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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Wish I Could Give It 6 Stars
I'm not a huge fan of s-f, but I have a very wide range of favorite authors/books. My favourite authors range from Tom Clancy to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn; Chuck Palahniuk to Michael Chrichton. This book is, bar none, my favourite book ever. I first read this book 13 years ago when I was 12 and I reread it at least once a year. It is a brilliant look into the inner workings...
Published on Feb. 28 2007 by M. Kennedy

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This book manipulates and dehumanizes; it is an empty book.
Before considering reading this, I think that one should
look to Norman Spinrad's review of it as it appeared
in Issac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. Failing that,
at least realize that the entire book is a deliberate
button-pushing saga, following the patterns of human
mythology that are older then history, in a completely...
Published on Dec 22 1996


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Wish I Could Give It 6 Stars, Feb. 28 2007
By 
M. Kennedy "BruceBeach" (Toronto, Ontario) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I'm not a huge fan of s-f, but I have a very wide range of favorite authors/books. My favourite authors range from Tom Clancy to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn; Chuck Palahniuk to Michael Chrichton. This book is, bar none, my favourite book ever. I first read this book 13 years ago when I was 12 and I reread it at least once a year. It is a brilliant look into the inner workings of extremely gifted children that becomes a heartwrenching portrait of a boy whose intense compassion for his enemies is both his greatest advantage and his most self-desructive personality trait. When I first read this book, it was so engrossing that it kept me, a 12 year old boy, inside for 3 days during the summer at my cottage on Lake Huron. The book was in my hand non-stop until I turned the last page. If you haven't read this book, shame on you and fork over ten bucks for the best damn read you'll have this year!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Enders justify the means, Feb. 24 2014
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Ender's Game (Paperback)
Ender Wiggin is a very unusual boy -- he's a brilliant tactician, a genius, and a despised "third" in a future that only allows two children. He's also six years old.

And despite the fact that Orson Scott Card's sci-fi classic is about a little boy learning how to be a warrior, "Ender's Game" is a pretty gripping and sometimes grim adventure story. The descriptions of children being taught out how to be cold-blooded warriors is pretty creepy, but the well-developed future world that Card comes up with is pretty awesome.

After a fight with a gang of bullies, Ender Wiggin is approached by an army officer who wants him to join the elite Battleschool, where kid geniuses become soldiers -- basically because aliens are about to attack Earth AGAIN and may end up wiping out the human race. His brother Peter is too wild and cruel, and his beloved sister Valentine is too mild-mannered.

Ender accepts, and quickly finds himself in a dog-eat-dog space school where he soon becomes loathed for the special treatment the teachers occasionally give him -- when they aren't observing his every move. And it soon becomes obvious that Ender has a natural ability that exceeds that of most of the Battleschool recruits: he instinctively knows how to outmaneuver his opponents and protect himself in a fight, even if he annoys some of the "army" commanders who don't like being outshone.

Back on Earth, his brother and sister try to alter the increasingly unstable politics of Earth by subtle manipulation of the public, a situation that may bring the ruthless Peter into greater power. And as Ender reaches the end of his training, he faces both the buggers and the knowledge of what he is capable of.

"Ender's Game" is kind of an unusual space opera, because the actual war between humans and buggers is not front-and-center until the last act of the story. Up until then, it's about following Ender and his equally unusual siblings as they develop prematurely into adulthood -- these are genius kids who can reshape entire worlds, but you're not really sure that they SHOULD.

Card writes in a detailed but brisk style, with pretty realistic dialogue and some ugly dark spots (the description of Peter flaying a squirrel... for no reason). Ender's time at Battle School and Command School feel rather slow at times, only for things to blossom in the final laps of the novel -- Card suddenly turns all our feelings and expectations on their heads. The tragedy of children turned into soldiers becomes even more tragic as we discover what the war is actually all about.

As you'd expect from Fascist Hogwarts In Space, there are a lot of kids at Battle School who are developed to certain degrees. But the center of the story is Ender himself -- and despite being a tactical genius with loads of natural ability, Ender never seems like a Wesley Crusher. Like a boy destined to be a Spartan warrior, his inborn skills are what will keep him from ever finding peace. His childhood is sacrificed for war.

The other part of the story rests on Peter and Valentine -- Valentine is too nice, while Peter is gradually revealed to be a ruthless genius who works anything and anyone for his goals, which may or may not be self-serving. It's oddly fun to see the growing influence of "Demosthenes" and "Locke" on the cruel government.

"Ender's Game" is an intelligent, gripping space opera with an undercurrent of intense tragedy -- it's kind of slow at times, but the strong writing and intriguing main trio keep it afloat.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rightfully considered a masterpiece, Feb. 19 2006
By 
William E. Hunter "Ummagumma" (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ender's Game (Paperback)
For years I've wanted to read this book; it is considered one of the classic works of SF. Recently I did, and surprisingly enough, I wasn't disappointed.

It tells the story of Andrew Wiggin, the Third child of a family living in a future, overpopulated world where families are restricted to only two offspring; except where traits of extraordinary intelligence in the youngsters leads the government to believe that a budding military genius might be in the offing, one who can lead the armies of the Earth in a hopeless battle against a ruthless Alien species. Andrew, nicknamed Ender by his loving sister Valentine and despised by his sadistic brother Peter, shows so much promise that he is whisked away at the tender age of six to an orbiting Battle School by military men unsure whether he will even survive the training, let alone actual battle.

While author OSC maintains a sparse descriptive style with the surroundings, he concentrates on filling out Ender into a living, breathing person of many facets who we feel deeply for as he is thrown into a grinding military program out to wring the last bit of humanity from him.

I loved how easily this book read, while at the same time presenting some serious ethical issues and allowing us to truly enter the mind of a child progeny and experience his arduous journey along side him. I'm not the only one as well; my wife, curious as to what was keeping my nose in the book for long stretches at a time, perused the first few pages and then delved headlong into the book right behind me. I ended up fighting for reading time just so I could finish before her!

Ender's Game is a terrific read; being touching, rollicking, and insightful all at the same time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This book manipulates and dehumanizes; it is an empty book., Dec 22 1996
By A Customer
Before considering reading this, I think that one should
look to Norman Spinrad's review of it as it appeared
in Issac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. Failing that,
at least realize that the entire book is a deliberate
button-pushing saga, following the patterns of human
mythology that are older then history, in a completely
manipulative way. Read Frank Herbert and you'll see that he
wants to show the emptiness of the Messiah complex; Card
celebrates it. Herbert wants to explore what humanity is
about; Card wants to explore how much money it has.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great as a standalone or an introduction to the rest of the series, Dec 31 2010
By 
Ria (Bibliotropic) (Saint John, New Brunswick Canada) - See all my reviews
This isn't the first time I've read this novel, but I'm engrossed and impressed by it every time I do. The subject matter covers the human condition, the ethics of war, what it means to be sentient, and what it means to be a child or an adult, touches on what people are willing to do when ther are (or at least feel they are) backed into a corner, and it does it all in a spectacularly entertaining way.

I have to admit, as much as I don't like the author as a person, the man sure can tell a good story!

Though the book is called Ender's Game, the story does not just follow Ender, but also gives us a glimpse into the lives of his siblings, at first deemed failures according to the purpose that somebody else gave them, but who find their own feet and end up changing the world in their own way, but a no less profound way than Ender himself did. Their stories are separate from Ender's and yet are still tied up in the events of his life, playing their parts.

I hear a lot of people dislike the use of the term 'buggers' for the alien race in the novel, saying that it's too reminiscent of, well, our use of the word 'bugger' for someone who engages in sodomy. I've heard people say that it's a childish use of the word and inappropriate to what's going on. Frankly, I think it serves its purpose well there. Name one society in human history that has not tried to denegrate their enemies, given them cruel and childish epithets in an attempt to raise local moral and to inspire a feeling of confidence in "our side." Ender himself thinks early on in the book that the buggers probably have their own pejorative terms for humans. It's the way we work. It's not pretty, it's not kind, but it's one of the ways we band together in times of crisis. The use of the word 'bugger' doesn't seem out of place at all, and I think a lot of these people have to remember that just because we have the same word, it doesn't mean that the words have the same meaning.

The book isn't perfect, though. No book is. Sometimes I wonder if Orson Scott Card wrote about child geniuses partly because they create interest and partly because he simply didn't know how to write interesting "normal" children. Having genius children sound like adults is a good way to write intelligent conversation between characters without having to suffer the accusation that you can't write realistic children. I've seen a few people fall into this trap. Card avoids some of this by having the children still give out fairly childish insults, like "fart-eater," but some of the feeling of avoiding writing real kids by writing genius "adult-sounding" kids is still there.

Still, I wouldn't pass up reading this for anything. It's a wonderful book, exploring many aspects of the philosophy of humanity and war while not bogging down the story in meaningless speculative conversations. Highly recommended novel. If you haven't read it yet, you ought to read it soon.
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5.0 out of 5 stars `I've watched through his eyes, I've listened through his ears, and I tell you he's the one.', Nov. 2 2010
This review is from: Ender's Game (Mass Market Paperback)
'Or at least as close as we're going to get.'

The central figure in this novel is Andrew `Ender' Wiggin, a six year old boy, born into a future world which has already suffered two invasions from a species commonly known as the buggers. Ender is monitored by the military for years before being recruited to join an elite group of children in training at battle school. Their mission? To protect the world against another invasion by the alien buggers.

Ender is viewed by the military as the one most likely to succeed and as a consequence he is singled out and pushed almost to his breaking point as he faces more frequent and more difficult obstacles than his classmates. Ender is promoted more rapidly than his classmates and then graduates to command school where he faces increasingly more difficult challenges and is pushed even harder. The external challenges that Ender has to face are tough enough, but it is his internal demons that are the hardest to face. The world may need Ender to save it from invasion, but Ender himself is at risk. Ender's sense of self is under constant attack: every aspect of his life is controlled and the world in which he lives has little time for individuality. Ender has a purpose, but not a place.

`If there was love or pity for him, it was only in his dreams.'

The world in which Ender lives is full of challenges to be overcome, constrained by regimented behaviour and absent of compassion. Whether this is justified by the circumstances (do the ends justify the means?) is an interesting question to consider while reading. While Ender is training to save the world from external invasion, his equally brilliant siblings Peter and Valentine are influencing the world internally by posing as adults and expressing political views via a global network that is similar to today's internet.

The world created by Orson Scott Card is a fierce place: the stakes are high and a lot of weight is resting on the shoulders of Ender. This is the first novel in a series I've been meaning to read for some time: now that I've started I'm keen to read the rest as soon as I can.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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4.0 out of 5 stars Ender's Game, Dec 7 2009
"Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card is about earth after Aliens called Formics have attacked and almost wiped out the humans, but the Formics were driven back and earth has a chance to prepare for the next encounter. The government takes to breeding military geniuses and training them and looking for the "One" who will be able to lead earth to a victorious battle against the Aliens.

The training is in forms of games, since training begins when the children are very young. Ender Wiggin seems to be the chosen one and the military brass single him out and train unmercifully and ostracize him from any potential friends. Ender really has no freedom to choose and plays the games to the very end.

Ender has a number of violent encounters with his fellow trainees and is portrayed as being innocent in those matters, but one has to question his complete innocence. He is a genius and he has moral fibre, but he can kill quickly and efficiently fellow classmates and consider himself free from the crime since it was self defence?

Ender's siblings add an interesting twist to the story, his older brother and sister did not make it to military training, but they are both geniuses. By using their abilities and computers they basically control the political environment on earth while Ender is away training is space.

I enjoyed this book, but must admit that it is not an uplifting book in any terms, I found it depressing; Ender's life pretty much sucks and I feel for the kid. I suppose that is what makes the novel worth reading, I gained an emotional attachment to Ender and I wanted him to be happy, but it just did not happen. A great read...I will check out the others.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply breathtaking., May 7 2009
By 
Jason A. Martin "Anjohl" (Torbay, NL, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Ender's Game (Hardcover)
I bought this book initially out of a combination of two serendipitous factors. Firstly, I had always heard OF O. S. Card, and Ender's Game, and secondly, watching some Babylon Five and Battlestar Galactica got me in a SciFi book mood for the first time in about 15 years.

I read Ender's game in 2 days. I am a fast reader, but I tend to savor a book. I had no choice but to DEVOUR this book much in the same way that the Buggers are portrayed by the Earth militia as devourers.

Ender's Game is in my opinion, a perfect amalgam of philosophy, a history lesson, epic scifi, as well as a riveting character drama.

The book deals with themes of what it means to grow up, alienation, isolation, and even delves into some political science at parts.

I have heard that Card wrote most of this when he himself was only 16 years old. The depth of the understanding of geopolitical issues, and the ways that intense stress and social relationships effect a person seem to indicate a very worldly and wise author, not a 16 year old.

My only complaint about the book is that it does have a bit of a bias towards the intellectual outcast vs. the physically dominating bully. I am guessing that this has in part a lot to do with Card's upbringing. This bias does the book no favors in portraying the "geeks" as virtuous warrior kings, straight out of Plato's Republic, while portraying the bullies as brutish neanderthallic thugs with little depth or merit.

All in all, I would rank book one of the Ender's saga a rare 5/5. In terms of fiction, the only other books I ever gave such an honor were Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. Donalson, as well as both Needful things and The Dark Tower by Stephen King.

In summary, epic, thought provoking book with a wealth of character development, that only slips due to the expectation of epicness in traditional space opera terms. 5/5.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, a MASTERPIECE!, Feb. 3 2009
By 
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Ender's Game is MY favorite novel, and excels in every category. It is fast-paced; we are plunged into the action from the very beginning, and the constant peak of action never drops till the end. Plus, many different concepts, such as the Battle School, space travel, futuristic weapons, are very intriguing. This kind of fast-action tale with a science-fiction touch makes is an outstanding classic in its category.

But most importantly, I like the story because of the deep characterization of all the people involved in the story. This is not a typical American/StarWars-like story; instead, it is deeper. There is something in Ender's character that I just can't get enough of. His way of understanding how people think, his way of thoroughly winning, and his compassion are all things that I admire.

Card does not use fancy words to describe little. To the contrary, he is downright frank, and quite straightforward. Yet, his story is so packed with substance that it echoes the very nature of human behavior. He successfully blends abstract issues in a realistic world. It is not empty action, the story is deep. In Ender's Game, many aspects like military, politics, manipulation are just so well reflected that the story itself is just utterly realistic. And that's what I think any good science-fiction novel should be: Fast-paced, a meaningful story, and real content (not just empty action).

I highly recommend Ender's Game for anyone who likes science-fiction, mind-oriented stories, politics, and military to pick up this bestseller immediately. People who like fast-paced action will not be disappointed.

Also, if you like audiobooks, the 20th anniversary edition of Ender's Game by Audio Renaissance is outstanding. I personally find it better listening to it than reading it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you like Harry Potter, you will love Ender's Game, July 15 2004
By 
Shon Tamblyn (Carmichael, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
ENDER'S GAME is my all time favorite book. Having been introduced to this book roughly 20 years ago, I have read and worn out many copies, and couldn't even tell you how many times I have read it. I have given away many copies as well, buying new ones as I use up or give away the old. At 226 pages (hardcover) the book is so compelling it can easily been read in one sitting.
It always amazes me when I run accross people who list this book as their favorite because to me the Sci-Fi genere has always seemed too obscure, and there are not many Sci-Fi books I enjoy reading.
As the Harry Potter series has successfully emerged, I have often drawn some comparisons between the two series and why they have attracted so much attention.
Both Ender's Game and Harry Potter have attracted an audience that would normally not indulge in the generes of Sci-Fi, Fantasy, or Children's books. While the Harry Potter series had attracted many adult readers, Ender's Game (which is not a children's book) has attracted many adolecent readers and acts as a bridge moving them into adult literature. Both Harry Potter and Ender's game tell the story of a young child (Ender is only 6 when the book starts)entering a dark and scary world, with a power neither one of them knew they possess. Both have enemies that they as children must conqure, with the fate of the world on their shoulders.
As a child (I believe I was eight or nine when I started reading Ender's Game)I believe it was those themes, along with the powerfully written characters that drew me to the book. As an adult I particularly enjoy the social issues the book raises, and seeing some of the science fiction become reality (the internet plays a heavy role in the book, even though it was non-existant at the time). Over time I have only grown to love and appreciate this book and would recomend it to anyone who loves to read fiction of any genere.
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Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (Mass Market Paperback - Feb. 18 2002)
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