Ender’s Game: An Outsider’s Sci-Fi Book Review

Right off the bat, let me clarify: I am not a huge Sci-Fi fan. I’ve really enjoyed the Vorkosigan series, but I haven’t explored much beyond that.

Consider this review to be an outsider’s view of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game.

Even to a non-Sci Fi addict, the book is fascinating. Card delves into the psyches of his young geniuses, and creates a war of manipulation that carries through the entire story. Graff and Major Anderson, the two adults in charge of forming children into world saving heroes, skew the lives of the prodigies by controlling every single aspect of their lives. The book makes one consider the power of social constructs and question what it means to be a genuine hero. 

So on one hand, the book is an interesting mental game. 

But on the other hand, I personally couldn’t relate to the characters. Card so carefully controls little geniuses that I didn’t sense much natural feeling. It felt sterile and calculated. The natural world just isn’t like that. Even if the characters are up in a space station, they should still feel human. 

When I asked my book club what they thought, they gave me a different view. Showering me with examples of relatability, they pointed out Ender’s loneliness, his struggle to survive, and his constant stress. They also reminded me of dear Valentine. Her fear of Peter can pull the heartstrings of the reader, as she struggles against her brother’s cruel brilliancy. 

Could you sympathize with the characters better than me? What are your thoughts?

Book Review: The Help

The Help is an incredible book. It’s taken me a while to pinpoint exactly why, because there are so many layers. But I think I’ve got it.

Here goes.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett will always shock and entertain with one key element: it’s human. It points out the inhumanity of humanity in a very humble, humorous way.

Am I making any sense? 

The book brings us to the sweltering heat of Jackson, Mississippi, and nearly makes us sweat while we read. Looking back fifty years, we learn that America’s racist past isn’t as far in the past as we thought or hoped. We also find that the wives of this small, stuffy town orbit the ladies’ league: one huge clique with Hilly Hollbrooks at the center. Painted smiles cover all of their faces, but the story slips behind those smiles to expose the people within. The nice ladies are not so friendly after all. And the happy women are not so happy after all. The charade, thankfully, is exposed by Aibileen, Minny, and all the others who see the secrets. 

I rarely endorse a movie as highly as the book, but the film adaptation captures the spirit so well. Since I watched the film before reading the story, I had the actors invading my imagination. Normally I dislike this—for example, Elijah Wood. I do not want him as my visual for Frodo because he doesn’t fit Tolkien’s character. But actors in The Help so thoroughly embody the characters that I enjoyed the book even more with them. 

My Summer Reading:

Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold

Shards of Honor by Lous McMaster Bujold.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Coraline by Niel Gaiman

The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket

Currently Reading: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

After a semester filled with difficult, emotionally taxing texts, I have taken a wonderful break with sci-fi and fantasy.  I’ll write reviews of the ones I enjoyed the most, but if you are curious about any of them, send me a note and I’ll write a review for that one as well.  Or even better, tell me what books you have read and enjoyed this summer!