Recycled Reads 2017: Ender’s Game

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Thank YOU for joining me for Recycled Reads 2017!

My book review on Ender’s Game (The Ender Quintet)

This was a tough book for me to read. Completely outside my genre, both my husband and bibliophile son loved it and heartily encouraged me to read it.

I’m not a fan.

Hot off the heels of reading The Giver (Giver Quartet), which was amazing, I was prepared for the young age of the protagonist. I also had a spoiler on the ending of the book, so I was interested in seeing how the author took the reader from the horrific content to the end. I found the ending to be abrupt to say the least – almost as if it was added on to soften the overall tone of the book.

Overall, I found the book disjointed. The characters were very one dimensional. The majority of the story focused on battles and fighting, which in and of itself is not necessarily a deterrent from my reading or enjoying a story. However, I found many random words of terminology seemingly thrown in with no explanation. Processes going on within the crews, children, and superiors were left largely in the dark.

The author did find a way to squeeze in these seemingly random vignettes between Enders’ siblings to move the subplot along, which is revealed at the end of the book, but they literally felt dropped in. There were no segues or regular checks on the siblings — as the reader, it felt like he may have forgotten to drop in the details during the first write, then just dropped in random chapters to make up the difference.

While I didn’t care for Enders Game, not the plot or content, I was mildly intrigued by the teaser for the second book: Speaker for the Dead (The Ender Quartet series Book 2). I won’t be picking this book up anytime soon, but since it’s already on my shelf, it may make it into a future Recycled Reads list 🙂

Not to mention, I don’t like to watch the movie first when I can read the book. Needless to say, I’ll continue to put off seeing the movie.


So as I was finishing up the book, I stumbled along this blogpost from JmWWriting. He was very generous with his time in the comments of this post on 2017 Nebula Awards, when I mentioned I was reading a previous Nebula Award winning book – Enders Game. It’s no Ray Bradbury.

JMWWrritings wrote in his comments on his blog: “Nebula awards are chosen by writers and editors, so they tend to choose books based on structure or plot or concept. I liked the plot of Ender’s Game. That book suffers from the same problem that most classic sci-fi does, it is so obsessed with plot and concept that characterization is largely ignored. I felt nothing for Ender Wiggin. Worse, I didn’t feel like he felt anything. He didn’t really react to anything that was going on, he just kept plodding along with the plot. Even audiobook format couldn’t make him feel human. Starship Troopers is the same, as are its derivatives. Of course I say this as a short fiction writer who has been trained to obsess over character rather than plot. If you don’t know the full story of Ender’s Game (as in if you didn’t see the movie) you deserve it to make it to the end. The ending saves what is not much more than an average book. If you’re looking to break into sci-fi or fantasy, I could offer some better recommendations. Ender’s Game is pretty hard SF. ”

To him, I had to say:

“Wow! Thanks for the feedback 🙂 I’m almost to the end, and I will say: I’m glad that I’m making it through. Although I didn’t understand why he keeps ‘plodding on’, I really have been annoyed with the author introducing fleeting words and situations that go unexplained and go nowhere. They seem to be a way to up words and distract from the content of the story. Admittedly, I’m reading an ‘updated’ version from after the movie was released {which you’re correct, I’ve not seen – I always insist on reading the book first!}. The reason I’m powering through is my son wants to watch the movie — and everyone’s read the book except me! 😉 I’ve also not read the Hunger Games series {got a handful of chapters in and couldn’t get into it, but I may take a second look after this one}. I read ‘The Giver’ prior to ‘Enders Game’ and am glad I did — it was a great warm up for the Sci-Fi, which is definitely not my genre of choice. I’d love other recommendations – thank you so much 🙂 ”

JMWWriting said, “I’ll have to think about it. I read more fantasy than sci-fi and even the SF I read tends to be more fantastic than scientific. If you like Star Wars, the Heir to the Empire (Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy, Vol. 1) series by Timothy Zahn was really good, better than The Force Awakens. But not really sci-fi. If you find yourself settling into harder SF, you could try “Old Man’s War.” It’s a hard military SF, but as I recall it has a thread of romance that makes the character more liable. And of course there’s “The Hitchhiker’s Guide the Galaxy.”. On the fantasy side, anything Discworld, though I’d probably start with Small Gods (Discworld). I also liked the The Sword of Truth, Boxed Set I, Books 1-3: Wizard’s First Rule, Blood of the Fold ,Stone of Tears series, but its pretty long (like a dozen massive tomes). You could probably get away with only readying the first one, Wizard’s First Rule (Sword of Truth, Book 1), though. That’s what comes to mind at the moment.”

To which I wrote, “My husband loved ‘Old Man’s War’, but I’ve not read it. I despised The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – felt like if I were a middle-aged white man, I’d relate – but there was really nothing there for me. I love Star Wars, but haven’t read any of the books or stories — but I may add “Heir to the Empire’. Myself, I could probably read fantasy much more easily than Sci-Fi. I actually prefer nonfiction on almost any topic…I go through spurts. We’re studying Medieval history at the moment, so I have piles of books about early Medieval history, clothing, daily life, etc. I’m pouring through now {which is why I’ll be pushing through to the end of ‘Ender’ tonight!}. Thank you so much again for your generosity.”

Don’t you just love conversations with other bloggers?


What’s on your Recycled Reading list?

What is ‘Recylced Reads’ 2017?


Image Credit Bikurgurl, Recycled Reads 2017

The gist: Read what you have on your shelf. If you’ve read it all, then swap books with friends, enjoy a trip to the library to find a dozen you’d like to read, or classics you may have missed along the way, and read away.

The rules: There really are no rules — it’s all about giving yourself the grace and space to take the time for you. I enjoy reading, so naturally, this is a challenge I could embrace.

My dozen are books for 2017:

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6 thoughts on “Recycled Reads 2017: Ender’s Game

  1. I appreciate this review, and like the conversation with jmmwritings too (whose blog I also read). I’ve had Enders Game on my to-read list for a while, and after reading this, I think it has dropped down a few places on the priority list. The critiques are really surprising to me, because I’ve read a couple writing craft books by Orson Scott Card and they’re some of my favorites.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As I stated, Science Fiction by and large is outside of my reading genre, While I like some, they are few and far between. My son and husband liked it immensely — but it reminded me vaguely of Hitchhikers Guide which both present to me as books written for men, by men. Of course there have to be books for men, but the downside is not favorable for crossing lines of gender. I was much more interested in the subplot with the siblings and feel this could have been developed better – which is my only interest in tentatively putting ‘Speaker of the Dead’ on my future Recycled Reads list 😉 I had no idea Card wrote craft books – are you writing reviews of these? I’m looking into tablet weaving and think I hit upon a site to walk me through it, but am always looking for resources. I’m so happy we’ve connected on these issues!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I actually love science fiction, but I know what you mean about the lack of good female characters, especially from the older writers. I enjoyed Hitchhikers Guide, but I was much younger then, so I’m not sure how I’d react if I read it now for the first time. I have reviews of two Orson Scott Card books on Goodreads, but I’m not sure how to link to my reviews instead of just to the books themselves. Here’s my profile, so they should be there (I think):

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oooo….something I’m terrible at doing is getting reviews onto Goodreads! Do you have an easy way? I think I’ve got too many controls on my WordPress account…thank you for pointing me to your Goodreads page 🙂 Now to see if I can find my password….

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I just put my reviews straight onto Goodreads and nowhere else, and that’s pretty simple. If you’re having trouble getting WordPress to do it automatically, you could always use ye olde Copy & Paste. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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