Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Summary from the back: "Intense is the word for Ender's Game. Aliens have attacked twice and almost destroyed the human species. To make sure humans win the next encounter, the world government has taken to breeding military geniuses-and then training them in the arts of war...The early training, not surprisingly, takes the form of 'games'...Ender Wiggin is a genius among geniuses; he wins all the games...He is smart enough to know that time is running out. But is he smart enough to save the planet?"
I heard a lot about this book and have wanted to read it for a long time. And now that I graduated college, I have the time :). I haven't read a lot of sci-fi books, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this novel, and it wasn't what I thought it would be like. But according to the author's supposed plan (I read his intro), the book is excellent and his story-writing skills are superb.
I found the way the children are trained fascinating and the sad way that they are treated true even in our world today, albeit to a lesser degree. The harsh treatment of the children and the idea of war as a 'game' reminded me a lot of The Hunger Games, although this novel is completely different in many ways from that series. The author knows much about how power and leaders work and this was very enlightening. I came to know and love Ender, the main character, and could see parts of myself in him, which I believe is the trait of a good creator: to show a reader him/herself in the characters to that she can come out of the novel changed.
I'm a visual person; I like descriptions and clear images when I read, and there wasn't much of that in this novel. So it was difficult at times to picture the ships and rooms that the soldiers live in. I was also confused at times about what was happening politically on earth. Orson Scott Card could have explained some of these things more clearly for the reader.
Overall though, the novel was well-written, thought-provoking, and interesting, so I give it a 3.5 out of 5. I recommend it to 16 year-olds and above because there is some language and graphic images. With every book that becomes a movie, I advocate reading the book before watching the movie, so you can truly comprehend/understand what is happening. But that might just because I love books so much. This novel is also a series, I believe, and I most definitely want to check out the others. You can learn more about this author and his books at his website here.
What I learned: War/fighting is most definitely not a game. An important quote that's made me think about love and hatred (don't worry, it's not a spoiler) that I'm still chewing on: "In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it's impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves." What do you think about this idea?
Merry Christmas, by the way! Let us remember the truest, greatest story of all this season!