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Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet) Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 2013
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“Read Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game before the big-screen adaptation, starring Harrison Ford and Hugo's Asa Butterfield, hits theaters Nov. 1.” ―Entertainment Weekly, 13 Ways to Get Ready for '13
“Superb! This is Card at the height of his very considerable powers--a major SF novel by any reasonable standard.” ―Booklist
“An affecting novel full of surprises. Card never makes the mistake of patronizing or sentimentalizing his hero.” ―The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Orson Scott Card is best known for his science fiction novel Ender's Game and its many sequels that expand the Ender Universe into the far future and the near past. Those books are organized into the Ender Quintet, the five books that chronicle the life of Ender Wiggin; the Shadow Series, that follows on the novel Ender's Shadow and are set on Earth; and the Formic Wars series, written with co-author Aaron Johnston, that tells of the terrible first contact between humans and the alien "Buggers".
Card has been a working writer since the 1970s. Beginning with dozens of plays and musical comedies produced in the 1960s and 70s, Card's first published fiction appeared in 1977 -- the short story "Gert Fram" in the July issue of The Ensign, and the novelette version of "Ender's Game" in the August issue of Analog.
The novel-length version of Ender's Game, published in 1984 and continuously in print since then, became the basis of the 2013 film, starring Asa Butterfield, Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis, and Abigail Breslin.
Card was born in Washington state, and grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah. He served a mission for the LDS Church in Brazil in the early 1970s. Besides his writing, he runs occasional writers' workshops and directs plays. He frequently teaches writing and literature courses at Southern Virginia University.
He is the author many sf and fantasy novels, including the American frontier fantasy series "The Tales of Alvin Maker" (beginning with Seventh Son), There are also stand-alone science fiction and fantasy novels like Pastwatch and Hart's Hope. He has collaborated with his daughter Emily Card on a manga series, Laddertop. He has also written contemporary thrillers like Empire and historical novels like the monumental Saints and the religious novels Sarah and Rachel and Leah. Card's recent work includes the Mithermages books (Lost Gate, Gate Thief), contemporary magical fantasy for readers both young and old.
Card lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine Allen Card, He and Kristine are the parents of five children and several grandchildren.
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This book perfectly tells the tale of Ender Wiggin, a young child, at the start of the story, who has been bred to be, and is, "humanity's last hope". Despite this, however, the book does not dwell on the impending peril, but instead focuses on Ender's experiences and growth as a person. Personally, I found/find it impossible not to love the kid, and to both relate to and respect him. I found all of the characters believable and sympathetic.
The introductions to each chapter are an excellent literary tool, and work perfectly in this book. Additionally, the further characterization of Peter and Valentine (Ender's siblings) adds so much to the book and the world Card creates. Every time I read this book, I have a different favorite part and a different favorite character. Depending on my mood, there is always someone for me to relate to and empathize with.
In later years, I have learned more about he author (which, in this case, is not a good thing), but it is really a testament to how amazing this book is and how successfully he wrote these characters that Card's own actions and reputation have not marred this book for me. Whatever I think of his personal beliefs and politics, he wrote an amazing book, and one that I think everyone should read (probably best around ages 9 - 14 for the first reading, I have been told that it is not *as* good/life-changing if you read it as an adult).
In the future, Earth has endured two invasions of the Buggers, an insect-like species that is trying to colonize our planet. Expecting another invasion, the military has resorted to finding genius-level children to train into the ultimate force, with one special child as the Fleet commander. It was inevitable that the "big plot twist" would have been spoiled for me with the book out for nearly 30 years. Never-the-less, the story and protagonist sucked me in immediately and the ending still managed to hold some surprises. Card weaves his "technobabble" seamlessly into the plot so readers can picture this world without feeling lost, and though supporting characters don't get enough development, Ender is never less than real. I think everyone has felt like an outcast at one time or another, and struggled with who they want to be rather than who others want them to be. This makes Ender instantly relatable, which is critical since the book is told almost exclusively from his POV.
Where I think the book falls down a bit is the ending after the big reveal. This book is very short, and the conclusion makes that glaringly obvious. It was rushed, and Card added more than one "epilogue" to the tale that felt tacked on. It was almost as if he was sure the book would be a failure and he wanted readers to know where the world would end up. I wish he/his editors had fleshed out the conclusion to give it the weight and substance it deserved.
Overall: Ender's Game, though flawed, is still a brilliant work of SciFi that deserves the awards and praise heaped upon it. I enjoyed it immensely and will definitely read some more of the series. It's been said, but bears repeating: if you love Science Fiction, you owe it to yourself to read this classic of the genre.
Now, the write of the series has since said a lot of things that I very much dissagree with and I'm not sure if I would have bought this book had I known his point of view earlier. However I did love the book so I'm happy to at least have had the opportunity to read this either way. Whether or not I agree with Mr. Card personally does not mean he's not a good writer.