Monday, October 13, 2014

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Since I'm always late when it comes to jumping on bandwagons, I just finished Ender's Game. I haven't gotten a chance to see the movie yet, so I was basically reading the book for the first time, not knowing what to expect.

Woah. That's all I can say. I'm still in disbelief that Ender was a 6 year old boy when the book started, and an 11 year old when the war ended. What was I doing back then? Just reading books under the table,

If you haven't read the story, basically, Ender's Game is the story of how you can brainwash a little boy into becoming the commander of a large army which "protects" earth. Your tactics are isolation, emotional manipulation and just plain lying.

Does that sound bleak? Well, this book is bleak. Most of the book is told from Ender's POV, and you can tell how close they are to breaking his spirit. And when the book switches to other characters, you see just how cruel they are, by purposely stacking the odds against him in hopes of making him the best commander ever - or a broken shell of a boy.

While Ender is off training, his older brother and sister are taking over the world. Peter is cruel, just so cruel, but good at what his does. His older sister Valentine is supposed to be too "soft-hearted", but she ends up helping Peter because he knows how to push her buttons. Sadly, Peter succeeds in his goals despite being such an odious person (first impressions are hard to get rid off).

Ender's Game is bleak, yes, but it also touched me. Ender is brave, much braver than he gives himself credit for. The bleakness in the book feels a lot like this world. I was actually going to type "but at least we haven't started exploiting children", then I remembered about the child soldiers used by Hamas, Sudan, and many parts of the world; and the use of child workers in many other countries as well. So yes, we are using children and that's a terrible thing. Just look at this book to imagine the emotional, mental and physical toll it can take.

Will I read more of this book? Before I finished it, I felt that I wouldn't need to, because it works well as a standalone book. But, after I finished the last page, I'm actually quite curious about the future of the Buggers. If a later book address what happens to them, I'll probably read it.

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