Review – Ender’s Game

This book falls into the books I’ve always meant to read but never got around to stack. This ended up being the June pick for the online book club I joined, and though I read it earlier this year, I thought it was a good time to finally post my review.

Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is all of six years old when he is recruited to battle school to train as a commander to fight against an alien race that’s threatening to take over Earth. He leaves behind a distant and unhappy family on Earth — a sadistic older brother and parents that are terrified to become attached to a son they know they cannot keep. His sister, Valentine, is the only one in his life that has ever shown him love and in return, he holds onto her memory tightly. At battle school, Ender excels but loses all sense of himself — why he is there and what it might mean for his future. All he knows is that he must defeat the aliens and save Earth and all humanity.

Ender is one sad child. In fact, all the children at battle school are sad. They have no idea what it means to be children and will never be given the chance. They’re training day after relentless day to save the planet, yet, aren’t even allowed to know the planet or the people on it. It’s no wonder he’s an aloof little person suspicious of every adult in his path. And to be honest, they’re all trying to size him up as the next savior and that would make anyone an anxious mess.

I didn’t particularly like Ender. While he’s genetically perfect, a blend of all that’s needed to save Earth, he’s just boring. His situation is what I liked though. The psychological impact of what the children are put through is like watching a little experiment take place and I was generally surprised by the ending. I was reading this on my Nook so I didn’t read ahead so I didn’t know what was going to happen. It’s also creepy in how the children are treated as adults yet are essentially playing games they don’t understand and think they’re training to be fighters and question nothing. Ender does question the commanders but he’s a child trying to understand adult combat and life and death issues. Do the math on that one.

Am I glad I read it? I am. Sometimes when books I’ve ignored finally get read, I feel letdown, especially if they’re books others rave about. If I had read this as a child, I think I would have loved it more but that’s what I get for waiting to read it as an adult. Perspective, hindsight? Who knows.

Have you read it? Thoughts on this one? If you’re interested, here’s what the BHA Book Club thought about it.

Ender’s Game

By Orson Scott Card

Doherty, Tom Associates LLC/St. Martin’s

ISBN-13: 9781429963930

3.75 stars

 

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Review – A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time is a book I wish I would’ve read as a child, although as an adult I was still pretty impressed with it. I just kept wonder what my small self would’ve thought of it.

Meg Murry has trouble in school. She’s a smart kid, especially when it comes to math, but she has a temper and lands her in trouble more often than not. She has a lot to worry about too — her father, a government scientist, has been missing for months and it’s taking a toll on the Murry family. During a late night thunderstorm, Meg sneaks down to the kitchen for a snack and finds her little brother, Charles Wallace, already there. Soon their mother joins them and then the eccentric new neighbor, Mrs. Whatsit, shows up unexpectedly. After an eventful night, Meg’s next day is shot and she can’t wait to get home from school. Later, Meg and Charles Wallace head off to visit Mrs. Whatsit when they run into her classmate, Calvin O’Keefe. After some questions, Charles Wallace decides Calvin can come with them and the three set off. They meet the neighbors, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and a third Mrs. W who announces that they can help the kids get Mr. Murry back. The three children are then transported to another planet to help their father escape.

When I was reading, I got semi-wrapped up in the story and didn’t really think about the heavier aspects of it until I’d finished. One, the science fiction aspect is huge and I would have loved to have heard about wormholes before I discovered Star Trek. Another time… There is a strong religious element although, again, this one didn’t hit me until I realized that some of the quotes Mrs. Who was rattling off were bible passages. The Whatits are also, and maybe I’m remembering this wrong, at one point referred to as angel-like. Not being a religious person, these things usually pass over my head in most books.

Character wise, I loved Meg. She’s feisty, doesn’t like to hear she’s wrong, and happy to be a little different than most. She fights back when IT on the planet of Camazotz tells her he can make her happy just like everyone else. She tells him she doesn’t want to be like everyone else. Yep, an “Ahh,” moment for me. Meg has her quirks, but overall, she’s such a sweet character that I could see my small self really liking her. Although, Charles Wallace gave me the creeps. He’s a child of about five but he’s more like 30 and I found him to be a tad much at times. I wanted to like him, but his speaking like an adult one minute and being on the verge of a temper tantrum the next was weird.

The adult version of me was happy to see that L’Engle didn’t back off when it came to tough issues for what are essentially children — a missing father, school problems, family issues, etc. As child me, I probably never would have noticed that and simply thought this was just their life. Interesting how that happens. Oh, the years, they bring perspective.

Has anyone out there read the entire series? Is it worth it? I’m thinking of continuing but worried the rest might not live up to this one.

This was a BHA Book Club read and you can find more comments here. It was an April 2012 pick but I’m behind on reviews so this is a May review instead.

A Wrinkle in Time

By Madeleine L’Engle

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 1429915641

4 stars

Tuesday Teaser – A Conspiracy of Kings

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.  The idea is to give everyone a look inside the book you’re reading.

Play along: Grab your current read; Open to a random page; Share two teaser sentences from that page; Share the title and author so that other participants know what you’re reading.

I’m reading A Conspiracy of Kings by Meghan Whalen Turner, which is the final book in The Thief series.

“I think my face must have made it clear what I thought of that. ‘And my abduction?’ I asked pointedly.” (pg. 220)

The Sunday Salon – Long Books and Loot

For the second week in a row, I’ve been in a one week, one book relationship.  The first was a non-fiction book that I was having some issues with (I wasn’t liking it so much and found some of it annoying so it took me longer, even longer than my normal slow pace associated with non-fiction books because there were times I thought about winging it far from my being.) and the second week was consumed by an almost 800 page historical fiction tome that, well, it just took me a long time to read.  I did enjoy it though so there are no complaints.  🙂

So what book was it?  The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick.  Last year, I read her Arthurian legend trilogy, Pendragon’s Banner, loved it so much I knew I needed to read more and when I saw this one, I bought it.  Lately my restraint tactics which I practiced all last year in regard to buying books have been tossed casually into a black hole from which they will never ever return.  Although, the new books are all ebooks so they aren’t taking up any physical space which is probably why I’ve kept at the buying the last few days with little regard for anything other than how much money is left on my gift cards.  The answer to that is not much.  I also picked up A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin (can’t wait for it!) and Un Lun Dun by China Mieville.  I read two of his books last year and he’s becoming a favorite.

To show there’s more to me than just hitting the download button, I also stopped by the library (thanks honey for double parking and deftly avoiding a ticket) and picked up two books that I’m looking forward to reading.  OK, one I already started…

Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach.  Mary Roach writes the funniest and most entertaining non-fiction books I’ve ever read and this is going to be the perfect one to get me back on the non-fiction wagon which I jumped off of in January.  My second book is A Conspiracy of Kings by Meghan Whalen Turner.  I thought, really believed, that I had finished this series last year but I didn’t and well, that needed to be fixed and now I have the final book and all is well.

I’m off now.  My husband has informed me there is football stuff to be watched.  Happy Sunday everyone and enjoy the game!