So I finished reading the Ender series, or to be precise the first three books from the #Enderverse. It has 10 books apparently, although I doubt I’m going to go much further – will probably read the 4th, but that’s it.
I’d already seen the movie – Ender’s game – a while back, it had piqued my interest in the books. The movie ended on a similar note to the first book – with questions left to be answered, and I wanted answers. So I started with the first book.
Book 1: Ender’s Game
The sci-fi adventure novel is pretty straightforward, it’s the story of a young ‘philosophically-orphaned’ child born in a semi-dystopian future coming to realize his role in the shaping of this world while leading humanity against the alien race called ‘buggers’.
The narrator switches between a neutral narrative, to Ender’s point of view and sometimes even takes the position of the characters around him.
The book is primarily divided into three parts – Ender’s ‘escape’ from his family, his evolution at the military school and his engagement with the alien race of buggers.
The character of Ender is fleshed out well, so is his part of the story. How he thinks, the struggles he goes through within and with the outside world.
Ender’s journey is full of struggles; being a tormented younger brother, seemingly unwanted child to a scrawny kid in a military academy. This journey serves well to highlight his acumen as a strategist; the way he uses empathy to understand and counter his antagonists both physically and philosophically.
Ender’s sister Valentine is one of the more interesting characters. He strange co-dependence on both Ender and Victor is confounding yet understandable. One is based on affection the other on fear.
What I liked
What I loved the most about the book is how it goes beyond being a sci-fi novel and pauses on certain moments to dig deeper into how Ender thinks, makes decisions and ‘manages’ people – whether it’s people from his squad, his superiors or the bullies – especially the bullies. There are some aspects of the book which reminded me of intricate gameplay in many video games where the player gets to choose the choices – good or bad – that the character gets to make and that will determine the end of the story.
In this book as well, Ender’s intellect is never in question, his motivations are. The two sides of his personality empathy and ruthless ambition are reflected perfectly through his siblings – Valentine and Victor.
The buggers, the greatest adversity humanity has ever seen, is an interesting race. The narrator holds back information on the buggers, what they are and what human existence is to them and that takes the book to another level.
What a lot of sci-fi/adventure fans will love about the book is Ender’s journey at the military school where Ender has to face a constant stream of challenges that keep getting tougher and tougher as time passes testing Ender on every parameter possible.
Who should read Ender’s Game?
The book is a good read for sci-fi enthusiasts, 14-year-olds and above. The book does have some strong language and explores the philosophy of death and existence, so I’d leave it to the parents to decide.
In my next article, I’ll write my review of the second book of Enderverse – The Speaker for the Dead.