masterpiece of storytelling and definitely deserves its place among the top of the lists. I would definitely recommend it to science fiction fans, but also to readers who don't normally read that genre. It is a short read that will hook you from the beginning and not let go until the cleverly-designed climax. There is much more to Ender's Game than just space battles and laser guns.
Ender's Game is the first book in The Ender Saga, which currently consists (by order of release) of:
Ender's Game (Ender, Book 1)
Speaker for the Dead (Ender, Book 2)
Xenocide (Ender, Book 3) (Ender Wiggin Saga)
Children of the Mind (Ender Quartet, Book 4)
Ender's Shadow (Ender, Book 5)
Shadow of the Hegemon (Ender, Book 6)
Shadow Puppets (Ender, Book 7)
First Meetings in Ender's Universe
Shadow of the Giant (Ender, Book 8)
A War of Gifts: An Ender Story (Ender Wiggin Saga)
Ender in Exile
Shadows in Flight (The Shadow Series)