This is the final day for Guest Blogger Week with SF/F Book Reviews. Thank you to everyone who submitted reviews, and thank you to everyone who has read and commented on them.
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Science Fiction, 324 pages
(Aside: There are many different publishers and dates for this book. The original was published in 1985.)
Review by Ashlee Chism
Ender, a gifted six-year-old (you read it correctly), is taken to the world's foremost military school, Battle School, where the training takes the form of games. After the games (and not-games), he goes to Command School to take even more training. There he is told that he is being trained to be the lead commander of Earth's coming invasion of their enemy's holdings. From there, I can't divulge what happens, or else I would give the ending away, and I definitely do not want to do that.
Card is a prolific and gifted writer. I freely admit that Ender's Game is one of the first books that truly stunned me in high school, and it stunned me within the first page. In one of the first scenes, Ender goes to a doctor for a procedure, and the nurse tells him that it wouldn't hurt. I laughed to myself, because I thought, "Hey, this guy knows what adults say to kids. It's such a lie."
Then I read the next two sentences: "Ender nodded. It was a lie, of course, that it wouldn't hurt a bit," (p. 2; bolding mine). The fact that Card's protagonist actually acknowledged that truth floored me, and I eagerly kept reading.
The premise of using games to train gifted children for war is one that I had never encountered before reading this book. Card deftly explores the psychological, emotional, and mental ramifications that such a training would have on a growing young person. There is a good bit of profanity and violence in the book, once the fact that the book is talking about six to twelve-year-olds is considered. However, it is also a book about military geniuses, and, to my understanding, profanity and violence are realities in the military and in war.
Ender's Game is a book that is on my list of "flashlight books," or books that I had to keep reading even past my normal bedtime (back when I had one). I wholeheartedly recommend buying and reading this book.
Ashlee Chism is a voracious reader and aspiring author of fantasy and science fiction. She is currently working on several short stories and her university homework.