Katherine Recommends ENDER’S GAME

Eighth grader Katherine DeMonnin from Hillsboro, Oregon recommends. . .

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Games have always been, for children, a time for fun, but in Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, it’s time for Ender to put a new edge to children’s games. Ender’s Game for me has been phenomenal; there was not a moment when I was reading it that I felt that I should stop. Every single word that you read gets you addicted to Ender’s Game. From Card’s in-depth characters, to the well thought plot line, there has been not one aspect of this book that I have not enjoyed to the fullest extent.

The story of Ender’s Game starts with our protagonist Andrew Wiggin, (aka Ender) as a six-year-old boy born in the future. In this future, Earth has taken part in two wars with an alien species called the Buggers. The human population is now strictly ordered, and the government decides who gets to have children. In this place, Ender is a third, or, third child. The International Fleet, whose mission is to prepare for the next Bugger war, watches children through monitors that have been ingrained onto the back of their necks from a young age, including Ender, to see who can be trained and become the next generation of soldiers protecting Earth from the Buggers. The I.F. had originally wanted Ender’s older brother Peter, but when they found that Peter was too cruel for the role, the Wiggins were allowed to have Ender, a Third, a reject of the future world. In most cases this would bring turmoil, and a feeling of self-consciousness to the child, but Ender is not daunted by the label of third and excels in every way. Thanks to Ender’s accomplishments, he, and the people around him, thought he would make it as a solider to fight in the Bugger wars.  That is, until he got his monitor removed. After the monitor is removed Ender is attacked by Stilson and his groupies. When Ender defends himself,  his actions sends off a chain of events that leads to Ender being sent into space to attend Battle School. There, he and other children are forced to take harsh training that takes the form of war games, played as both a computer simulation (video games) and combat practice in a zero gravity chamber called the Battle Room. Ender learns the laws and physics of the Battle room much quicker than the rest of his classmates, and becomes commander of his own platoon ridiculously early for his age. But Colonel Graff, commanding officer of the Battle School (or principal) continues to push Ender to his limits. Graff is playing games too–it seems, with Ender as the main piece. The I.F. is looking at Ender as humanity’s new savior; what happens when Ender’s endurance is tested beyond normal human limits?

One lovable part of Ender’s Game is the characters. Each character that was in Ender’s Game was well thought out, understandable, and each had their own personality, their own life. None of the characters in Ender’s Game were made out to be extras:  each one had a different point of view, and none their own life. The characters to me seemed to pop out of the story with their personalities, from Ender’s sister Valentine, with a caring, loving, and understanding personality, to the battle school principal, Colonel Graff, who loves children but is conflicted by putting stress on Ender. All the characters come alive when you start reading. But I guess what character I should give the most credit to is the protagonist Ender Wiggin.  His personality is what makes the story shine to me. Ender is always the observing, always the intellectual one, and yet the one who has to take all weight of his job. One of my favorite quotes that Ender had said is, “It was a lie, of course, that it wouldn’t hurt a bit. But since adults always said it when it was going to hurt, he could count on that statement as an accurate prediction of the future. Sometimes lies were more dependable than the truth.” Ender says this in the beginning when he is only six years old. This for me told me a lot about who Ender was, and how he has lived his life with a trustless childhood. It is natural to give pity to Ender, but to me, he is what makes this book one of best I have ever read.

In Ender’s Game, children are the main characters. Children are one who carries the largest burden put upon them; it’s the children who get ready for the future, and the children who have to protect the future. The adults in Ender’s Game are manipulative, and almost never as intelligent as any of the kids, and yet they always put all the weight on people who aren’t supposed to have any responsibility in the first place. When I finished reading Ender’s Game I thought about all the hurtles that Ender had to go through, all the pain he had to suffer, and how much pain that all children endure. Even though people who are young are labeled as ‘children,’ sometimes they go through as much, or even more than adults in their short time frame. If there is one thing that Ender’s Game has taught me is that children can go through just as much as adults and that you don’t have to be old to do great things.

Ender’s Game is considered by some, to be the best sci-fi novel ever written.  The winner of the Hugo awards and the Nebula winner, Orson Scott Card brings us a new and exhilarating story to the science fiction scene. The story is deeply emotional and character-driven, brilliantly intellectual, and exciting as the newest action movie. This is the kind of book that the phrase “page-turner” was invented for. Most people who start reading Ender’s Game finish it in one sitting, unable to put it aside. But the images and ideas given to them by reading Ender’s Game linger long after the last thrilling, and satisfying page is turned. Even for reluctant readers, or even for people who hate science fiction, it is an enjoyable read; I know I hated to even look at science fiction before I read Ender’s Game. Along with story of Ender’s brother and sister, its view of politics in the Internet age is clearly seen and appreciated, especially considering it was written decades ago. Although Ender’s Game wasn’t written for children, it has been embraced by not only middle, but high-schoolers as well.. The violence in the book can be quite disturbing to some parents, but the story of Ender’s Game is one that, if your parents don’t want you to read it, and you’re good at not getting caught, you should read it behind their backs. Ender’s Game has been a story that I will never forget, and the only thing I have ever regretted about reading it was that I didn’t read it sooner.

~~~

Several of Katherine’s classmates have also allowed us to publish reviews of what they’re currently reading.  And for recommendations from kids of all ages, check out our Kids Recommend section.

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