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Ender’s Game

5 stars
715,270 (53%)
4 stars
399,178 (29%)
3 stars
154,812 (11%)
2 stars
41,246 (3%)
1 star
23,021 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 48,435 reviews
Profile Image for Kat (Lost in Neverland).
445 reviews711 followers
August 10, 2014

DNF at 52%

Dear Orson Scott Card,

There are over 3,310,480,700 women in this world.


Sincerely, Women.

Dear Fans of This Book Who Are Probably About To Make An Angry Comment On This Review:

Please leave now if you don't want to get all huffy and insulted and make a comment defending the author or whatever other shit that is this book.
Or, if you want, go ahead. If you're going to comment, at least read the whole review and not just a quarter of it. I'm so sick of repeating myself over and over in the comments.
Yes, I bash the author first, but I do make my points on why I hated the book itself, and not just because of him.

Thank you.

Sincerely, Kat.

First of all, before I get into the book, I'd like to say that Orson Scott Card is one of the biggest dicks on this Earth. For those of who don't know, he is openly homophobic and a hyprocrite ( )). He is a Chauvinist (known to believe that women are the weaker sex and were only put on this world to make babies). He is a Mormon that, from what I've heard from people who've read his other books, tries to convert you in his own writing in his novels.

Just for this author's personality, this book deserves one star.

But now onto the actual book, which deserves one star in itself.

The Author's Viewpoints Leak In

It starts out well enough. It's interesting and keeps your attention. But immediately, the sexism shows its ugly face;

"All the boys are organized into armies."
"All boys?"
"A few girls. They don't often pass the tests to get in. Too many centuries of evolution are working against them."

Keep in mind that this book is supposed to take place in the future. There are several things wrong with this sentence.

1. In this day and age, thousands of women are in the military and fighting for their country. They have been for decades now, and longer still. So if this is supposed to be in the future, does Card think that women will give up their ability to fight so easily?


2. Centuries of evolution working against them? On what terms? That we have ovaries? That we can have babies so are therefore unfit to fight or have the mental capacity to pass the tests boys can easily pass?


This is the 21st century, genius. Women work. Women are in the army. Get your head out of your ass and look around, for fuck's sakes.


I feel that Card made all the characters far too young. Ender is six, Valentine is eight, and Peter is ten. Peter has a fetish for torturing squirrels and threatening to kill his siblings.
Um, okay? Is there any explanation for this strange behavior? No, because according to this book, all our kids in the future are fully functioning psychopaths. (Except the girls, of course. They're too 'mild' for behavior like that.)
In the future, the army is apparently full of kids barely older than six, up to age twelve. To be trained for a war that, as far as I could tell from the point I got to, was already won.


The writing was atrocious. Card switches from third person perspective to first person constantly. The first person switches are for the character's 'thoughts', but the words aren't italicized or anything so you can never tell.
To me, that's a sign of bad writing. If you can't stick with one kind of perspective, than you should go back to those non-existent creative writing classes.


Towards the middle of the book, the plot started to seriously drag and get outright ridiculous. Valentine and Peter start planning to 'take over the world' by writing fucking debate columns. Not only is the whole 'let's rule the world' concept highly overused, it's poorly planned out. It's randomly thrown into the story like, "Okay, we need more villains and more things happening, so let's make the ten year old girl and twelve year old murderous boy try to take over the world!......with debate columns."



Then, switching back to Ender, who is now nine years old and a commander of his own kid army, we have our main character turning into the bullying idiots that bullied him in the beginning of the book. Has he learned nothing? Oh sure, it makes the kids 'better soldiers'. They're not even seven years old, they are not fucking soldiers. The whole story is a fucked up version of a 'kid military' which is run by controlling adults who don't want the war to end so they can remain in power.

It got so tedious and irritating that I decided to give up on it. I'm not going to waste my time with a book written by a sexist, homophobic, dickwad. I'm not even going to see the movie, which is a real shame because I love Asa Butterfield. I feel bad that he was brought into such a stupid book/movie business.

Profile Image for Ruchita.
45 reviews236 followers
July 7, 2015
[I have a new website where I review awesome books & more!]

I wanted to like Ender's Game. I really did. It's a wonder that even after more than halfway into the book, I still clung on to the foolishly optimistic notion that the book would somehow redeem itself. That it would end up justifying the tedious, repetitive, drearily dull chapters I trundled through over the course of several days (which is unusual, since I'm generally a fast reader).

It pains me to say it, as a hardcore fangirl of science fiction, that one of sci-fi's most beloved and highly regarded novels did not do it for me. Actually, that is understating it. While I'm at it, I'll just duck and blurt it out: I loathed Ender's Game.

Deep breaths. Let that sink in. Let the hate flow through you. Good, strike me down...I am unarmed.

Okay. Now let's get to it.

Was it because the expectations I had in my mind were unreasonably high and thus were responsible for ruining the book for me? No way. I make no bones about the fact that Ender's Game, regardless of the respect and popularity it commands in sci-fi circles, is an inherently bad novel.

Why, though, you might ask. Why such vitriol for the book? Here you are, then.

1) Bad plotting: It didn't take me long to realise that after I was past Ender's arrival at the Battle School, every - literally every chapter thereon until his return to Earth - was more or less the same thing. Battle games, beating the shit out of kids, battle games, switching back and forth to Armies, battle games. It was so repetitive that I was exhausted at the end of every.single.chapter. Page after page after page of six year old, seven year old, eight year old Ender and his buddies zooming about in ships trying to freeze one another's socks off. Wheeee!

2) Lack of characterisation: There are no personalities. There are no motivations. You never learn anything about the characters except that they are the good guys or the bad guys. Ender is brilliant at everything. He NEVER loses. Not once. Bernard, Stilson and Co. are the bad guys. They're evil baddies cause dey r jealuz of ender's brilliance omg!!! That's it. No background, no depth, no internal conflicts. No motivation. Words cannot express how two-dimensional and woefully lacking in personality the characters are.

3) Demosthenes and Locke. What the heck was that all about? I appreciate Card's prescience about the 'Nets' and blogging before it was around, but come on, this is pushing it a bit too far. How, I beg you, how are we supposed to take the idea that a pair of kids end up taking the world by posting in online forums and blogging?

As if we people of the internet didn't have enough delusions of grandeur already. ;)

4) Now, this really gets my goat:I had to wait for the last 20 pages to get information that was of any worth to the story at all. I'm talking about Mazer's Rackham explaning to Ender. As for the 'twist ending': I honestly, and I mean, honestly did not find that riveting. It was predictable and, worse, did not justify all that I had to read to make my way to the end.

5)Also: It was hard to feel for Ender. I say this as a high-school nerd in my own day, as the reviled and hated and made-fun-of socially awkward kid who wanted to be good at whatever they did. But that doesn't make me any more sympathetic to Ender. Honestly, I fail to see what's so great about Ender anyway. I am so infuriated at Card for this. Apart from Ender's claim to intelligence (which is never completely explained, by the way) there is nothing, NOTHING, that is worth justifying him as the protagonist of one of scifi's supposedly best books ever. Yes, he loves his sister Valentine. Yes, he doesn't want to hurt people. Yes, he goes ahead and does it anyway. Again and again.

I am rarely so caustic about the books I read, but this time I feel I am justified in doing so. I had such hopes for this book. Not impossibly high or anything. At the very least, I had expected to like it, you know? I remember, as I worked my way past chapters 4,5,7,10,14...I expected it to get better. I expected myself to be mistaken at the initial dissatisfaction, then incredulity, then mild annoyance and then a string of sad sighs and resignation to dislike. Alas, I wasn't mistaken. I felt betrayed. I thought this book was right up there with those 'kindred ones', you know? The sort of books you can come back to again and again. Instead, what I got was a bad plotline, progressively unrealistic plot developments, and a cast of flat, lifeless, unpleasant characters to boot. Ender's Game, how I wish I had loved you. Why did you forsake me thus.
Profile Image for Mark Lawrence.
Author 72 books51.7k followers
July 11, 2023
I read this story decades back with no special expectations. Like most books I read it just happened to be lying around the house.

I read it, was hugely entertained, and went on to read three or four of the sequels.

I've heard since all manner of 'stuff' about the author but what's true and what isn't I don't know and I'm not here to critique the man behind the keyboard. All I can do is report on the contents of the book and those I can thoroughly recommend you check out.

The main character, Ender Wiggin, through whose eyes we see the story unfold, is a child genius. If you're one of those people who wants your protagonist to be an average member of society, typical of his/her age and gender... step away. Ender's story is told because he is very far from ordinary.

OSC employs a bunch of fairly standard story-telling tricks. Our hero is underestimated at every turn, he exceeds expectations, we know he's got it in him and we're frustrated by the stoopid people who just won't see it. There's a bully/nemesis and nobody else but us sees just how nasty he is... However, OSC manages to bake an irresistible cake using those standard ingredients and once he starts sprinkling on originality as well, you've just got to eat it all.

This is sci-fi, not hard sci-fi, not soft sci-fi... let's say 'chewy'. It has a slightly old school EE Doc Smith feel to it, and you expect someone to pull out a monkey-wrench whenever the computer starts smoking, but none of that worried me.

Given the date it was written there's some quite prescient stuff about the internet here, although shall we say ... optimistic ... about the ends to which it's put. Card foresaw rather more reasoned political/philosophical debate that swayed public opinion more effectively than rhetoric and demagoguery. And rather less hard core porn.

Additionally the inclusion of female and Muslim characters whilst not front and centre was fairly progressive for 1985 (not ground breaking but certainly ahead of the curve).

This is actually a book with good messages (for the time) about equality, and one which poses interesting philosophical questions about what happens when races with orthogonal thought processes come into contact, and how far one can or should go in such situations.

There definitely is some characterisation going on. We're not talking Asimov's Foundation here where brilliant ideas invite you to forgive cardboard characters. The people here are decently drawn and Ender has his own angst (involving genius psychopathic siblings) that is quite engaging. However, it's the stuff that goes on that drives the story. The war games in preparation for battling the aliens, the unfortunately named 'Buggers'. These war games and Ender's brilliance in overcoming increasingly dire odds are a major theme and I loved them.

And then there's the twist. I'll say no more on that except that I was too engaged with the story to see it coming, and when it hit me ... well, I'd give the book 6* just for that moment. It doesn't work for everyone but it did for me!

EDIT: I have now seen the film - which I enjoyed. The film skips a lot that's important to the book, but I found it entertaining.

EDIT 2: Orson Scott Card reviewed *my* first trilogy. That's pretty damn cool!

(scroll down the article)

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Profile Image for Hollie.
12 reviews26 followers
July 27, 2007
This was the first book I picked up and read all the way through in one sitting. Technically, it's not a difficult read but conceptually it's rich and engaging.

"They have a word for people our age. They call us children and they treat us like mice."

If you can't understand that statement, you probably won't like this book. It's about intelligent children. Not miniature adults- their motivations, understanding, and some-times naivete clearly mark them as children. But at the same time their intelligence and inner strength define them clearly as people. Their personalities are fully developed, even if their bodies are not.

The book is about war. About leadership. And about the qualities that make some one a powerful or admirable individual (not always the same thing). In this book children are both kind and cruel to each other as only children know how to be. It is not an easy book for anyone who understands childhood to be a happy time of innocence. Even still, the characters retain a certain amount of innocence.

The questions posed by the war, by the handling of the war, are relevant today, as they were when the book was written, and as they have been since the dawning of the atomic age. Foremost is the question of what makes someone or something a monster. It is an easy read, but not always a comfortable one.

I'd recommend this book for intelligent children. The sort that resent being talked down to and treated like kids. Here is a book that does not talk down to them, but understands and empathizes with them. Also I recommend it for adults who used to be that kind of child, even if science fiction is not your usual interest. More pure science fiction fans will find it interesting, as will those who enjoy exploring the philosophies of human nature and war.

This book sets out to make you think.
Profile Image for Charly.
6 reviews8 followers
August 25, 2007
Spoiler Alert***

God damn did I hate Ender’s Game. I checked out Amazon and can surely see why I wanted to give it a shot. Talk about a cult following of people absolutely smitten with it. I even read some where that it’s on the required reading list at Quantico. I suppose this book could be some kind of manifesto for misfit nerds who waste their life playing video games or a source of legitimacy for motivating tired Marines sick of drilling (The book rambles on infinitely about the boy genius Ender and his laser tag in a zero gravity vacuum.) I also suppose we could kid ourselves into thinking the novel brings to light the necessity of Machiavellianism in conflict or maybe we could discuss the pathetic New Age garbage the book ended with as our annoying protagonist spreads some half crocked neo-religion amongst space colonies in which you love the enemy you are forced to annihilate. Some sort of cryptic Latter Day Saints plug by the Mormon author?

There were several other things I couldn’t stand about it. First of all, like even the best science fiction, the characters were one dimensional card board cut outs. This starts with the dorky, self absorbed protagonist Ender himself. I can deal with this problem if the plot is cool enough (ala Dune). Dune, too, often times dealt with children geniuses, however it was explained and made sense in the story. We have no idea why Ender and the other children (of which 99.9% were male) are so smart. Speaking of children, did any of you guys pick up any sort of creepy pedophile vibe in this book? How many times were we told of naked little boys? Why were there references to their tiny patches of pubic hair? Why did Ender have to have his big fight naked while lathered with soap in the shower? And the corny Ebonics that the children randomly spoke in? WTF?

The third rate and minuscule insight we were given about the geopolitical conditions on Earth were terribly dated. The Warsaw Pact dominated by Russia? What a cheap rip of Orwell. Lame! The side story about Ender’s genius two siblings also using Machiavellian tactics to achieve their political goals (instead of Ender’s military ones) by blogging on the internet really didn’t add up to beans in plot development if you ask me. Of course, Ender is never beaten at anything he does. I suppose we are to be awed by his victories but, strangely, his greatest triumph was his stoic willingness to use some sort of super weapon to destroy an enemy wholesale via exploding an entire planet. On the cover of my book, it suggests this book is appropriate for 10 year olds. What could a child get out this book? Boo to Ender’s Game!!!!!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Lisa of Troy.
431 reviews4,216 followers
September 3, 2023
In Orson Scott Card’s science-fiction novel Ender’s Game, we meet Ender Wiggins, a talented little boy who has the fate of the world on his shoulders.

After an extensive period of monitoring, Ender attends a school for gifted children, training to learn the techniques to battle the buggers, an alien lifeform.

When I started my career, I worked at an automotive company where I can only describe the environment as ideal. Our leader, we will call him King Arthur, was always looking out for his team. If you were only there for two weeks, he would come by your desk and let you know he thought of you for this amazing assignment.

When lunch came around, the entire group would make eye contact and go down to lunch together. No one forced us. We genuinely enjoyed each other’s company. In fact, one gentleman even won the lottery and came back to work!

Now, a few years later, I returned to work for this company. King Arthur had retired, and in his place was The Witch. The Witch required that you worked until 4 am. She would not work during the day (instead went to the gym) so she worked late at night, expecting everyone else to work the day and night. She would call meetings and then just never show up for them, wasting an entire roomful of people’s time without so much as an “I’m sorry.”

If anything was wrong, The Witch would blame you. If the work product was great, The Witch took the credit for herself.

So what makes these leaders? Open Ender’s Game.

The brilliance of Ender’s Game is not necessarily the plot but the emotional intelligence and the symbolism. If you have worked in Corporate America, you know that life isn’t always fair. Some people are out to get you. But what can you say to motivate your team? Does your team need breaks to thrive? Open Ender’s Game.

This book also brilliantly captured what it is like being at the top. Do you feel like quitting at times? You bet. Are things changing rapidly? Certainly.

And Ender’s Game depicts how the most talented are also working harder than most. When Ender had secret techniques, he “told them freely, confident that few of them would know how to train their soldiers and toon leaders to duplicate what his could do.”

Last, but certainly not least, the science fiction aspect of this book is a little unsettling. Portions of Ender’s Game were initially published in 1977. In the book, Ender and his team have a messaging system that sounds incredibly similar to today’s email or Team messaging.

Overall, this book is well worth the read. I would say that it felt like a mashup of Dune and Ready Player One. Highly recommend.

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Profile Image for Alexander.
Author 29 books1,703 followers
December 4, 2013
I read this novel because it was often the favorite novel of students of mine, and I wanted to understand why. I should mention that I love science fiction, and have read it avidly since I was barely more than a child. I'm not by any means some kind of anti-sci-fi snob.

The first thing that bothered me is that the novel sets adults against gifted children in a way that strikes me as bizarre. Adults are essentially evil but teachers especially. The children are inherently excellent, capable of helping each other in trying to figure out just what the adults are hiding, which is, in this case, a vast and secret war they are tricking the children into fighting for them. This was perhaps the hardest to believe of all the things thrown at the reader, and interestingly, it is hidden from you until the very end, though you can guess at it before then.

What disturbed me the most is that the writing is terrible---far too much happens internally, inside the character's head--it's an emo space opera, basically--and one of the most interesting events of the book is nearly buried and the presentation of it is rushed, because it is near the end. There are many points in the battle scenes where it is impossible to understand what's happening. And the penultimate plot event, where it's revealed all of the games were have been handled more interestingly. But the novel was overdetermined, things happening only because the writer wants them too and not because they feel inevitable, and so too many of the arrows point in the same direction. By the time Ender meets Mazer, his final teacher, my eyes rolled back into my head at the implausibility of it all.

And it's worth mentioning the thing no one prepared me for was the bizarre homoerotic subtext built into the book as well, a subtext that is sometimes just a plain old supertext, on display, right beside how women in this novel are to be loved distantly and kept from real knowledge, and turned against themselves, so they can then be used to compel others.

It creeped me out and I'm gay.

I'm also a former 'gifted child', and was tested and poked and pushed, all of these things, made to study computer programming when I didn't want to, and I made myself fail out of their program to get away from them. But I found no commonality with the gifted children here, not as I have in other stories about gifted children, say, like Salinger's Glass family. Also, these kids are all jerks.

I do hand it to Card for the ideas in the novel: blogging? Yes. It's in here, well before anyone was doing it, and it ...matters a lot, and in the ways blogging matters. Also the idea of an institution that runs on the manipulation of its populace into a distant war with an implacable foe, as a way of controlling people. And a society that has no privacy at all, not even in dreams. This novel does offer a dark picture of what life is like under these terms. Also, the idea of how a hive-mind would think differently, without language, and the complications of communicating with someone like that, that's brilliant also.

I wish it had been revised--that the battle scenes were clearer, that the movement of the novel's action, the way the 'buggers' are in a race to try and communicate with Ender before he kills them, that this were more obvious to the reader, and not a surprise whipped out at the end, so that it could have lent tension to the scenes of the games and manipulation, which were only boring. And Ender's decision, to be the Speaker for the Dead, that struck me cold, because in the end, the buggers were only trying to do what everyone else in his life were doing to him: poring over what makes him tick and trying to get him to do their bidding.

The novel contains a rant against style at the beginning, added by Card, called 'literary tricks' by him. I think the most interesting thing about it is that given the millions sold, it is proof that story matters more than style, even as convoluted and badly formed as this one is. In the end what matters is the questions the novel raises and the implications of the questions, and that the novel really is about something at its core, behind all of the badly rendered fight scenes. I admire style, don't get me wrong. I love it. But it would appear you can get by without it.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for J.G. Keely.
546 reviews10.2k followers
August 26, 2016
I was savaged by a miniature poodle the other day--wait--no, someone protested my review of The Giver the other day. If you have any pent-up rage from that college lit teacher who forced you to think about books, be sure to stop by and spew some incoherent vitriol--my reviews are now a socially acceptable site of catharsis for the insecure.

In any case, one of them made the argument that children need new versions of great books that are stupider, because children are just stupid versions of normal people. Happily-enough, The Giver is a totally stupid version of A Clockwork Orange or whatever Dystopian book (actually, it's a rewrite of Ayn Rand's Anthem).

Coincidentally, in my review of Alice In Wonderland, I happen to put forth my own philosophy regarding children's books. In short: they should present a complex, strange, many-faceted, and never dumbed-down world, because presenting a simple, one-sided, dumbed-down world both insults and stultifies a child's mind.

However, if someone were to say that this book were a childrenized version of Starship Troopers, I wouldn't sic a poodle on them. Both present a human/bug war, deal with the issues of death, war, the military complex, human interaction, personal growth, and all that good stuff.

Also, both authors have their heads up their asses and there must be a pretty good echo in there since they keep yelling their hearts out about one personal opinion or another. However, Orson Scott Card doesn't get into his pointless author surrogate diatribes until the second book in this series, so we may enjoy the first one uninterrupted.

So it's a pretty good book for children, and like romeo and Juliet, it's easy to see the appeal: kid defeats bullies and plays videogames to save the world(in one of the sequels, they save the world by making angry comments on the internet--surprising that one isn't more popular here). But more than that, it's not a bad book in general, so I guess I don't have to bother defining it as dumbed-down, or 'for kids'. Then again, a lot of grown-ups seem like they need their books dumbed-down. Just look at The Da Vinci Code compared to The Satanic Verses, or Foucault's Pendulum; or all three compared to The Illuminatus Trilogy. I'm pretty sure when it comes to stupid versions of things, adults have the monopoly.
19 reviews89 followers
January 31, 2008
i think 'ender's game' is the only book i've read three times. for me books often don't have repeat reading value in the same way some movies have repeat viewing value. it's probably because a movie takes two hours of your time while a novel, for me, takes a week or longer. so for someone like to me read a novel twice, not to mention three times, is really saying something [and yes, i realize the inherent snobbery in that statement].

i've thought long and hard about what makes 'ender's game' so appealing. it's got a sympathetic protagonist, lots of great action, lots of heart, and a plausible twist of an ending. on those merits only 'ender's game' works. it's a lot of fun to read and orson scott card manages to inject some really moral and ethical quandries without resorting to didactism or heavy-handedness. for example, the manipulations of the battle school powers-that-be are presented and inspected, but card never explicitly paints them as the enemy. they are who they are, for better or for worse, but it's up to the reader to for his or her own opinions. same for ender and his merry band of castoffs. card understands that good v. bad is never as simple as black v. white. the world and universe are, more often than not, varying shades of gray. and the folks who inhabit that gray universe, for better or for worse, are who they are. they all have a part, they all have a purpose--even if those parts and purposes contradict each other.

'ender's game' is also a great story of the value and importance of friendship. i choke up everytime ender's friends great him over the headset and the kids prepare for the final 'battle.' who wouldn't want friends like bean, petra, hot soup and the rest? i sure would.

but i think the real appeal for 'ender's game' comes from the belief that we all want to believe that there's something uniquely special about us. i think it's safe to assume that most of us have, at one point or another, felt like the underdog, the castoff, the misfit, the misunderstood, or the underappreciated, and that if people would just give us a chance, we'd shine. in that way ender is very much a universal character. he embodies a small part of each ous. yes, he is treated unfairly and manipulated, but he's also the smartest kid in the room. there's something very appealing about that. at least there is for me. whether or not i'm the smartest person in the room is irrelevant, but i want to believe it. and whenever i read 'ender's game' there's a small hope that it just might be true.
Profile Image for John Wiswell.
Author 41 books427 followers
February 24, 2012
This is a novel that blows past conventional ideas like "disbelief." Apparently humanity, a species whose only real claim to fame is war, now stinks at war, and can only be saved by a child genius who is one part prophecy, one part bad science, and one part wish-fulfillment. Thanks to this plan, we are treated to a gaggle of super-intelligent children who seldom appear particularly clever (in fact many behave with adult maturity rather than abnormal intellect) and achieve greatness not through any great effort that we follow (rather you'll read recaps of their successful efforts), but because the author wants them to achieve these things. In this, the definitive edition of Ender's Game, there is almost nothing earned within the plot.

It's a decent story, but for a book with so many events there is very little consequence or risk, and the character development is so linear and stale. That last quality is particularly cloying considering that, prodigies or not, most of the characters are children and at least one of them should develop in an unexpected way. Instead the unexpected developments we get are humorlessly absurd, like two prodigies fooling the world with a fake op-ed column that earns them political power. The ending is predictable and deliberately anti-climactic, robbing the novel of its one true punch. The trade-off is, instead of getting the thing the book was building to, you get the opportunity for sequels and spin-offs. If you liked the infallible, mostly emotionless and paper-thin protagonist, then that's a good thing. If you were hoping to have the hours you put into the book validated with some real emotion at the end, well, neither this author's definitive edition nor any other is going to help you.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews41 followers
September 14, 2021
Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet #1), Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game is a 1985 military science fiction novel by American author Orson Scott Card. Set at an unspecified date in Earth's future, the novel presents an imperiled mankind after two conflicts with the Formics, an insectoid alien species which they dub the "buggers".

In preparation for an anticipated third invasion, children, including the novel's protagonist, Ender Wiggin, are trained from a very young age through increasingly difficult games including some in zero gravity, where Ender's tactical genius is revealed.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سی ام ماه ژوئن سال 2014میلادی

عنوان: بازی اندر (اِندِرز گیم) - کتاب یک از پرونده پنجگانه؛ نویسنده: اورسن اسکات کارد؛ مترجم: پیمان اسماعیلیان خامنه؛ تهران، نشر قطره، 1390، در453ص؛ شابک 9786001192845؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 20م

پس از دوبار یورش بیگانگان، به کره ی زمین؛ که نژاد بشر را، تا آستانه ی نابودی پیش می‌برند، حکومت جهانی، برای تضمین پیروزی نوع بشر در جنگ بعدی، و حفظ یکپارچگی سیاره؛ دست به گزینش و پرورش نوابغ نظامی می‌زند؛ و سپس آنها را در نبردهایی شبیه‌ سازی شده، آموزش می‌دهد؛ تا هنر جنگ را در ذهن نوپا، و تشنه ی دانایی خویش نهادینه کنند؛ نخست آموزش‌ها جنبه «بازی» دارد...؛‏ «اندرو ویگین» حتی میان نوابغ دستچین‌ شده نیز، گل سرسبد، و برتر از برترین‌هاست، ایشان برنده ی همه ی بازیها، و برخلاف خواهر مهرورز خویش «ولنتاین»، و برادر دگرآزارش «پیتر»، دارای تمام شرایط لازم و کافی، برای انجام ماموریت مورد نظر است؛‏ درعین حال او چنان باهوش است، که می‌داند وقت رو به پایان است؛ ولی آیا بقدر کافی باهوش است تا زمین را نجات دهد؟ ...؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 15/09/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 22/06/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Stella.
560 reviews223 followers
January 17, 2013
If I fail my exams this week, I blame this book.

Ah Ender's Game, how you have sat on my bookshelf for over a year before I got to you. You have been so nicely received by the sci-fi community so why did I put you off? BECAUSE I WAS STUPID, THAT IS WHY.

My stupidity aside, I hope you guys will still consider this 5-star review to be credible and valid. I'll list off the pros and cons to this novel and you can decide.

An adorable main character.
Ender (Andrew) Wiggins was a breath of fresh air from the strong heroine of YA literature. Being a 6 year old at the beginning of the novel, I was completely caught off guard by his maturity and how sneaky he was.

The tactics used in the Game.
The reason the Hunger Games was interesting to me were solely due to the tactics Katniss used to stay alive, Well, guess what? Ender Wiggins just pretty much kick this Katniss chick's butt. Ender almost reminded me of Alexander the Great or Napoleon and I LOVED IT.

Oh the perceptive of Valentine and Peter was also very fascinating. The political backdrop highlighted by Demosthenes and Locke was very refreshing for a science student like me.

Now, I shall move on to the cons:
The lack of romance.

Haha, just kidding. I am glad the focus was on Ender and his growth to his maximum potential. The lack of romantic development is one of the best thing about this novel. I find romance takes away from such a masterpiece.

Just to be clear, there are no cons to this book. I am just a fool who never listen to others' opinions and it often comes back to bite me in the rear.

Joke's on me, I suppose.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
January 1, 2019
This was a really good book.

On its surface it is a great story about a young boy who goes through tremendous struggles. On another level it is a brilliant psychological character study and an observation of group dynamics. On still another level it was an intelligent allegory for violence and bellicosity in ourselves and our society.

There is a listopia list that calls this the best science fiction novel.

Mmmmm, maybe. I can see why someone would say so. I have heard where military organizations have assigned this for cadet reading.

It is very good, certainly high in the running and on a short list of best ever. I will read more by Card and may read more of the Ender series.

Profile Image for Kyle Nakamura.
6 reviews17 followers
March 12, 2008
This has to be, hands down, one of the best science fiction books written. Ender's Game is set in a disarmingly straightfoward sci-fi setting: a near future earth threatened by a hostile alien species with superior technology that seems determined to destroy the human race. The story centers on a young boy who is drafted into an all-consuming military training program at the age of 6. The program he's inducted into seeks to forge a new generation of military commanders out of gifted children, and it's sole purpose is to break them at any cost, until they finally discover someone who can't be broken. What follows is an emotionally complex and at times painfully familiar story of children struggling to accept their inner demons. Ender in particular is cursed with a brutal combination of profound empathy for others, and an overwhelming survival instinct that drives him to win no matter what the cost. It is this combination of gifts that may make him the commander the fleet needs in it's war against the alien invaders, but only if Ender can find a way to survive the burden of understanding his enemy so thoroughly that he can no longer see them as "the other," but as a reflection of himself.
The story is fast-paced, and Card's signature style of simple, plain language and streamlined descriptiveness serves to bring the characters front and center at all times. This book is infused with a very real sense of psychological and spiritual dislocation, and treats it's young protagonists as fully realized, intelligent, 3 dimensional characters struggling with very adult questions. Card's other signature: creating drama through ethical dilemmas, is also a central element of the story, and he does a very good job of challenging the reader to find some semblance of moral high ground anywhere. The conflicts between characters are made all the more powerful by the almost total lack of mystery: motivations and intent are laid out very clearly in most cases, and it is the reader's ability to empathize with everyone's point of view that makes the story less about winning and loosing and more about living with the consequences of either.
This book is thought provoking, emotionally complex, and ethically challenging. It's a powerful examination of conflict and violence, military necessity, family roles, and the ways in which we use the idea of "the other" to justify all manner of savagery.
Profile Image for Rebecca Watson.
54 reviews
May 3, 2013
Once upon a time, there was a tiny 6-year old boy who all the other kids picked on. Little did they know that he was very special and all the adults secretly loved him even though they didn't stop anyone from picking on him, and also he knew karate and he didn't want to hurt them but he would if he had to, and it just so happens that he has to. Often. Also he spoke and thought not like a 6-year old boy but as a smug 30-year old man with a fair amount of unresolved bitterness toward his childhood.

I finished this book very quickly, not because I am a misunderstood supergenius toddler, but because if I lost any momentum at all, I'd put this book down and never again be able to screw up the energy to deal with the pretentious little prick known as Ender Wiggin.

I really wanted to like the book. The basic outline of the story is fine and even appealing to me: kids being trained with video games from an early age to join a war effort. But the writing was, at times, excruciating. To be fair, had I read it when I was a (fairly average, I'm sure) 12-year old, I probably would have found it more enjoyable. But as an (average, again) adult, I found it to be about 100 pages too long and filled with long passages during which I developed a loathing of the main character at precisely the moment when the author clearly wanted me to admire his cleverness, strength of character, and bold moral wrestling. "Ooh, how deftly he wins the admiration of his peers by suggesting that bully is gay! Aah, the psychological pain he endures at being the best at strategy and physical combat! Oh, the bravery of joking with the black boy about how he's a n****r! Oh why can't he find a teacher who can teach him something he doesn't already know!"

I was also continuously distracted by sentences like, "They pushed his face backward into the door." What does that mean? If they're pushing his face backward, does that mean his head hit the door? His face can't hit the door if it's not facing it.

Anyway. The final act started off well enough and brought everything to a satisfactory conclusion, and then the book continued on for another 25 pages that should be considered by nerds to be as unconscionable as the final episode of Battlestar Gallactica, where all reason and logic are dispensed with in favor of some weird fantasy that pretends to wrap up everything in a nice and neat bow.

It's interesting to compare this to Dune, which I read last month. Dune does a similar thing (young adult-style writing about a young boy with great powers who will save the world) but does it without making the main character insufferable. Unlike Dune, I don't think I'll bother reading any other books about Ender, the universe's tiniest supergenius.
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
October 1, 2019
ender's game is pretty awesome, when it's not being boring.

and of course it is just me - in class yesterday the parts i mentioned as being boring TO ME were other people's favorite parts. and this is all due to a design flaw in me: i am physically incapable of visualizing action sequences. in movies, they make it so easy. in books, i frequently have to reread scenes a few times before i can orient myself. throw in zero gravity and weapons that don't actually exist, and i am loster than lost.

but - the parts of this that are good (to me) were very very good. why have i never read this before?? because i thought it was a total little boy book - all outer space and video games. and it is. but it is also about the formative years of a military savant - pushed nearly beyond his endurance into this pit of loneliness and pure strategy and honed into a killing machine. usually i hate precocity, but this was just brilliant. i liked so many of the characters, i loved watching ender progress, i just loved every minute of it. and even the parts i couldn't wrap dumbhead around, they were still fast-paced, even though i couldn't understand "wait, so who is hiding behind the star?? and who has been flashed? and what does that cord attach to??"

and of course, all that it has to say about the role of ethics on the military and about the suppression of the individual in these circumstances is gorgeous.

and if you like this book, be sure to check out o.s.c's many review of snacks and other sundries:

this one is pretty informative

i am sorry this review is crap, but i am supposed to be studying for a midterm. plus, almost everyone has already read this, so it's not like i am discovering anything here.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Joel.
556 reviews1,666 followers
November 30, 2010
Lots of people have already read this book, and it's pretty much universally acclaimed, so it probably doesn't really need another review. So I just want to point out one thing that bothered me both times I read it (with a decade at least in-between at that):

Isn't it weird how much time the kids in this book spend naked? The entire time Ender is at Battle School, Card constantly tells us how everyone is always sleeping naked, or walking around the barracks naked or jogging naked. And one of the major fight sequences happens in the shower, and Ender's opponent strips down beforehand so they can both be naked. And did I mention that the genders are mixed (if mostly male) and the oldest character in the book is 12?

I don't know, maybe it's just me. It's not like I'm offended, it's just odd and a little distracting. Don't kids have shame in the future?

This review brought to you by the word "naked."


Oh and I also meant to put in something about how this book predicted so much of the way politics and the internet would evolve and intertwine, and the emergence of blogging as a platform where any one person can rise to international attention through a democratized communications forum. But it didn't fit the naked theme.
Profile Image for Ali Goodwin.
169 reviews17k followers
November 14, 2022
3.75 stars rounded up! This is my first ever sci-fi book! I loved learning about the state of the world in Ender's game and how much of a GENIUS Ender is. The only thing I disliked is that I wasn't super into the war games/battle parts but other than that such a fun read outside my comfort zone
Profile Image for Alejandro.
1,140 reviews3,569 followers
August 17, 2015
Polemical indeed


I decided to read the novel basically because the incoming film adaptation (it was "incoming" at the moment that I read the book) and I wanted to read the original book before of watching the film.

I am aware of the controversial opinions about sensitive social subjects, but I want to keep that out of this and only commenting about my impressions about the book itself.

First of all, I doubt highly that the film adaptation will be so crude in certain developments of the story mainly because of that the protagonist of the story is a child. (and I wasn't mistaken about that)

And commenting about the shock made for the book, it's obvious that it's provoked due that the protagonist is a child.

This very same story using an adult, even a young adult, and this book wouldn't impress anybody.


However I think that establishing that this is a story set into the future of humankind, I think that how the children think, talk and act here is not far-fetched.

Maybe in 1985 could be...

..., but now?

Now, children have all the access to internet just like this "futuristic" story sets, and now kids got "mature" very quickly, not a real maturity per se, but the exposure to so much information in the web and the interaction on social networks, forums, blogs, etc... make them to "act like adults" before their time and also it make them to lose sensibility on how treating living things.

So, that angle is very visionary. No doubt about it, and maybe because of that, the book will remain as something relevant to read not matter if we enjoyed the reading or not of it.


Now, the development.

I found odd that in his life on Battle School, you only get the practices and exercises, and you only read about how Ender learn from his peers and never from the teachers, it's supposed to be a school but you never see how are "classes" there.

It's like if he wouldn't get any valuable education from adult teachers.

The book was really interesting while Ender was still very young but as soon he got a promotion to commander, I think that much of the "spark" of the narrative was lost.


It's kind of a rule on these military sci-fi stories that they have to battle against insect-like species?

Like on Starship Troopers. I guess that it's easier to get a lot of killing without provoking so much social shock. I am sure that when Peter did some awful things to one single squirrel disturbed a lot of people, me included, but killing insects?

If a kid kills an animal, it's a sure signal that they have a psychopath on their hands, but killing a cockroach? An ant? A wasp? Unless you are a monk in Tibet, you have kill an infinite quantity of insects on your life and you didn't think twice about it again.

So, the easiest way to make people confortable with massive killing is convincing them that they are not killing sentient life forms but dang bugs.

And, yes, that not only works here, in this book, but in many dark moments in our history.

Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,404 reviews11.7k followers
November 5, 2010
Hmmm, I find it hard to understand the level of following this particular book gets.

Ender's Game is the type of sci-fi that doesn't interest me much. 225 pages about a boy playing video games, battling in zero gravity, and learning about how military works? I can work up some interest for these things, but there has to be some characters I care about. However, how exactly am I supposed to find compassion for a boy who goes from one task to another never failing and always being the best at EVERYTHING, and not because he works hard to achieve his greatness, but because he was genetically engineered to be the best? Where is the conflict and character growth here I wonder? And then the kids. I wish even one of the characters actually acted like a kid, or a human being at least. I personally only saw cardboard in every direction.

I suppose there are some interesting ideas about military training, manipulation, and leadership, but I admit, I mostly found myself bored to death by numerous battles, which I couldn't visualize, and it's-so-hard-to-be-the-bestest-ever-genius whining.

Listening to the author's speech at the end of my audio book didn't endear me to him personally either. He is just not a very sophisticated person, but he surely knows his audience of prepubescent boys and gamers well. Plus I have very little respect for writers who create not because they have something important to say about our society and human condition, but because they are paid 5 cents per word to do it.

I think I will stick with Ursula K. Le Guin for now, whenever I am in a mood for some alien action, and resign myself to the fact that Ender's Game's cult classic status is something I will never be able to understand.

P.S. I did have a blast reading reviews about the author's obsession with naked, soap-lathered little boys. How they came up with this pedohomoerotic BS, I have no idea. Did we read the same book?

P.P.S. I also had a blast reading Card's raging homophobic "essays."
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,099 followers
February 18, 2022
Re-Read 2/18/22:

This must be my 6th time reading this and I cried like a baby at certain parts all over again as if it was my first.

More importantly, I read it with my daughter, so it WAS her first time.

Say what you will about the author, he wrote a fantastically empathetic book that works on so many damn levels. And this time, my daughter and I both bawled our eyes out together.

I'm so glad I can introduce her to a true love of SF. :)

Original review:

So nice to read it again. I suppose I can point to this book as being one of the very first to open my eyes to just how much can be accomplished in SF.

I mean, sure, I first read Chriton's Sphere right after King's Tommyknockers so I was feeling the love already, but Ender's Game set a new standard in readability, emotional impact, and sheer cussed F***ed-up-ness.

Since then, I've read over twenty novels that shared echoes of this novel. And yet, I keep coming back to this and its companion, Speaker for the Dead, glorying in the wonder of all these little pieces coming together in plots both interesting, tragic, and wonderful.

This is one of those rare cases where popularity is not unfounded. A great tale meets great acclaim.

I can rank this up near Dune as one of my most beloved novels of all time. No question about it.

Do I pity Ender? Hell, yes. But more than that:

I admire him.
Profile Image for Overhaul.
315 reviews699 followers
December 22, 2021
“Sólo el enemigo te enseña tus puntos débiles. Sólo el enemigo te enseña sus puntos fuertes. Y las únicas reglas del juego son qué puedes hacerle y qué puedes impedir que él te haga.”

Este tiene que ser, sin duda, uno de los mejores libros de ciencia ficción escritos. El juego de Ender, es un libro que lees del tirón, ágil y muy bien escrito. Está ambientado en un escenario de ciencia ficción digamos algo sencillo, nada complejo. Una tierra del futuro amenazada por una especie alienígena hostil con una tecnología superior que parece decidida a destruir la raza humana.

La historia se centra en un niño, Ender, que es reclutado en un programa de entrenamiento militar que lo consume todo a la edad de nada menos que 6 años. Este programa busca forjar una nueva, dura y muy superior generación de comandantes militares a partir de estos niños superdotados, y su único propósito es romperles a cualquier precio, con el propósito de descubrir a aquellos que no se puede romper.

Su protagonista, Ender Wiggin, tiene solo seis años al comienzo de la novela y todavía es un preadolescente cuando termina la historia. Los padres de Ender han recibido un permiso especial para tener un tercer hijo a pesar de las estrictas leyes de control de la población en la sociedad en la que viven. Sus brillantes hermanos mayores, Peter y Valentine, tienen todo tipo de promesas, pero aún no tienen lo que se necesita para ser considerados como el comandante que la Flota Internacional necesita tan desesperadamente.

La novela plantea una pregunta importante: ¿Qué se necesita para llevar con éxito a los hombres/niños a la batalla? La batalla se nos presenta en forma de invasiones alienígenas. Durante la última invasión que tuvo lugar, la humanidad sobrevivió gracias a la brillantez de Mazer Rackham, el comandante de la Flota Internacional.

Años más tarde, se teme una tercera invasión y el I.F. cree que Ender puede ser el comandante que necesitan. Esperan que pueda llevarlos a la victoria en caso de que los "insectores" vuelvan a invadir la Tierra.

“Pero como los adultos siempre decían lo mismo cuando algo iba a doler, podía considerar esa afirmación como una predicción exacta del futuro. Algunas veces las mentiras eran más de fiar que las verdades.”

Lo que sigue es una historia emocionalmente compleja y en ocasiones dolorosamente familiar de niños que luchan por aceptar sus demonios internos. Ender, en particular, es el que más destaca, una combinación brutal de profunda empatía por los demás y un abrumador instinto de supervivencia que lo impulsa a ganar sin importar el costo. Es esta combinación de dones que pueden convertirlo en el comandante que la flota necesita en su guerra contra los invasores alienígenas, pero solo si Ender puede encontrar una manera de comprender a su enemigo tan a fondo que ya no pueda verlos como, el otro bando, sino como un reflejo de sí mismo.

La historia es vertiginosa, y el estilo de Card me gustó, un lenguaje sencillo y una descripción simplificada que sirve para llevar a todos los personajes al frente y al centro de la historia en todo momento. Card trata a sus muy jóvenes protagonistas como personajes tridimensionales inteligentes y ya plenamente realizados que luchan con preguntas muy adultas.

La otra firma de Card es crear drama a través de varios dilemas éticos, esto también es un elemento central de la historia, y hace un muy buen trabajo al desafiar al lector a encontrar algo parecido a un terreno moral elevado en cualquier lugar. Los conflictos entre personajes se vuelven aún más poderosos por la casi total falta de misterio, pues las motivaciones y la intención se presentan con mucha claridad en la mayoría de los casos, y es la capacidad del lector para empatizar con el punto de vista de todos lo que hace que la historia sea menos sobre ganar o perder y más sobre vivir con las consecuencias de cualquier resultado.

“La humanidad no nos pide que seamos felices. Sólo nos pide ser brillantes en su nombre.”

Este libro me sorprendió y muchísimo, lo admito es estimulante, emocionalmente muy complejo y éticamente desafiante. Es un examen poderoso del conflicto y la violencia, la necesidad militar, los roles familiares y las formas en que usamos la idea del "otro" para justificar todo tipo de salvajismo. Por cierto, la película vamos es que no le llega al libro ni usando microscopio. Este libro y mira que ya llevo unas cuantas joyas de la CF, clásica, los mejores para mí. Este ocupa un lugar al lado de, Flores para Algernon.

El libro es mucho mejor que la película. Sé que probablemente hayáis leído esta frase y otras en muchas reseñas. No puedo llegar a expresar completamente todo lo que ha sido la exquisita lectura de, El juego de Ender. Es que no puedo encontrar un solo defecto. Todo perfectamente escrito y construido.

"Sólo hay una cosa que hará que dejen de odiarte. Y esa cosa es ser tan bueno en todo lo que hagas que no puedan ignorarte."

El desarrollo de los personajes en el libro es realmente asombroso. Realmente no se parece en nada a la forma en que la película presentó a los personajes. Todos se sentían importantes y su transformación tuvo un gran impacto para mí. Personajes como, Valentine y Peter estaban muy establecidos, y su viaje cuando eran niños fue algo diferente, completamente interesante y divertido al mismo tiempo. La película creo que ni mostró que ambos se convirtieron en Demóstenes y Locke. Esa parte de su historia realmente me asombró. Este libro mostró que la edad no importa para marcar la diferencia. Se trata de niños y niñas que muestran un enorme coraje y además absoluto conocimiento. No me agradaba nada Peter en el sentido moral, pero su violencia e intimidación creo que llevaron al crecimiento positivo de Ender y Valentine. Y si afectó a Ender de mala manera, pero si luego observamos el cambio general que emanaba Ender, es notable cómo la violencia condujo al éxito. Creo que el autor fue demasiado duro con sus personajes, demasiado duro pero es esto precisamente lo que más destaca del libro y en el buen sentido. La trama es interesante y da varios giros, destacando sobretodo el final y el enorme desarrollo de los personajes, ahí fueron increíbles. Muy bien escrito y está todo pensado para impactar al lector. Es algo original para mí al menos y asombroso.

"Podría matarte así, susurró Peter. Solo presiona y presiona hasta que estés muerto"

Escuela de Batalla, donde los niños brillantes son entrenados en estrategia y duras tácticas militares. Ender está aislado, es ridiculizado, intimidado y prácticamente perseguido. Pero es decidido y muestra los medios para sobrevivir e incluso prosperar y evolucionar en esas difíciles circunstancias. Su asombrosa inteligencia, con la que el niño aprende a ser un líder y a actuar con la venganza de un soldado. Su juventud y pequeña estatura no logran detenerlo, y Ender asciende rápidamente. Ender tiene solo 12 años cuando comienza a comandar a sus compañeros soldados, ganándose así su respeto y, en última instancia, su miedo hacia él. Todo termina en sorpresas.

La pieza central de su educación es un juego que simula una batalla. Ender es muy bueno en este juego, y esta es la razón principal por la que se convierte en el comandante más joven de la historia. De todos modos, la vida de Ender en la escuela y los diversos juegos, pruebas y tribulaciones en las que sobresale ya no solo están maravillosamente escritos sino que es una gozada ir leyendo todo lo que pasa, creando en el lector una necesidad de querer ver como evoluciona en concreto el personaje de Ender y como termina su dura preparación. Es un libro impresionante, en todos los niveles. Impresionante e imprescindible.

“Los seres humanos son libres, excepto cuando la humanidad los necesita. A lo mejor la humanidad te necesita. Para hacer algo. Creo que la humanidad me necesita a mí para averiguar para qué sirves. Los dos podemos hacer cosas despreciables, Ender; pero si la humanidad sobrevive, habremos sido buenos instrumentos.”
Profile Image for Henry Avila.
468 reviews3,254 followers
August 29, 2023
In the not too distant future, Earth desperately needs help, hideous aliens called disparagingly "buggers" by the inhabitants...(they do look like bugs but with brains ) on the third planet of the Solar System because we were twice attacked brutally, killing countless from an unknown region of the galaxy...another will probably be fatal unless a Caesar, Alexander or Napoleon can be found, however this type of leader is hard to discover. So the International Fleet recruits children for harsh training on the immense orbiting space station but since some are as young as six this seems sick and it is. Andrew "Ender" Wiggin 6, from a trio of brilliant siblings, gentle sister Valentine 8, and vicious Peter 10, the surprise, the parents John and Theresa are a nondescript American couple, maybe, and again rather ordinary in appearance. This in the age of Starships, faster-than-light travel, requiring captains and admirals, however the older ones though unusually intelligent kids have already been washed out for obvious reasons. Treated like Spartans boys ( a few girls) from ancient Greece but much worse, Ender feels the pain of a lonely existence above the world even hated by the other jealous children because his higher abilities can't be hidden from them. Weightless in parts of the structure for training purposes in the Battle School, still different rooms have gravity because of the spinning wheel. At first fun games but quickly becomes drudgery, the tedious exercises. Colonel Graff in charge here apparently likes to inflict pain, is merciless to everyone and Ender in particular. Major Anderson second-in-command wants to moderate his superior officer but is sadly unsuccessful .The boy misses his sister the only person he really loves , his older scary brother hates him and the feeling is mutual. Year after year with no end in sight the child grows older but happiness will never arrive just suffering and his few friends adroit Alai, little Bean, Petras, very able and only girl in his army, seems an illusion... Day by day he becomes weaker in spirit... hope , a word for others to believe but Ender must believe otherwise ... The struggles will be great the rewards might be too. The novel is quite original in its plot and the main character gives a unique insight into the adolescent mind, though young he is quite perceptive. A sci-fi novel for adults.
Profile Image for Becky.
1,378 reviews1,651 followers
August 7, 2013
Ugh. Okay. I'm officially giving up on this one.

So, a little disclaimer here. I do not like Orson Scott Card. As a person. I think he's a shitty human who's used his award-winning author status as a platform to advocate the denial of other humans' rights. This is detestable to me.

But that is not why I rated this book 1 star.

The reason I gave this book 1 star, and have given up even trying to read it, is because I do not like Orson Scott Card. As an author. This was the second book of his I've read - or tried to read- and it will most assuredly be my last. I finished the other one, but can't say I liked it, though it was... interesting. This one I just couldn't even muster up any meh over, and it's supposedly his best work. I disliked it almost immediately.

I made it about 15%, and I've read about all I can stands, I can't stands no more.

The writing is awful. We're told what Ender thinks. We're told what Ender feels, and does, and says, and why, and despite supposedly being in his head, I don't understand or like him at all. We're told he's a genius. We're told he's mastered calculus as a toddler, that he can hack school computers with ease. We're told that he plays game A. Then he beats it, and plays game B. In every game, the goal is conquer and kill, and he's the best at it. But we're told that Ender does that only when he's forced... but then we're told that he likes it - no he doesn't! - yes he does. He stabs the game giant in the eye and likes it, and then when the giant is 'dead' and no longer an obstacle, out of boredom, he wishes he could murder it again. Because he liked it. That's why he's The One. Duh.

The ridiculous chapter-leading nameless dialogues are terrible and jarring and distracting, and they take me out of the story. Which is a very bad thing when I'm disliking and uninterested in the story as it is.

The complete lack of characterization is shameful. These kids, and especially Ender, who is SIX YEARS OLD and likes to throw the N-word around like it's a frisbee, sound like adults that I wouldn't even want to talk to, let alone root for. I don't like, understand, or care about a single character in this book. Not one. Wait, I might like the Buggers, but that's only because I feel like they have to be decent if they want to rid the universe of this society of sociopaths and groomed killer children.

Then there's the fact that I'm apparently supposed to believe that a society as advanced as this one, with space travel, in-body monitoring of thoughts and actions of their potential recruits, the ability to at least partially coax out genius children by specialized breeding, etc, would be so casually dismissive of female potential as to respond to a question regarding whether there will be girls at this murder-camp with "A few girls. They don't often pass the tests to get in. Too many centuries of evolution are working against them." Because, apparently, only Y chromosomes can carry intelligence and females are just sub-par, even at evolution. How can they be a war leader and savior of humanity if they can't even master upward evolution, like males have?

Oh, but wait... which entry tests were those again? The ones that require extreme violence? Stomping the shit out of another kid, albeit a bully, was the only test-like thing I saw that earned Ender a spot at murder-school. And it's OKAY that Ender put him in the hospital, because he was forced to do it or keep being bullied. There was no other solution. So maybe that little comment was a backhanded compliment to us of the gentler, weaker sex. Our delicate sensibilities just don't automatically run to murderdeathkill at the slightest provocation, which from what I can tell makes females completely valueless except as future-soldier-makers, so yeah, I guess we fail. Darn!

I don't buy the concept of putting all of the eggs of an apparently critically endangered humanity into a single basket that consists of a child 4 years away from attaining the glorious achievement of double digit age. But wait, this war is apparently on hold while this generation of future soldiers grows up? How awesomely considerate of the "Buggers". I now see why they must die. /sarcasm

Which brings me to the "Buggers". They are aliens. Got that. Apparently, there's no possibility of aliens NOT wanting to wipe out all of humanity... because, you know, the universe isn't big enough for the both of us. I was really, really hoping for a plausible reason why these aliens would want to kill people, but I got nada. Perhaps it's explained later. Or maybe this is just fear and hatred of the unknown. I don't know, and frankly don't care all that much, but it just feels like we're supposed to just go along with the story that implies that different = bad and must be killed.

I'm not squeamish or tender-hearted. I fully believe in killing off characters that need to die, even and especially if it's painful to the reader. Violence, in general, doesn't bother me, and I have no trouble reading about abuse, or death, or destruction, or brutality. But it needs to have a purpose and reason for existing on the page. It needs to be honest, and realistic, and plausible. And I didn't feel like that was the case here. It felt like it was for pure shock value here, placed with ever more aggressive offensiveness with the hopes of a reaction. "OMG! they are just babies! Oh the brutality! Won't someone save the children?!" And it worked, because my reaction is to stop reading this shit called a book. The racism, misogyny, hatred of the 'different', the adult condoned and encouraged cruelty and alienation of weaker or smaller children, the violence and genocidal-tendencies in a 6 year old all made me hate every minute I spent reading, or avoiding, this book, and only confirmed that Orson Scott Card is not someone whose work I will ever read or watch again.

I could go on, but I'm done with this book. Writing it off and washing my hands because they feel like they've been holding something disgusting and slimy. I haven't seen anything even remotely redeeming in this book, nothing that makes me think that the rest of it would be worth my time, and I'm done.
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
666 reviews927 followers
February 5, 2021
“Humanity does not ask us to be happy. It merely asks us to be brilliant on its behalf.”

While I enjoyed Ender’s Game quite a bit (I think I’ve read it 3 times now), I first read it after reading Ender’s Shadow. This means I already had a take on how things went down at Battle School (and that was from Bean’s rather than Ender’s perspective). That said, I wholeheartedly recommend Ender’s Game not because I think it’s better than Ender’s Shadow (I don’t), but because Ender’s Saga is fantastic (especially the next two books in the series, Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide). The premise of Ender’s Game is interesting (training the brightest minds to fight the war against mankind’s greatest enemy); however, it’s just as interesting to look at the social and cultural changes on Earth. For that, we have the perspective of Ender’s two siblings, Peter and Valentine. I think they are sometimes overlooked, but they are great characters. Overall, I found Ender’s Game to be a fun and entertaining read!
Profile Image for Jesse.
104 reviews19 followers
August 2, 2023
If history has taught us anything, its that no one turns out for the better when the government experiments on them. There's no way Ender doesn't end up killing himself, becoming a raging alcoholic, or maybe addicted to some futuristic space drug. There's no way he turns out normal. Maybe the future has some kind of cure for massive childhood trauma and PTSD caused by government experimentation on childeren....let's hope that's the case.

Governmental overreach for the "greater good." Breeding super childered to fight battles for you. Winning at all costs. Damn the torpedoes. It's 1984 meets Starship Troppers and War of the worlds.

The writing left a little to be disired, its simplistic, dialog driven, and repetitive.  There's next to zero character development. Everyone is pretty one dimensiononal. It's predictable and kinda weird. Don't get me wrong, I liked it, I mean, it's good guys verse bad guys, in space, with a child prodigy and aliens.

It was simple and didn't require too much attention or investment, but sometimes that's what you need in a read.
Profile Image for Celeste.
933 reviews2,381 followers
October 4, 2017
Full review now posted!

Some books define different aspects and periods of your life. Ender’s Game for me represents the loneliness of childhood when you’re different. I first read this book when I was 9 years old and just starting the 4th grade. I was the only kid in my small class in the Gifted program at that point, which set me apart. I was an odd child, athletically challenged and socially inept and physically awkward. I had teeth too big for my head, ears too far large for my face, and hair that pencils could get lost in. My only true friends at this stage in my life were family members and books.

“Because never in my entire childhood did I feel like a child. I felt like a person all along―the same person that I am today.”

So when I came across Ender’s Shadow and Ender’s Game, I felt understood (by someone unrelated to me) for the first time in my life. Here were kids who were different, who were often hated and belittled by other children because of those differences, but who discovered that those differences were actually their strengths. That was an incredibly inspirational possibility that I clung to for years after reading the books for the first time, and that I still cling to when I feel like I don’t fit in somewhere.

“I think it's impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves.”

My copy of this book is tattered. Pieces of the cover are missing. The spine is broken. The pages are yellow. And I won’t trade it for a newer copy until it falls completely to pieces. I just read this book for the 8th time. I read it in elementary and junior high and high school, once every couple of years, just to remind myself that what made me weird could make me strong. I read it in college when I got married younger than most people and wasn’t living on campus, and was viewed as an odd duck by my classmates. I pushed it into the hands of kids I could see myself in when I became a teacher.

“Humanity does not ask us to be happy. It merely asks us to be brilliant on its behalf.”

I lead a small monthly bookclub for teenagers at my local library, and was thrilled when they chose Ender’s Game as October’s book. I hadn’t read it in about five years, so I was a bit nervous that it wouldn’t hold up to yet another reread, but I dove in anyway. Never have I been happier to be wrong. This book packs just as much punch for me 19 years later as it did the first time I cracked it open.

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

Ender Wiggin is a genius, wise beyond his years, and he is thrust into impossible situation after impossible situation. Adults are the enemy, seeking to isolate him and push him to his breaking point. But he will not be broken. He adapts and overcomes, making friends in spite of the establishment’s best efforts. However, a time comes when he has to put the mission above his relationships, and has to stand alone. His empathy and drive and monstrous intellect are awe-inspiring, but are they enough to keep him from finally shattering beneath a weight too large for his small shoulders to bear?

“There are times when the world is rearranging itself, and at times like that, the right words can change the world.”

This is not a children’s book, but never in my childhood did I read another book that I related to more than this one and Ender’s Shadow. I honestly feel that this book is appropriate for all ages. If you know anyone who is different, who just can’t seem to become part of the crowd and always seems to stand out and stand alone, please find a way to get this book into their hands. Be they child or adult, this book will make them feel less alone. And if you yourself are different, if you march to the beat of your own drum even when the world demands your silence, read this book and feel understood.

Original review can be found at Booknest.
Profile Image for Will M..
304 reviews627 followers
February 1, 2015
I can't believe it took me forever to finally read this. I chose to watch the movie first last year, because I remember not having the physical copy of the book yet. That was the biggest mistake of my reading life.

The book is way better than the movie. I know you've probably seen that phrase a million times, but I can't fully express how it truly applies to Ender's Game. I can't find a flaw even if I wanted to. Everything seems perfectly written and constructed. I'm going to be honest and say that I hated most of the overhyped books here on goodreads, but the hype that Ender's Game received's truly deserving. It lived up to my expectations, and continued to amaze me as every page went by.

The character development in this novel's truly astounding. It's really nothing like the way the movie introduced the characters. Everyone in the novel felt important, and their transformation had a huge impact to me. Valentine and Peter were both very much established, and their life journey [as children] was somewhat different, but completely interesting and amusing at the same time. If I remember correctly, the movie didn't even show that both of them became Demosthenes and Locke. That part of their story truly amazed me. This novel showed that age doesn't matter in making a difference. It's all about courage and knowledge to truly express what's inside your head. I didn't like Peter in the moral sense, but his violence and bullying led to Ender and Valentine's positive growth. It may have affected Ender in a bad way, but if you look at the overall change that Ender exuded, it's remarkable how violence led to success.

I think I'm going to retract my statement that I can't think of any flaws. I believe the author was too harsh with his characters, too harsh in a sense that it became a bit unbelievable. Unbelievable in the sense that I haven't really encountered a child who was pushed too much that he's capable of murder. I'm not talking about Ender, because despite everything he did, his humanity was still very much evident. I'm talking about Bonzo. How could he be capable of murder, and not have any guilt afterwards. If the author presented a violent past, then maybe I could still digest the fact that he became evil , but he was just evil like that. He expressed his anger by raging on Ender, without a concrete and well-explained reason why. That's the only problem I could think of, and it's not even really a problem to be honest. It's so minor that the magnificence of the novel can easily cover up this personal opinion of mine. It's not even bothering me, I just wanted to present a slight flaw so that this review wouldn't seem to kiss the novel's ass so much, even though I think it is.

I've lived too long with pain. I won't know who I am without it

Yeah, that line in the near end says it all. Ender's a changed man, call me sadistic, but I believe it changed him for the better. He's become the strong young man he's supposed to be.

The plot and character development were both amazing, as I repeat. It's original [for me at least] and the ending truly depicts that the author's not done trying to destroy Ender's humanity. I can't wait to read the succeeding novels, even the Shadow series after. This series made it to my top favorite, alongside A Song of Ice and Fire, or maybe I could just say that this is my favorite Sci-Fi book, and possibly series. If you really read the review, then it's obvious that I'm giving this the highest possible recommendation to anyone. The hype might make you cautious, but seriously, this is novel is amazing.

5/5 stars, truly remarkable.
Profile Image for David Putnam.
Author 18 books1,591 followers
December 14, 2019
This is really a great read. Loved the story and the characters. But if you peel back all of that good stuff, I also found that the way the author endeared the reader to the main character, how that character won over the other kids was a brilliant study in leadership. How to earn respect. (Which, I think is missing more and more in our society today). That underlining leadership theme is really what carries the story. The recruitment, training and battles were just the way the author got that point across.
Highly recommend this book. (Not only for readers but for future leaders as well).
David Putnam Author of The Bruno Johnson series.
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