Ender’s Game

I finished this book a few weeks ago, and am in the third of this series, but the first two are too spectacular to not mention. Now, if you haven’t seen the movie or read any of the books, only read this first paragraph and then the last one, but that’s it! The story (in my opinion) is too good to be ruined by a blog review. The premise is a futuristic world where earth has been attacked by aliens and our government is relying on the military to find a general who can annihilate any future threats.
Okay, SPOILERS from here on out. I was first introduced to Ender’s game when Hubby took me to see the movie in theaters. It was brilliantly done, as well as shocking to someone who didn’t know the plot. However, as much as I liked the movie, the book was so much better (I know, as always). The subtle differences between them made it an almost completely different story. Ender is in fact only six when the story begins. He is being bullied in school and decides to end this and all future attacks by silencing his bully. He actually kills him. He doesn’t know until much later, and that is not his intention, but it happens nonetheless. The military is watching him and decides he is the right child for the job. His older brother was too menacing, and his older sister was too kind, they believe he has the right amount of ruthlessness mixed with humanity. One of the lines that struck me is when Colonel Graff comes to take Ender away, Ender reaches up to grab his hand as he less him away from his family, away from his home, to Battle school where he will learn to fight buggers. All I could picture is Des being led away from our home, and not knowing when he would come back. I cried. I cried many times throughout the story.
Battle school is where Ender is subjected to torture from his peers, complete isolation from his family, and assumed apathy from his superiors. He always works to better his combat skills and they are put to the test time and time again. The entire time his teachers are watching to see how he handles everything they throw at him. He moves through the tasks at an astonishing speed because his mind works quicker than anyone else. This is over the course of a few years, but it is still faster than any of his classmates. At one point, he has a commanding officer named Bonzo who is threatened by Ender and shows it in hostility. As Ender gains command of his own army and is quickly the center of attention by having highest scores in all battle categories, some of the other boys notice, or resent. Bonzo find out when Ender is alone, and confronts him in the shower (with a bunch of boys as backup). He is aiming to seriously injure and possibly kill. Ender defends himself, and decides to end this and all future fights. Again. He hurts Bonzo well enough that Ender can walk away, and, again, he finds out much later that the boy was killed.
Still a young child, he has killed two boys older and bigger than he is, but on accident! He knew if he didn’t win against Bonzo he would have died, so he protected himself. The sickness behind all this is the teachers. They see everything that happens, they never intervene. Mostly because they are seeing how well Ender reacts to any situation. They never want him to think that adults will come to his rescue when he gets in trouble. It’s effective. What worries me, is they let Bonzo die. They knew about the first boy, they knew a one-on-one fight would likely end in death of either boy, and they deemed Bonzo as a necessary sacrifice. Sick.
Now, battle school is over and he is ready to perform his final challenge to graduate, like final exams. They take him to a distant planet and put him through a rigorous exercise with simulated battles and his own team of child commanders working under him. Each battle gets harder until the final test when he encounters a planet covered with ‘buggers’ the alien species that had attacked earth. He maneuvers well enough to destroy the entire planet and everything on it. He is happy, he finally passed and is through with their tests.
The teachers tell him, it was not a simulation, he just destroyed the home world of the buggers and every bugger left. They praise him and tell him he did what they thought could never be done.
He is a child. Just a child and he has effectively annihilated an entire species without any knowledge. I can’t even imagine what that would to anyone let alone a child! They used him, as a tool to protect humankind, but it almost destroys him.
There is so much more to this story than I can possibly attempt to portray here, but I am not done with the series yet! Please read this book and the others with it! I didn’t think I would be interested much because I don’t particularly like science fiction, but it is about humanity. It is not just confusing terms and concepts, but the basic questions of being human. Well, don’t take my word for it, experience it yourself! I count this as a book from a genre I don’t usually read, science fiction. It may become one of my favorite series ever.

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