26 July, 2012

Review: Ender's Game

Ender's Game Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is quite simply one of the greatest novels of all time.

Now that we've gotten that statement out of the way, I feel compelled to point out that this book is filled with flaws. No matter how much Card may want it to be true, children simply do not think the way that these children think. Yet this is perhaps partially explained by the Wiggins being exceptional children, and is even justified in the case of Bean. The politics here are also very strange, and the idea that Locke/Demosthenes could do as much as they could using the internet seems almost unbelievable to our ears; but this is because Ender's Game was written before the internet was really going at full speed. The portrayal of women seems a bit odd, as well.

Nevertheless, these flaws cannot possibly take away from the story's sheer power. This was perhaps my tenth or so reading of the book, and yet I still cried at the sad parts. Some later books do make portions of the dialogue a bit strange; reading Ender's Game after having read Ender's Shadow makes nearly every portion of dialogue between Bean and Ender surreal. You can tell that the author has not taken Bean's story into account when this first novel was written, which usually would cause me to not give five stars; but in the case of Ender's Game, Card is able to convince me of the strength of the novel despite these flaws.

Finally, a small word about the author. If you have not read the entire series yet, please ignore this paragraph; it will color your first reading of Card;'s novels, and I would never want to take you away from being able to see the masterpieces through the Speaker of the Dead storyline and the Ender's Shadow storyline. Please stop reading here if you have not finished all the Ender's Game saga.

Orson Scott Card is not a nice person. He is, to be perfectly blunt, a complete asshole. I still adore this series, despite his homophobia and offensive religious views, but there are parts of his novels where you can clearly see that the writer is a bigot. It is sad, really, because the books are so very, very good. But it really bothers me that there is latent prejudice in each of the books, and becomes quite obvious to see when you start actively looking for it. However, my rating is not for the author's morals, but for his ability to write a good story, and the fact remains that this series is one of the best series I have ever read. I stand by my rating of 5 stars no matter how much I dislike the author.

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