Retro Friday Review: Ender's Game By Orson Scott Card

Retro Friday is a meme hosted by Angie of Angieville and "focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc." 

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication date: 1985 (originally published as a short story in 1977)
Pages: 352
Source: Audiobook from Library
For: Fun
Series: Ender series, Book 1

Ender is a third child, a rarity in his world where population is strictly monitered. He has been chosen by the military to go to battle school at six years old, after his two older siblings were rejected. Little does he expect to encounter there brutality, cruelty, and no sympathy from adults. Working his way up by skill, strategy, and wits, Ender is being groomed to play a vital part in the war for the planet - one that will decide the fate of all humans.

Things I Liked:
This truly is a clever, original story.  I was completely impressed with how real it felt.  I love the complex plot, the real and completely horrifying world of the battle school, how Card doesn't hold back on what happens to his characters.  Ender feels like a real kid and we feel the horror of the situations he is put into, the reality that there are no adults to look out for him.  It progresses completely to the ending that is ridiculously surprising, yet afterward seems inevitable.  It's smart and good sci-fi and will keep you invested in knowing what Ender will do next, or rather what will be done to Ender next.  He has a lot of internal conflict and I think that is realistically portrayed.  Just plain good storytelling.

Things I Didn't Like:
It can be very depressing at times, not that this is something inherantly bad about the book.  It's just hard to see Ender deal with all the crap thrown at him.  I listened to the audio version this time and I liked having different voices for different characters, but Ender's voice was pretty annoying.  Valentine's was belivable and felt young enough, but Ender's voice was less so - an older man with a rather gruff voice (Stefan Rudnicki).  This was ok at times, but other times it grated on me to have such a young kid read by a person with such an old voice.  Still, it didn't detract much from the really good story.

Honestly, I don't know.  I guess I don't read enough sci-fi.
For other books with great plot twists, check out my Twisted Tales book list

s-factor: !@ 
scattered throughout

mrg-factor: none 

v-factor: ->->-> 
some of it is pretty horrifying, but not overly detailed

Overall rating: ***** 

Have you read it? What did you think?

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