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It’s the distant future, and Earth is recovering from a war with an alien race of bugs.
A thought-provoking science fiction classic that has aged well and is easily enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. Ender’s Game is a smart novel about a young boy who is forced to abandon his childhood, to grow up much too fast. I do accept books for review, but please take a look at my review policy before pitching me a book.
Orson Scott Card sets up a futuristic world in which the human race, while still scarred, has survived an invasion from the intergalactic Formics, also known as the Buggers.
Netting more than 75,000 copies when it was originally published as Invitation to the Game in 1991, this title continues to be a favorite, and, with its eye-catching new package, will reach an eager new audience hungry for dystopian stories.
A secret affair, The Game can be accessed by invitation only – and Lisse and her crew have just received their summons.
Easily, the strongest aspect of The Game lies with its overall conceptualization and its plot. These praises said, I do feel like certain elements of the book were lacking – most importantly, the characterizations, especially that of our narrator Lisse. It was the last day of school and the terror of the previous weeks had crept up on me again.
The Government School, which had been my home for the last ten years, had been built three hundred years before in what would later become part of a national forest. A small procession of electric buses appeared from among the trees and scrunched up the gravel road to park in front of the main entrance. Very interesting what you say about how if it had been published today, they probably would have made it a trilogy.
What I think standalones like Invitation to the Game do that is missing from a lot of the dystopian series coming out these days is the whole story is right there.
Diana – You know, I wavered for the longest time between a 6 and a 7 primarily because of the reasons you mention!
BibliotropicJanuary 10, 2012 at 11:12 amI adore this book, and have loved it for a good decade and a half now. I highly recommend you check you my fave of Monica Hughes’ books, THE KEEPER OF THE ISIS LIGHT.
1 : a book review blog specializing in speculative fiction and popgeekery for all ages since 2008. The Book Smugglers purchase books for review on this site, but also receive free review copies from authors, publishers, and other third parties. Earth narrowly won that war, and ever since, they’ve been preparing for their next encounter with the alien species, determined that they will win decisively, once and for all. It should go without saying that just because I read and review a book on my blog does not mean I subscribe to the author’s beliefs, whatever they may be.
The reader gets to see Ender grapple with what he is becoming, worried that he is becoming the bully he most despises.
This book is so much more than its genre; it has themes that readers will want to think about long after the last pages are turned.



I read this book in college and I loved it, I highly recommend the next book as well – Speaker for the Dead. If your comment needs a response, I will provide it in a timely manner, as I read every comment I receive. If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic.
Now that school is over, Lisse and her friends are consigned to a bleak neighborhood for the permanently unemployed. Although I must say, I think I prefer the totally rad 1990s cover to the bland reissued version. For Lisse and her friends, graduating from their government sponsored school is a time of morbid dread, because even though she and her classmates have graduated with honors and have surpassed all expectation in their final exams, they are surplus population. Given a monthly allowance by the government to cover shelter, food, and the bare necessities, Lisse and her friends decide to pool their knowledge and resources and try to make it, together, in this strange, terrifying new world, teeming with youthful unemployed with nothing but time on their hands. The Game is an alternate reality like nothing like they have ever felt before, and Lisse and her friends become ever-deeper immersed in the experience, hungry for their next invitation. Like an episode of The Twilight Zone, The Game relies on a strong central hook, the ensuing conflict, and a helluva twist at the end to tie it all together. My classmates were already gathering in the Assembly Room for what we jokingly called the Last Rites, and I had run upstairs to the dormitory for my journal, forgotten under my pillow in the excitement of the Last Day. The domestic robots were already busy stripping the beds, bundling up the sheets for the laundry, and folding the blankets into neat rectangles, each topped by a pillow, to be placed on the mattresses.
From the dormitory window I could see softly rolling hills, the morning mist caught in their folds, and a small grove through which ran the road connecting the school with the main highway, out of sight somewhere beyond the trees and the mist. This was my favorite book in 6th grade – in fact, I think it was even assigned in my GT class. And if I had the sweet 90s version book, I may have bumped it up just because it is THAT awesome. I’ve read too many “first book in a series” recently where it seems to end right as it’s getting good, because the author has been forced to stretch out a story into 1000 pages or whatever. I reread it quite often, and one of the biggest things I take away from it is inspiration, and hope that the skills that may seem useless now may someday prove to be what I need to live my life enjoyably. It’s science fiction but not dystopian, with a similarly great twist, but the main character has a much stronger personality and more emotional conflict. The book goes into the seemingly sadistic tactics the adults around Ender use to groom him into the perfect commander. But the battles Ender participates in are so much more than just the action; the reader sees his brilliance as he always finds his way out of no-win situations.
As the group becomes acclimated to their new surroundings, they learn about a mysterious diversion that promises riches and treasure.
There’s nothing really endearing or defining about Lisse as a character, which is a huge drawback to the novel.
I rescued my journal and from the robot’s claw and stood with it tight against my chest, staring out of the window, trying to control my shivers. By night, she watches an abundance of horror movies, stays up too late, and voraciously devours ALL THE SFF.


His inner monologue is really fascinating, as he must face issues of ethics and complex adult moral themes, which makes this book just as appropriate for adults as teens. The author did a great job making Ender believable, talented, and emotionally deep all at the same time. While the novel was originally written in 1985, it has gone on to reinvent itself in comic form, movies, and various other formats.
Fundamentally, the IF was tasked with not only protecting the planet, but finding our savior, the next Mazer Rackham.
So many of my favorite books as a tween and teen (hello, Christopher Pike!) were standalone novels very much like The Game – brilliant in concept, but perhaps less indulgent in the characterization and emotional explication.
Within the next few hours I would be aboard one of those buses, heading off into the unknown, to some place where I would have to spend the rest of my life doing…doing what? Ender Wiggin, a boy of six years old, is the latest recruit by the military, the last hope for Earth.
That’s a lot of success for a book that originally started out as a short story published in Analog Magazine in August of 1977. By the end of the book, too, there’s a lot of telling and characters sitting around theorizing (thus explaining) their predicament in lieu of showing. They shape Ender into an amazing commander, but the question that the reader is forced to ask is whether the ends justify the means, especially with the twists in the end of the novel. Ender’s Game starts out in an interesting way, really, defying conventional writing wisdom.
On a deeper level, the state controls the populace with Orwellian Thought Police, through limited means and absolute control of credits, communication and transportation, and of course through The eponymous Game itself. When the IF finds good candidates, it ships them off to Battle School somewhere out in space. Their relationship, and how Orson Scott Card juxtaposes their extremely contrasting personalities is a key plot thread throughout the story. While they are all supremely intelligent, Valentine is the docile, yet clever one, and Peter, the conniving one, has violent tendencies. This is the primary method that the IF uses to monitor potential candidates for Battle School. This is how they watched him.) Ender learns that his monitor has to be removed, a sure sign that he is no longer in consideration for Battle School.
Card does a great job of adding tension to one part of the story, while alleviating it on another. All of this leads up to a great twist ending that, no doubt, has contributed to this book’s popularity.
This is a personal, and social disappointment. Moreover, Ender is concerned that he will no longer be under the watchful eye of the IF from a personal safety perspective. Ender ends up defending himself against these boys, and he takes out their leader, known as Stilson.



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