I'm starting to think I'm not at all for this sci-fi thing. Well, reading sci-fi anyway. The first half of the book I was like
Scratch that, that was the way I was throughout the whole book.
Ender is six when we begin, and already he has mastered Algebra, and is capable of beating another six-year old to a pulp. A six-year old bully, btw. Seriously. Six-year old bully. It wasn't so much the beating that got to me, but Ender's way of thinking: like a battler, like a soldier: "One punch isn't enough, I need to show these kids they can't mess with me anymore". So what does he do, he beats the kid so bad, he needed surgery. Not to mention, he has genius siblings as well, and a sociopath ten-year-old brother.
Maybe it's just me, being an older reader, and I think the target audience of this book was younger, but I did not enjoy it as much as I wanted to. This is one of those books one should read as a teenager.
Ender and all his friends/enemies/allies in Battle School all are 12 years old or younger, and didn't feel in any way like children. It was quite easy to forget I was reading a scene between a 7-year old and a 9-year old, they were that mature in their way of thinking and speaking. Which, I guess, was Card's point, only I didn't like it. I don't care if these were gifted children, you can't ruin their childhood like this.
It also didn't help that I could not appreciate battle tactics and the actual battles themselves, probably because I'm such a pacifist, or my imagination just doesn't run in that direction. The enemy gate is down?
What does that mean?! (I'm sorry I'm an idiot)
If the movie for this comes out, I will definitely be watching, curious about these game-battles Ender plays.The first look of the movie definitely didn't feature a six-year old Ender, they were young adults standing in line with Harrison Ford, so I guess, no naked 10-year-olds, folks.
I did like Ender, though, and felt for him, the poor genius bastard. Everything he did was perfect, just the right thing to do, and Ender knew it, and even that could weigh on a person.
The humanity of the characters, at one short moment I forgot I was reading about children, saved me from giving this book 2 stars. Especially considering Card's introduction*2.5 - 3 stars
I cannot get over the fact that these were kids, and what was the point of ruining children's lives to save the world? Couldn't they have trained young adults, if not adults, to battle? Seriously. How can adults put the weight of humanity on children's shoulders and depend their lives on them? It didn't feel realistic to me at all.
Sure, child soldiers exist, and one can argue that there never is a perfect or unruined childhood. I still did not like it.Update: 2.19.13
My copy of the book is the one with Card's Introduction, and the reason I didn't read it first was because I always felt that Introductions ruin someone's reading experience. Or that it gave away ideas I couldn't even understand, since I haven't read the novel yet, so what was the point of an introduction? I think it was either Neil Gaiman or Paulo Coelho that said: Introductions should be ignored.
Reading Card's introduction, I wonder if my reading experience would have changed if I read it first. Coz it sure felt like it was manipulating me to like and accept the fact that these kids talked and acted like adults. My childhood wasn't free of trauma, but I honestly didn't know
anything when I was six. And here was Ender, the weight of humanity on his puny 6-year old shoulders. What. The. Hell.
One reviewer even said that in his introduction, Card was smug. Which I kind of see.
Introductions do kind of ruin the book.