Hogwarts Minus the Gravity: Part 1 of a Review of Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Talk about reviewing old books. Ender’s Game was a book written quite a while ago. It was recently adapted into a feature film which I have yet to see, but plan to once it releases on iTunes. So, needless to say, this will be a review of the book, but even more specifically, this is going to be a review of content.

In my “Welcome” post, I outlined a game plan that I had. When I came across a book that warranted it, I would do two posts. The first would be talking about the plot, characters, setting, etc. In essence, all the things you would normally expect in a review. The second post would be an analysis of the worldview, or the philosophy on display in the book. Ender’s Game is the first book I’m reviewing here that needs two posts. This first post will simply be about the story. I’ll save the philosophy for my post tomorrow.

Ender’s Game follows a young boy named Ender Wiggin. He’s a strategical genius, and the government knows it. They take Ender to Battle School, which is like Hogwarts, but in Zero-G. There, Ender begins to learn battle techniques and tactics. Why is the government doing this? They’re doing it because there’s an impending invasion of aliens–and they only barely survived the previous invasion. With time running out, Ender has to ask himself a question: is it worth becoming a ruthless killer to save the world?

Let me begin by just saying this: wow. This book is incredible. The author, Orson Scott Card, created amazing characters, moral dilemmas, and, of course, action scenes. From the time I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. Card wastes no time getting the story, and the character development, started.

One of the things I loved about this book was that instead of separating the character development from the action, the action was the character development, and vice versa. Some of my favorites stories are the ones in which you can’t distinguish between plot, character, theme, and world without destroying one of those four. Ender’s Game is exactly like this.

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, so I’ll simply say that it was incredibly tense. The impending doom of the human race provided a nice ticking clock that pushed the entire plot forward at breakneck speed. The fast-paced life that Battle School participants live only added to tension, resulting in a book that keeps the reader turning pages.

And, unlike some incredibly tense stories, it pays off in the climax. I won’t say anything else about it, though, for fear of spoiling it.

The characters were equally stunning. Again, like I said above, I can’t separate character from plot in this without destroying one of them, but suffice to say that the character arcs worked perfectly. Ender’s desire to not become what the government’s trying to make him is fully engaging. He’s a complex character, and one that the reader fully sympathizes and connects with.

There’s not much more I can say without spoiling anything, so, very simply, read this book. Do yourself a favor, and read it. The philosophy and worldview are a bit sketchy, but I’ll talk more about that tomorrow.