Ender’s Game was really the book that started it all; the book that made me fall in love with Fantasy and Science Fiction. I was assigned the book by my 8th Grade Advanced English Teacher and delayed reading the first 5 assigned chapters until 9:00 p.m. the night before they were due…then proceeded to read the novel until about 4 in the morning. I could not put it down. I was transfixed by the world Card created and have adored the genre ever since.
My tattered copy of Ender’s Game still sits in the drawer next to my bed. Two other copies are displayed prominently on my bookshelf (one mass-market paperback, one hardback). I’ll never have another reading experience quite like Ender’s Game. It forever opened up a universe of incredible reads by incredible authors in the Fantasy and Science Fiction Genres.
Ender’s game is a simple, hero’s journey story…where children are being trained as soldiers to protect the world from the next alien invasion. Ender is a “third” child, in a world where governments cap births at two. But the United States government gave his family permission to have a third child because they believed he would be a promising soldier. Ender is ostracized for being a “third”, but the government’s hopes for what Ender can be are proven to be right and he is chosen for the prestigious Battle School in outer space.
The heart of this book takes place at the Battle School where Ender is shaped to be a great military commander. He enters Battle School at 6 years old and we follow him as he is trained, moves through multiple armies within the school, and continues to excel. The time jumps, and progression as Ender ages are handled beautifully with his relationships at Battle School developed deftly even as things move quickly.
We believe in Ender, love Ender, and so do most of those that serve with him and under him. But the paradox is that as Ender becomes a leader to be loved and believed in by his classmates, he increasingly hates the person the teachers at the school are shaping him to be. Ender’s internal battle as he strives to excel but also be the person he wants to be is the thread that makes this story so excellent. It’s what keeps me coming back again and again and again and again and again…