Monday, October 14, 2013

Ender's Game

The film Ender's Game has been making a lot of buzz but it was before I even knew a film was being created that I had heard of this book. It's been around longer than I have been alive and yet I never read it. Sci-fi is not of my interest, not really, and as a kid I avoided books with a male protagonist like the plague. Being older now and seeing how many people read this book and enjoyed it, I wanted to give it a try. But, as is often the case, it kept getting pushed aside until recently.

I can see how this book would attract space-loving tweens but it certainly was not a book of my interests. I dragged through it and I felt much of the book could have been shortened up.

We're introduced to the world of the future, where we fought an alien race and won but have to always prepare for another battle. Not only that, but we have the ability to inhabit other planets, or at least that's the hope.

Ender, the youngest of three children in a world where it appears two is the preferred number, is "chosen" and taken away to train for this possible battle. The book follows Ender as he grows older, trains, and succeeds. For me, this was boring. Ender is generally off on his own, he makes few friends, and those whom he does become friends with he keeps at a distance. Most of the book follows Ender, as he's the main character, but there are breaks where the reader is brought back to earth and given the opportunity to follow someone else -- Ender's sister, Valentine.

Valentine and Ender had a strange relationship. They were extremely close to one another up until Ender left but even then, Ender thinks of Valentine often and she seems to be what pulls him back from developing too much of blood lust. Valentine, along with a power hungry older brother, have begun to post opposing political opinions that the world seems to be gobbling up.

For me, Valentine was much more interesting a character and had much more depth. Ender was... lacking emotion. He did what he did and maybe he felt so much that it wasn't coming across, I'm not sure, but I just found that I didn't feel for him.

Another aspect of the book that bothered me was that the children, which are literally children (under 10!), spoke with more eloquence than most adults do. Children can be articulate but I felt that it was harder to believe that small children were creating concepts and political strategies at such a young age.

In general, the book bored me and frustrated me. I felt that it often dragged and I found I had no emotional attachment to any of the characters in its pages. I like to feel emotion for the characters I read about, otherwise I feel it's a bit of a wasted effort. This won't be a book I'll be reading again, I just didn't enjoy it.

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