I did not expect to like Ender’s Game. I read it about six years ago–skimmed it actually when an eager student loaned it to me. I wasn’t impressed. This time, I sat down and read it thoroughly for the student book club of which I’m the advisor at my school. Let me be clear: I don’t like sci-fi books, I think most book series are commodified crap, and I have a distinct aversion to video games. That’s a lot of prejudice for a book to overcome, but Ender’s Game did it. The main reason I found it so fascinating was the rich complexity of Ender’s character. He is a child denied a childhood, uncertain of who he is, fearful of who he could become. Mostly, I just love how dang good he is at everything he does. It becomes addicting to watch the trajectory of someone who seems incapable of losing but whose victories grow increasingly hollow as the violence wears away at his soul.
You don’t have to enjoy dystopic worlds, interstellar warfare, or virtual reality to enjoy Ender’s Game. As with all good books, you just need to be interested in an up-close examination of human behavior.