by Orson Scott Card
Release Date: 1985
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'll admit - initially I had no desire to read this book. And, quite frankly, even when I decided to pick it up, I wasn't exactly what you'd call "enthusiastic". But this book came highly recommended and I'll admit that the movie looked really interesting. Anything sci-fi and action-packed usually catches my eye. However, even though this book was the talk of the blogosphere, I just couldn't do it.
I tried. I really did. But I just kept putting it down. There was nothing really there to keep me interested. It almost felt like a chore for me to finish this darn thing. Then, I finally started to get a bit interested, then lapsed back into "meh" mode, put it down and have yet to pick it up again. This book isn't bad per se, but I don't quite understand how so many people seem to love it (don't all bloggers say that about books they don't love?).
First off, this book is just. plain. weird. In short, this society had started breeding kids to become geniuses hoping they would get a future general to save earth. This society has been monitoring these kids from birth, keeping an eye on them and their development. So, when you start reading you're all like "oh, even though he's obviously got the intelligence of someone older, being a teenage genius isn't too weird". Then you realize he's 6....what? Here's this kid who is thinking like he's a highly intelligent adult and he's SIX?! It was so hard for me to remember that he was just a child while reading. He's going through so many situations no child should, but thinking through them like an adult. He's cold and calculating, however, there are definitely some instances where you can see his immaturity (when it comes to emotions and how to deal with them) and you realize he's just a kid.
Next comes the fact that not all of these geniuses were exactly good people. His brother for example? Going to grow up to be a serial killer. No doubt about it. He's like 10(?) and already threatening and blood-thirsty. Again - creepy.
So, getting past the age of the kids not equaling the level of intelligence they posses and the weird familial relationships (he's kind of got a weird love for his sister - or at least it came across odd) and you're headed to the space station. Cool. Space. I'm down with that.
So he's put in a squad and they hate him because he's like the genius of all geniuses. So, it starts to get interesting finally. Then the made up language comes in. Okay, I'm sorry, but if these kids are geniuses, shouldn't they speak grammatically correct at all times? Now, made up words tend to be a pet peeve of mine, but this just really got on my nerves. They're all geniuses but they start talking like their uneducated imbeciles. Incredibly annoying.
So, getting past all this, I thought I'd at least be interested in the plot. Nope. Maybe it's simply because I can't get past all the previously stated problems, but honestly, it just wasn't intriguing. I didn't really feel a threat from these so-called "aliens". They hadn't even appeared yet. Previous encounters were hardly talked about so it didn't really feel dangerous. Instead, it just felt like this society was controlling and messing with these kids because they could (seriously, is the threat even real?).
Overall, it just felt "meh". It wasn't so bad I wanted to throw it out the window, but I definitely don't understand what is so phenomenal about it either. In all honesty, I think the movie will probably be better than the book (the HERESY!).
Have any of y'all read the book? Do y'all agree or think I'm weird for thinking this book is weird? If you haven't read it, are you still interested? Let me know in the comments below!
All the best ♥