“Ender’s Game” Book Review


Some different covers for Ender’s Game, which originally came out in 1985.

I finished Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card this week. As I did with The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, here is my review.

Grading Scale:

1= Terrible

2=Barely Bearable

3=Good potential but bad presentation

4=Wonderful read but has a few flaws

5=Nearly flawless

I will grade the following: Plot, Characters, Scenery, Writing Style, and Overall. Caution! This will contain some minor spoilers.

Brief Overview:

In a different age full of alien “buggers,” children are relied upon to command the Earth’s military. Ender Wiggin, a boy of only six, is burdened with being the one they’ve been waiting for. In this novel, the reader is taken on a ruthless journey. Ender’s character transformed and morphs. The plot is fast-paced and so are the battle scenes. Interspersed are politics and religion. Is it just a game, or is it more?

Plot: 5

I absolutely LOVED this plot. I loved how fast-paced the book way, how it drew you in and immersed you in the world of Ender WIggin, answering questions as you went along and leaving you to figure out some things yourself. This book made me think, a lot. It made me question the morals of the elders in the book. Similar to The Hunger Games Trilogy, it seemed to be a sort of warning against the future. Thirds, A.K.A. the third child born to a family, were looked down upon. Ender, one of these thirds, was the only one of his siblings to “make the cut” in the I.F. (International Fleet). The battle scenes were epic. Ender faced some bloody situations, and Card potrayed them with accuracy and experience. Overall, I definitely give this original, heart-pounding plot five stars.

Characters: 4.5

Ender Wiggin is a character I won’t soon forget. His genius strategic skills made me wonder, “How is this a six year-old?” Honestly, it was quiet unbelievable. The amount of pain this kid had to go through seemed unbearable for many adults. I feel as if I’ve known Ender for my whole life, for he progresses from a six year-old to almost a teenage, and then… well, I won’t spoil anything. Petra, the main female character in the book, was intelligent and witty, but she had a downfall. I don’t think she was well developed enough. Sure, I guess it would have been strange to have a love story between Ender and Petra considering their age. (Hopefully it will progress in one of Card’s other books?) However, I thought Petra’s appearance and overall personality could have been more memorable. Ender is embedded in my brain, but I will soon forget Petra. Valentine, Ender’s sister, is quite the opposite. Becoming a fictional character over the nets (internet), Valentine’s political influence stretches over the world. However, Card does not describe any of the characters’ appearances very well. Peter Wiggin is the harsh, yet one of the most transformed characters in the book. I say this because, by the end of the book, Peter is a major political figure, and guess what? He has a heart. You may be laughing, but hear me out. At the beginning of Ender’s Game, Peter Wiggin actually threatened to kill Ender, and you know what? I believed him. The way he tortured animals and his siblings made him the cruelest kid I’ve ever read about. Ender meets many friends and has to leave a good many through the course of the book. I won’t get into Bean or Alai, who are both friends to Ender in the book. Colonel Graff is the “principal” of the school (while reading, I couldn’t help imagining Harrison Ford, who is playing the character. So excited that he’s playing Graff!). Graff, who is at first uncaring, becomes a fatherly figure toward Ender. Overall, the characters were unique and relatable, but I knock off .5 from the score for Card’s lack of delving into Petra’s character and the lack of description on the characters’ overall appearances.

Scenery: 4

As I was saying, Card doesn’t dwell on long descriptions like Christopher Paolini. This doesn’t just apply to the characters. Instead, he focuses on the plot, which I gave a 5. As I read, Card seemed to give more description to the outdoors and overall scenery. I loved his words about the lake house that Ender visits. He explains tranquility of the lake house, and I can really see it. The unique battle rooms which Ender completes in are a bit confusing, yet innovative. Card puts a new spin on combat. Card designed the desks that the students use with a futuristic flair. They can send messages to one another and play games *ahem* that test their minds.

Writing Style: 3.5

Card’s writing style is quick, decisive, and unfortunately, sometimes dirty. Card kept the plots moving along nicely with simple dialogue, which seemed unrehearsed and realistic. He inserted conversations of Colonel Graff and Colonel Anderson at the beginning of almost all of the chapters, most of which involved Ender. Oftentimes, they would give foreshadowing to what was going to happen to Ender in that chapter. The reason for the poor score is this: crude language and overall looseness. The words weren’t eye-catching, and the language of the characters left something to be desired. Although Card does a great job at his action scenes, I mean to say that he didn’t have a specific style. I won’t remember Card’s style of writing, by any means. However, that it minor compared to the language by the characters. Now, the last fourth of the book was fairly clean, but for most of the book, Ender hears and speaks language that little “soldiers” shouldn’t be saying. I know they’re in the military, but does Card have to put such vulgar language in a young adult book? Eh, I don’t think so. Many of the soldiers talk in slang. Beware and read cautiously. The mouths of these characters need to be cleaned with soap. On a happy note, Card moved the story along smoothly and kept me interested to a point that I looked forward to getting into bed every night and reading a book.

Overall: 4.5

Yes, despite the poor score on Card’s writing style, this book is a hit, and I can’t wait to see it hit theaters. It was one of those books that made you think: what if? It was one of those books that made you feel pity, anger, love, and wonder in the course of 324 pages. Ender’s story was compelling. The way Orson Scott Card weaves his story and Ender’s emotions are wonderful. Do yourself a favor. Go pick up this book and read it before this best seller arrives at the big screen.

While you find out if Ender’s Game is really just a game, maybe you’ll find a piece of evidence for your Quest to be Published.

Until next time,



5 thoughts on ““Ender’s Game” Book Review

  1. I am a long time fan of Ender’s Game and all of the books in this series as well as the parallel Bean series. I agree that the plot is action packed and developed, but I don’t necessarily agree with your analysis of the characters. I believe that Card left the appearances of the characters open for interpretation so that his reader, his audience could relate them to people they already know and so the reader could create the appearance for himself/herself. I also believe that Valentine’s character is developed more because she is the stronger female character of the book. I don’t feel that Petra is a main female character in this novel; she is a female that has been chosen to attend Battle School and gives us an example of that gender in this environment. Card does develop Petra more in the Bean series which starts with the book, Ender’s Shadow. Card really develops Valentine throughout this book in her connections to Ender, but also through her connections with Peter and through the politics that are essential to the underlying themes.

    Card really wanted his reader to see these children as gifted and more like adults than children. That is what I like about this book. He sees that not all children feel like children; some think like adults for as long as they can remember. I am glad to know that you have found this powerful book and that it has effected you. I am excited about the movie as well. I hope you keep reading and blogging. Keep working your skills as a writer. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion and at the same time listen to others’ opinions.

    Happy Reading!!!

    Kristine York
    AP Literature Teacher/Gifted teacher
    DeSoto Central High School

  2. Pingback: The Importance of Connection | questforpublishment

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