I read Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card this weekend. Earlier in the spring, I made my list of must-see summer blockbusters, and I noticed that a movie adaptation of Ender’s Game comes out later this year. I decided that I’d better put the book on my reading list.
Ender’s Game had always been on my when-I-get-around-to-it list. Friends, family, and critics all told me that the book was worth reading. The premise seemed promising, and I enjoy a quick YA read.
I suppose the book was okay, but it really wasn’t that great. It does have a plot twist, but I saw it coming. Perhaps it would have been better if Card had narrated more openly instead of having the big reveal at the end.
This is going to be unpopular, but I didn’t really like Ender Wiggin’s character. The book tells us that Ender is a sweet compassionate kid. It’s his compassion that makes it possible for him to save the world. I don’t find him that likable or sympathetic. If you judge him by his actions rather than what other characters say about him, you’ll find that he’s a rotten little bugger.
Show; don’t tell. That advice is some of the hardest for novelists to follow. Actions flow out of the affections and the disposition of the heart. Characters who act contrary to how the narrator and other characters depict them sound hollow, not complex.
There are some clever bits to Ender’s Game, and it does bring up some interesting questions about childhood, violence, society, and the state. On the whole though, I felt let down because the book’s worldview seemed too simplistic. Perhaps I feel let down because people had hyped it too much. It’s pretty good, but it’s not a modern-day classic.