Well, this was unexpected. This month I originally wanted to read and review the first of Matthew Farrer’s Warhammer 40k novels. My plans changed, though, when I found Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game sitting on my bookshelf. I remembered that it was a book I had wanted to read ever since middle school. I decided to read just a few pages to get a taste before reading Farrer, but a few pages turned into a dozen, and then a dozen pages turned into whole chapters. I was pleasantly surprised how good this book is! I had heard positive reviews before, but it was a thrill to read such a gripping science fiction novel.
First, the pacing is phenomenal. I devoured this book within a week. The only times I stopped reading was because I had to sleep or work on other projects before getting back in. The fight scenes and mock battles held at the school are well-written and the suspense building throughout each chapter is great.
The characters are believable, although many times the children sound more like adults. I suppose it is possible, considering that Ender and his siblings all seem to be child prodigies that are mature way beyond their years. It is also plausible because the brutal training these children go through is designed to crush their innocence and turn them into cold, calculating killers.
Although I enjoyed reading this book, I wanted to see more with Peter, Ender’s malicious older brother who plots to take over the world while Ender is training to become supreme commander of the IF fleet. It seems like the novel is building up to a final conflict between these two brothers, but it goes nowhere. At the end of the book, Peter dies of old age as the supreme ruler of Earth while Ender goes off with his sister to live on a new planet after their victory over the aliens. I wonder what life on Earth is like under Peter’s rule. Is he as cruel as he was as a child? Was his quest for power worth the effort?
Either way, this was still a joy to read and I would highly recommend it. I hear the second is also good, but the third and fourth books in the series are disappointing. I’m still willing to read them for myself and make my own judgement.