Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

The Ender's Quintet, #1
SCIENCE FICTION
rating

Andrew "Ender" Wiggin thinks he is playing computer simulated war games; he is, in fact, engaged in something far more desperate. The result of genetic experimentation, Ender may be the military genius Earth desperately needs in a war against an alien enemy seeking to destroy all human life. The only way to find out is to throw Ender into ever harsher training, to chip away and find the diamond inside, or destroy him utterly. Ender Wiggin is six years old when it begins. He will grow up fast.

But Ender is not the only result of the experiment. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway almost as long. Ender's two older siblings, Peter and Valentine, are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. While Peter was too uncontrollably violent, Valentine very nearly lacks the capability for violence altogether. Neither was found suitable for the military's purpose. But they are driven by their jealousy of Ender, and by their inbred drive for power. Peter seeks to control the political process, to become a ruler. Valentine's abilities turn more toward the subtle control of the beliefs of commoner and elite alike, through powerfully convincing essays. Hiding their youth and identities behind the anonymity of the computer networks, these two begin working together to shape the destiny of Earth-an Earth that has no future at all if their brother Ender fails.

Clever and expansive in scope, I can see why this is such a Sci-fi classic. I loved Ender personally, although I shared his frustration in disliking the others at so many points. Character driven in its way, but mainly the story focuses on the "game" the corrupt system that runs it. I especially liked Ender's sister and the odd tie-in with the sociopathic brother. As is typical with these types of stories, there were bullies galore, but I'm happy to say our main can hold his own.

 A claustrophobic feeling book for sure. Some of the games and maneuvering were interesting, but after awhile this dragged on too long and got old. I felt a lot of frustration - the system can suck it.
Each chapter was prefaced by inner talking in the system, which also grew old sometimes - I ended up eventually skimming that stuff to stick to the main story. Since the shuffle between Ender's age, station, and plans kept changing so abruptly, interest in the current story could only stay so-so in focus.

The end held a sad surprise. I know there are sequels, but this feels so wrapped up I'm surprised another story could have been born out of it.



   Book Quotes:

“Perhaps it's impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be.”

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