Saturday, October 26, 2013

Audiobook Review: Ender's Game

Ender's Game (Movie Tie-In)
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
January 1985 (originally published)
Tor Teen publishing
368 pages
Genre: Sci-Fi (Young Adult?)
Source: Personal purchase
Book Blurb:

The worldwide bestseller, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, with featured cover art from the major motion picture starring Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley and Asa Butterfield as Ender Wiggin.

Once again, the Earth is under attack. An alien species is poised for a final assault. The survival of humanity depends on a military genius who can defeat the aliens. But who?

 Ender Wiggin. Brilliant. Ruthless. Cunning. A tactical and strategic master. And a child.

 Recruited for military training by the world government, Ender’s childhood ends the moment he enters his new home: Battle School. Among the elite recruits Ender proves himself to be a genius among geniuses. He excels in simulated war games. But is the pressure and loneliness taking its toll on Ender? Simulations are one thing. How will Ender perform in real combat conditions? After all, Battle School is just a game.

Isn’t it?

My Review:

I really enjoyed listening to Ender’s Game on audiobook. The cast of narrators did a great job discerning the characters. And please note, Orson Scott Card leaves a message at the end of the 20th anniversary audiobook, and he himself states that the best form of receiving this book is by listening, whether by individual read-aloud or a full cast as in this audiobook's case. I must say that personally I  am very glad I listened to the book in this format. So if you decide to listen to the audiobook, not only should you enjoy the book, but listen to OSC speak at the end. I found it to be a quite fascinating and a real treat.
As for the story itself, I’m having a hard time putting my thoughts into words. I found the storyline quite genius. I went into this read completely blind on what this book was about. I knew the movie was coming soon, so I decided to read it and additionally set up a book club meeting with my oldest son’s literature group so they could read it and discuss it together, with me as moderator. I’m not a huge sci-fi fan, so I wasn’t sure what I would think. Well, I’ll tell you, I loved it.

This is not a light read. We spend much of the time in Ender's head, but we also get the perspectives of Ender's siblings, some of the adult staff, and the occasional other character. This rounded out the story and the complete cast of characters, good or bad, really brought the story to life. There is danger and brutality. These are kids yet they are geniuses with the weight of the world on their shoulders. But like even the commonest of man, there is dissention in some of the ranks and competitiveness. There is a military-type setting and with that we bleed the line into physical and emotional forms of potential abuse. Is there a limit on how far we should go to save humanity from this outside threat? Is the cost on our children too great? There are so many questions asked or inferred throughout the story and I found it really thought-provoking and far deeper than I had expected.

My students, for the most part, also really enjoyed this book, even with it's brutality (though one student decided it was too much for her). There were a few situations that were uncomfortable for them, but they understood the story. They also understood the similarities and differences between Ender and his siblings. They got it. And they got the big picture, which I commend OSC being able to be understood by 13-year-olds. This is a book that crosses generations.

I realize this isn't the most thorough or detailed of reviews. But I do not want to give away the entire plot or spoilers. I loved going into it blind. I realize this type of read isn't for everyone. But I will say that, though I am not generally a Sci-Fi person, I loved this story because it wasn't so much about "aliens" but about human interactions, human agendas, right and wrong and gray areas. It made me think but also entertained me. It made me wonder but also gave me answers, and sometimes those answers were not what I expected. I look forward to more in Ender's world.


  1. Thanks for much for your review of our work. We have been producing and narrating OSC's books for over a decade now, and we really appreciate the feedback. Bless you!

    1. It was my pleasure. I loved your production of Ender's Game. In fact, I just finished Ender's Shadow today, and once again, you guys did a fabulous job :)


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