There are very few books that I am intimately familiar enough to read a series of 13 essays and a number of Q & A’s from the author and really be engaged throughout. I have a review of the variations of the Ender’s Game story over the years (and I should update that now that I have seen the movie), a full review of the audio play version and a review of the most of rest of the books of the series. I am pretty sure I have read Ender’s Game in one version or another at least a dozen times. (Also Emily Flury has a review of the movie.)
I think unquestionably, Ender’s Game is Orson Scott Card’s best book. I have read most of the rest of Card’s book looking for a book to equal it, and while I really enjoy many of his books, none have resonated with me nearly as much.
Ender’s Game is the story of Ender Wiggins, initially a six year old boy that goes to Battle School to train as a soldier. The Earth has been attacked twice by the Formics (or Buggers depending on which version you are reading). And now soldiers are being trained from childhood to win the next war.
This is the first book I really adored and from the essays, it is clear I am not alone. There are three different types of essays here. Essays on leadership and military, essays on writing or literature and essays on cultural impact. This is not a book for anyone that has not read (and loved) the book. This is a book for not only the fan, but the fan who enjoys geeking out (and listening to others geek out) about minutia of plots points and how they felt when they read it.
It is also a good book to stretch me as a reader. As much as I love reading and enjoy writing about what I read, I was not a literature student and I feel that weakness in my background. Reading actual literature teachers or writers talk about how to read is almost always a helpful exercise in improving my own reading.
I will say one of the takeaways from the book is that some of my frustration about the plot changes in the movie were validated by comments both from Card and the other essayists. Simple things like making Bonzo smaller than Ender and having Bonzo hit his head in the shower scene fundamentally changed what that interaction was about. And I don’t understand how or why decisions like that are made in movie adaptations.
If you are an Ender superfan, especially if you have Scribd and can listen to it as part of your subscription, this is worth picking up.