Saturday, January 25, 2014

Book Review: Ender's Game - YA fiction

Time for a little break from the personal oversharing with my 'Less is More' saga! (You can catch up here)

'Ender's Game' by Orson Scott Card was written in 1985.  I didn't know this when I started reading it and assumed it was more recent because he uses technology like the internet and iPads (not called this in the books, but the same concepts) throughout the story.  Incredible really when you realise when it was written.

It's a science fiction book.  Not my genre at all.  But it had been recommended by so many different people that I really thought I should give it a go.  It ended up being my one of my favourite books of 2013 and I even convinced my 15 year old son to read it (unheard of that we'd enjoy a sci fi book together!).

The story is set in the future where, 50 years earlier, Earth has survived two invasions by an alien, insect-like race.  Now there appears an imminent threat of another invasion and children are selected to train from when they are very young.  Ender is six at the start of the story and he is chosen to go train at Battle School (out in earth's orbit) because he is selected for his ability to both strategise and empathise with brilliance.  He is called Ender because he is a third child when only two children are permitted per family.  He turns out to be quite brilliant and ruthless (there is a fair amount of violence) and moves through the ranks quickly.  By the time he is 11 years old, he up to a serious level of leadership.

It is a very complex story and so me trying to summarise it isn't going to be very successful.  In true style for young adult books, only the young can save humans from destruction.  But I enjoyed the strategy and the complexity of this book.

Great book for a true sci fi fan (and those who are not so much in my case!).  I'd recommend this for 13+.

Note:  I also just saw the movie with my son.  We enjoyed the movie a lot because it covered the basic gist of the book (and it has Harrison Ford in it - good to see him back in space) but we did spend a lot of the trip home discussing all that wasn't in it when compared to the book.  Still fun to see.

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