Monday, November 4, 2013

Audio Review of Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Title: Ender's Game
Author: Orson Scott Card
Narrators: Stefan RudnickiHarlan EllisonAmanda KarrScott Brick, and John Rubinstein
Published by: Macmillan Audio
Length: 11 hrs, 12 min
Source: Library
Format: Audio
Rating: 4 stars

Summary from Goodreads: 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. Enter Andrew "Ender" Wiggin, the result of decades of genetic experimentation. 

Is Ender the general Earth so desperately needs? The only way to find out is to throw him into ever-harsher training at Battle School, to chip away and find the diamond inside, or destroy him utterly. Ender Wiggin is six years old when his training begins. He will grow up fast. 

But Ender is not the only result of the experiment. His two older siblings, Peter and Valentine, are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Among the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

I know, I know....How could I have not read this book until now? For being a teen in the late 90s/early 2000s there were not a lot of young adult books for me to read.  I was an avid reader (no surprise there) and somehow around 3rd or 4th grade switched immediately to adult books.  I remember getting in trouble in middle school for reading a Mary Higgins Clark book during class.  I was such a rebel.  It was sad though because there was not really a market for young adult books (maybe Sweet Valley High, and R.L. Stine books, I guess).  Anyway this long, but not pointless, rant was to say that somehow I missed this priceless gem while growing up.

Ender's Game, while it was a brilliant novel, started out slow for me.  When I picked out the audio from the library, I wasn't really sure what it was about as I didn't read any reviews (or the back of the audio either); I knew I just wanted to read it before the movie came out.  However, the narrators voices were so engaging that I couldn't help but get sucked into the story.  I found myself completely enthralled with this book and would often not want to get out of my car when I arrived at my destination just to listen to a little more.

All of the characters in this novel were so complex.  They are multi-layered and you easily find yourself wanting to know more about them.  Not only what type of people they were, but what their thoughts, opinions, and motives were as well.  Ender is what I would consider a battle strategist prodigy.  He was sought out at a young age for his skills, but his passion and drive are what really made him excel far beyond what anyone imagined.  There was a lot of self-reflecting on Ender's part and that is what made me realize this wasn't just a sci-fiction novel, it was much deeper than that.  

The world that Orson Scott Card created is surreal.  The planet is getting attached by alien-type beings called Buggers, but the battle school and later the training facilities are what amazed me the most.  I could vividly imagine both of these places and let me tell you they are not places I'd like to be.  At first I kind of imagined a boarding school type environment, but instead battle school was more of a boot-camp that not only tested you physically, but also psychologically as well.    

I haven't read the other novels in this series and I don't think I will.  I liked the way this novel ended and I feel like it was a complete journey for me.  I know there are four other books in the saga and maybe after seeing the movie I'll want to read more.  

Has anyone read the entire saga?  What did you think of the later books?


  1. Ender's Game is actually the first book of two different sagas. It's original "sequel", Speaker for the Dead, takes place many years later, after the end of Ender's Game. The other saga begins with Ender's Shadow, which references a little boy named Bean (the titular shadow) and takes place pretty much parallel to Ender's Game. That's followed by the Hegemony books which are about politics on earth, after the Bugger wars.

    I've read Ender's Shadow and I think I found Ender a lot more sympathetic in it than I did in Ender's Game. He was just this little tiny boy, but he was wracking up quite a body count before he even reached puberty. Ender was kind of scary and what the government did to him was unconscionable. I'm still by turns amazed and horrified by those books.

    1. Wow I didn't realize that Ender's Game started out two different sagas. That is crazy.

  2. My hubby loved this series, but I haven't read yet


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