Hooked on Ender

Ender’s Game, the movie based on the novel by Orson Scott Card has been on my watch list for awhile now. But like so many movies that appeal to me, I never got around to seeing it. So when I was on the hunt for books at my favorite used-book store, Thrift Books, I decided to buy the novel. The rest, as they say, is history.

I FELL IN LOVE WITH ENDER.

Well, maybe not Ender himself. I fell in love with his story and with Mr. Card’s writing style. If you aren’t familiar with the novel, it is about a group of young (ages 5-15ish) children who are “chosen” to be part of a space army that will defend the Earth against an alien insect species known as the “buggers.” The rest of the Ender Series follows Ender (aka Andrew Wiggin) throughout various time periods and adventures.

Now, some people may assume these novels  are for young adults.

Ummmm….maybe.

Ender’s Game is definitely something that middle grade and young adult readers would enjoy. But if you’re just a kid who wants to follow the adventures of a young boy in space, the rest of the series may not be for you.

There are a total of twenty books in the complete Ender’s Game series. They are divided into three sub-series: the Ender Series, the Shadow Saga, and the Formic Wars. I’ve read all of them.

The Shadow Saga is the story of the rest of the members of Ender’s jeesh (like a platoon) after the “Formic War” is over and they return to Earth. The novels center around the character of Julian Delphiki, aka Bean, who is the only survivor of a genetic engineering experiment, a “gene-tweaking” fiasco that endowed him with a brilliant mind—and a body that won’t stop growing. The rest of the jeesh, still teenagers, are returned to their native homes and end up as important figures in their respective countries.

The first book in the Shadow Saga, Ender’s Shadow, is about Bean, his survival in the lab, and his eventual relationship with Ender. As such I can also recommend it to middle grade/young adult readers.

As an adult, I’ve found the Enders Series and the Shadow Saga to be fascinating. Each one’s theme revolves around  philosophical, moral, and ethical issues that I found intriguing, but I think it would take a certain kind of teenager to really get into the depth of the debates in these books, and the issues explored might elude or bore young people. I would, however, heartily recommend them to adults. If you’re into science-fiction, or even a thought-provoking debate, you’ll find Orson Scott Card’s Ender Series worth the read.

*I just finished the last book of the Formic Wars Series. The first and second Formic Wars take place about one hundred years before Ender’s time. I assume there will be a fourth book in the series since the climactic battle of second Formic War as described in Ender’s Game hasn’t yet taken place. Not as riveting as the other two series, they are still an intriguing read.

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