Aaah, the joy of finding a new author to love! Is there truly anything better? And last weekend, I found one. I was at the movies and a preview for Ender’s Game came on. It looked intriguing, especially when they said it was based on the international best-selling book. I thought, hmm, that’s weird I haven’t heard of it. So when I got home, I looked it up. It was published in 1985, when I was twelve. I forgave myself for not being aware of it.
Then I picked up the original version (there’s also a movie tie-in version), and brought it home. And if it had been an option, I would have ignored the rest of the world for the next twenty four hours. It’s one of those books. You know the type, you just wish the word would go away so you could finish the story without interruption.
Enders Game by Orson Scott Card is set way in the future after we have been visited by aliens whom we were barely able to repel. In response, the world unites to find the best and the brightest to be the future military officers who will finally defeat this foe. And where do they look? At the children. And the lucky(?) chosen are sent to Battle School, in space, where they are cut off from all family and friends.
Andrew Higgins, aka Ender, is chosen. But not only is he chosen, he is believed to be THE best and the brightest. He is to be groomed to lead the entire fleet. At the ripe old age of six, he is placed in Battle School and he has to grow up. Fast.
Okay, so far, it sounds like your run of the mill sci-fi adventure. But it is not. Card does an incredible job of letting you see the world and the people around Ender through Ender’s eyes. And those eyes, albeit, young are sharp and wise beyond their years. Yet, at the same time, his thoughts are still tinged with a child-like vulnerability. You want the best for Ender, especially when those around him seem determined to make life for him as difficult as possible to prepare him to lead.
It is both heart breaking and inspiring to see Ender shoulder the responsibility placed on his young shoulders. You root for him, cry for him, and just wish the world could give him a break. Or maybe a friend. At the same time, you see the logic in his decisions. And the action! It is page turning and chock full.
When trying to come up with a similar book, I naturally thought of The Hunger Games. But then I realized that wasn’t true. The sci-fi and action are only a backdrop for the story. Not the focus. The story is about human interactions and perseverance. Which made me realize it is actually like another favorite of mine, The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay. They are both stories about boys who realize the incredible power they both hold. That power comes from their commitment to make a difference.
After I finished the book (and, yes, I did that in one day), I went out and bought five more books from the series. I am officially an Orson Scott Card groupie. So if you need a new reading addiction, check out Ender’s Game. But be warned, your life may have to go on hold until you finish it! 🙂