I remember first hearing about Ender’s Game as an undergraduate. Some English majors from my freshman dorm had been assigned the book for one of their classes, and they absolutely loved it. I made a mental note about it, but since I wasn’t entirely sure what the book was about, I never followed through by actually reading it. I had forgotten all about it until I started seeing advertisements for the movie last fall. I wanted to see the movie without ruining the book, so I figured I had better start reading!
Everyone on Earth knows that another war is coming with the Buggers, an alien race who have nearly destroyed humans twice before. Someone comes up with a strategy of gathering child geniuses from all over the world and training them to become military leaders. They hope to find a gifted general who can save Earth, despite the Buggers’ superior technology. Ender is younger and smaller than his classmates, but even among his genius peers, his gifts for leadership and military strategy make him stand out. At first, this creates problems with his classmates, but gradually he begins to find friends. He learns to lead them, unaware of the constant supervision and guidance of the Battle School teachers. Will Ender be able to become the general they need? And will he be ready in time?
The best thing about this book is the characters. The author has populated his story with many well-drawn, unique individuals. In fact, getting to spend time with each of them is the main reason you should read the book and not just see the movie. The plot has several surprising twists, and the characters face multiple challenges in multiple settings, which really held my interest as a reader.
While this book is not to be missed, I also highly recommend the movie! So many film adaptations of books turn out to be a huge disappointment for readers, but they did an excellent job on this one! The time constraints of a movie meant getting to see less of the minor characters, but the final product is still true to the original novel. (And I think that is the highest praise for movies based on books.)
I give this book five stars. I have already recommended it to other readers, and I know I will happily read it again in the future. ★★★★★