The Sentimental Factor of Zero Gravity

A Review of Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

I don’t even know how long Ender’s Game has been on my To Read list. I have a terrible knack of waiting forever before picking up the books I’ve wanted to read the longest. And now I’ve been putting off writing a review of it. Does anyone else feel a lot of pressure when they’re about to review such a beloved, popular book? Anyways, (deep breath) here we go. I’ve tried to avoid any spoilers.

Ender’s Game – 4/5 

This is one of those books I can enjoy more looking back on it than during the actual reading process, because frankly I didn’t enjoy reading it. I tend to rate books based on how much they make me feel, but Ender’s Game didn’t make me feel much at all in the conventional sense. The source of the problem, I think, is the tone throughout the book, which was as calculated and cerebral as Ender himself.

That overall feel of the book kinda soured everything. First of all, I didn’t really like any of the characters. I could understand their logic or reasoning, but they all seemed to have such an objective, inhuman outlook on the world that made it hard to sympathize or care much for them. I also never got hooked on it…you know, that point in a story where you’re anxious to see how things turn out. Even the battles, which were undoubtedly the most exciting parts of the book, were bogged down by the tactical play by play to the point that I just wanted it to end regardless of the outcome. I also saw that final twist at the end coming from a mile away. If it’s not already clear, this just isn’t my kind of book.

So why the high rating? Because I appreciate it, and acknowledge its importance. The characters, however detached I felt from them, were developed, with multiple layers to their desires and motivations. The storyline was unique, yet accessible enough for those of us that don’t often pick up Science Fiction. And I’ll say it again–this book is important. What it has to say is important. I’m glad I read it and hope others will too, especially teenage boys who love to sit in front of a TV screen and massacre virtual people, or dream of becoming a soldier without realizing what the consequences are to war and power and control. Without realizing how much is lost in those acts of violence. I may not have liked the book much, and it’s highly unlikely I’ll pick it up again, but I truly appreciate it, and all it has to say.

Relatedly…

I was kind of shocked by how many of my friends read this book when they were younger and loved it. I even found it hard to believe that this book is marketed as Young Adult. I don’t see how most teenagers could finish the book; it all felt so very “adult” to me. Did I miss the best reading of this book possible because I picked it up later in life? Is there something to be said for putting the books we read when we were younger on a pedestal because of the nostalgia factor? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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