Reading Level: YA (though the protagonist is young, under 12 for most of the book, there are mature elements to the story - fighting, bullying, violence, death - but not overly so)
Short Synopsis: In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.
Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.
Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.
Ender's Game is the winner of the 1985 Nebula Award for Best Novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for Best Novel.
My Review: Ender's Game is the first real SciFi book I can remember reading.
It was amazing.
To this day it is still one of my most favorite books. I have yet to read the rest of the series, but this first one is phenomenal.
(confession though, I may like Ender's Shadow just a teensy bit more because it tells how things happened behind the scenes and Bean is a great character. That's how it was at least the first time through. We'll see about with the re-read. I do know that they are both amazing books regardless).
It's hard to go into any detail. The world building is all inclusive, the characters, even the side ones that we don't know that much about, have incredible depth. A very immersive and incredible reading experience.
From what I can tell on the periphery, there has been some issue with the amount of violence in the book. I never thought of it as too much, or even too in your face. It didn't feel out of place and I don't think it sets a bad example. Humans, even little kids, don't always make the right choices (Lord of the Flies), so this type of thing is bound to happen. It can present an example of how to deal with it, or how not to, as the case may be.
One of my most favorite things about the book is our introduction to the Battle Room. I WANT TO GO THERE SO BAD! It sounds like the ultimate game of laser tag, added in with strategy and weightlessness and I dream about it...I really do. *sigh*
I've been wanting this to be made into a movie for the longest time too. I thought that the little kid from the Sixth Sense (Haley Joel Osmint) would have been perfect for the role. That ship sailed long ago, but looking at the special effects that they have for this, I'm actually kind of glad that it has taken so long as the movie making capabilities have been refined to truly make something that looks like it will be spectacular.
At first I was upset that they were going to be using older kids for the characters. Part of what makes Ender's Game so amazing is that it is little kids that are in charge of saving the universe, that have to grow up and be on their own, with no one there to love them or protect them, but to only see how far they can be pushed. It doesn't have the same effect with kids that are getting into Teenage Mode. I still think it will be a good movie, and the special effects, as stated above, look amazing!, but the two will be somewhat separate in my mind.
Overall, an 'out of this world' (yeah, I went there) book that I recommend whole-heartedly. A great example of the science fiction genre, but one that fans of anything can still enjoy.
For your viewing, and convincing, pleasure, the trailer: