Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card
Some days, we spend a lot of time searching through book deals (okay, okay… shopping) before we find the perfect one for the blog. But today, we found Ender’s Game about three seconds into our browsing, and that was it. No need to look any further. The writing is superb, but direct. (More like Hemingway than like Rothfuss, although Card loved Name of the Wind as much as we did.) It’s subtle, and it’s smart–profound, but never preachy.
The plot moves at a steady clip, but the character development is brilliant. In fact, Ender himself might be our favorite thing about it.
Erin fell in love with the book as a teen and showed it to Steven a few years ago, and then he fell in love with it, too. Erin would give the whole series five stars; Steven, just this one. The first. But it’s not the kind of series you have to keep reading. Ender’s Game is magnificent as a stand-alone.
If you tried to watch the movie without having read it first, do not judge the book by that. It’s so well written that it seems deceptively simple, and we can see why they wanted to make the movie. But so much of the book’s magnetism lies in Ender’s thoughts, that we’re not sure the film ever stood a chance. The way he views, and feels, the world is rich, complex and deeply insightful. Without that stream of consciousness, the heart of the story would be lost.
At the very least, download the free sample and try it. Do it for us. (As we like to say at conventions, you don’t have to buy the book just because you picked it up. That’s not a thing.)
And don’t forget to share your own favorites in the comments! We love falling in love with new reads!
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From the Publisher:
Winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards
In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.
Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.
Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.
Ender’s Game is the winner of the 1985 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for Best Novel.
We also recommend Orson Scott Card’s Homecoming series.