Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Ender's Game: 1 (The Ender Quintet)
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.
I did not think Ender's Game was my kind of book. I never would have picked it up to read had I not seen and enjoyed the movie. Really space things are not my thing usually. Not sure why, but I am not a big outer space fan. The movie was good though and I couldn't wait to read the book to see what more there might have been to the story.
Ender Wiggins is the last hope for humanity. He is just 6 years old when this book opens. He is incredibly smart and he is the one that the higher ups believe will be able to save them all. There was an alien bug invasion many years ago and since then they have been preparing to destroy them before they destroy us. They have to get the kids when they are young and train them, mold them into what they want. They really screw with Ender. They never let him be. Never let him really be happy. As soon as he is they mess it up. He is smart enough to know what is going on, but at the same time he feels the need to win the war against the bugs. He loves his sister and for her he will do this. For 6 years he is trained, with other kids, for the battle. Through the ups and down Ender preservers.
This book had a lot going on. Yes, Ender is training for the war. He is also trying to fight against bullies, figure out how to lead others, he takes note of what his current leader is doing wrong, or could be doing more effectively. He is really good at reading people, knowing what they need to make them follow him or whoever he wants them to. He can unify everyone. Ender has the right mix of compassion and cruelty for the higher ups. He doesn't want to hurt anyone, and he feels terrible when he is forced to. It really was an interesting read. I enjoyed seeing how Ender dealt with everything they threw at him. He is still a kid, and does make some mistakes or breaks down, but he is so strong and determined as well. It was better than I had expected. Then if you think about how young all of these kids are it is just amazing. I know it is not a true story, but it feels very much like it could happen.
There is also a storyline for Enders siblings, his sister Valentine and his brother Peter. Peter is who Ender hates, who he doesn't want to become. Peter likes killing things, likes violence, likes being cruel. Valentine, on the other hand, is the compassionate one. Ender is kind of a mix of both. Their storyline is more political, what is happening on earth while Ender and the other kids are at battle school trying to learn to destroy the bugs. What will happen when they do defeat the bugs? Peter is planning for this and it was interesting to read. I really enjoyed this book. The end is kind of sad, but hopeful. You just feel bad for Ender and everything he has had to go through. Great read.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★1/2