(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
A space-age Lord of the Flies thrill ride (sans the psychological couch trip), this follows six-year-old Ender Wiggin's odyssey from being the smartest, smallest boy in Battle School to savior of humankind. To prepare for an upcoming war with a devastatingly murderous insectoid race (the "formics," aka "buggers"), select earth children are trained on "the Battle Game." Aptest pupil ever Ender quickly rises to the top of Battle School, which has twice the nasty of any boarding school and all the charms of a snake pit (Battle School dude factors are endless). Many Card novels are spun outward from this tale, including the recent Ender in Exile. Dude factor: While these works can be enjoyed individually, they tend to enhance one another. For example, reading Ender's Shadow, which focuses on the fascinating and tragic character of Bean, is heightened by knowing all about Bean's hyperdevotion to (and competition with) Ender. The chronological details of various books remain in neat order, with some entries complementing others during simultaneous time frames and others serving as prequels or sequels. Also fascinating is the shift between the blunt action of Ender's Game and its two immediate sequels, Speaker for the Dead and Xenocide; these are completely different in style, yet similarly captivating on a philosophical plane. In 2008, Tor published Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, and Children of the Mind in one big gift set, ISBN 978-0-7653-6243-8. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.