Monday, February 13, 2012

Ender's Game

Please, don't all start throwing things at once, but I didn't really like this book.

2 stars.

This review is pretty much one big rant, so if you loved this book, you might not want to read any further.

Deep breath?


My general impression of the book was that it started out with a really cool premise, but never really developed in a satisfying way. The writing was juvenile and immature, and the characters and story came across as flat and meaningless. There was absolutely no depth to it. The dialog seemed phony and contrived, and there were a lot of sentences that didn't make much sense. If you want to check, I made note that chapter 9 was particularly bad. There was just no beauty in the language, and that was disappointing.

It got super repetitive and boring during the time he was at the battle school. It was like reading a book about laser tag!  It briefly got interesting again when he moved on to the command school, but it was disappointingly predictable.  I predicted how it would end pretty early in the story. I think it was right after their first battle in the battle school.

The conclusion of the novel was extremely disappointing, very confusing, and far too long.
The book simply refused to end!

Seriously, I have never been so desperate for a book to end. The last 15 pages felt like an eternity!
I was literally in agony because I wanted the book to be over so badly. It actually felt like the last mile of a long and painful race, where you are so close, but you are in pain and just want it all to be over. Finishing this book was a miserable experience.

Part of me wishes that I had read this book when I was much much younger. Maybe then I would have liked it better. I didn't anticipate this being a problem though because so many adults seem to love this book.
I thought it was one of the worst sci-fi novels I have ever read.

Despite all of my complaining, I recognize that there was a lot of stuff in the story that would probably be fun for kids to read.
If I were the editor, I would have made two major changes to improve the book.
First, I would delete everything that had to do with Peter's plans for world domination. It was just ridiculous and didn't work.
Second, I would have ended the novel right after Ender finishes his mission and goes to sleep. Ender even suggests this very thing in the book! When Valentine is writing his life story, he tells her that he should end her account after his last battle! Orson Scott Card should have taken his own advice...
If the book had those changes, I would probably bump my rating up to 3 stars, maybe 3 and a half...

The ending was particularly unsatisfying because they reveal that the whole war was just one big misunderstanding due to lack of communication. Which makes everything a tragic waste, and makes planet earth one big colony of ignorant racists. Really disappointing.

By the way, I laughed out loud when the author threw in the phrase "holy writ". Really Orson...really?

1 comment:

Levi Dean (Lord Wheezy) said...

I'm really sad that you didn't enjoy Ender's Game. I really love the book and the rest of the series and the spin-off Bean series is great too.

I don't get how the "writing was juvenile and immature". Although it is one of cards early works so his writing style was still developing. You should try How to Train Your Dragon, it is juvenile and immature.

I also disagree with your two "editorial" changes. While the parts about Peter trying to take over the world can be tedious at time; it give up a peak into his and Valentine's live and not just Ender's five year old memories of them. It sets the whole scope of how Ender sees himself. Not to mention becoming a factor in the rest of the series.

Second, the ending is great. It redeems and give hope to a boy who thought he had done the unforgivable. It give him a sense of hope in the future and a purpose. And while it seems to make humanity look like "ignorant racists," the rest of the series clears that up and give validation to humanities acts.

I would suggest giving Speaker for the Dead a try or Ender's Shadow. Both are really good and might get you hooked on the series.

But I also recognize that everyone's literary tastes are different. And that's a good thing.