Pros: One of the greatest SF books I have ever read.
Cons: Not for someone wanting light "aeroplane" reading. Requires attention.
To be frank, I dived into this book and emerged feeling like someone had smacked me in the face with a piece of four-by-two. (A large plank of wood for those unfamiliar with the term) Seriously 'gob-smacked'. Not only had I become utterly immersed in the story but the emotional jolt of the conclusion was an almost physical sensation.
Ender is a young child thrust into a harsh world where the rules around him are constantly changed. Along with other boys of similar age, he plays carefully designed games all with one end; to prepare an army to face an alien enemy that is still years away from Earth. He must learn to fight, to think, to lead and to survive.
The plot seems pretty straightforward; young boy recruited by government to save the world. So whats the big deal? Why does everyone rave about this book?
To start with, the author has created an image of the future that is utterly plausible. Unlike many sf novels which take you to a future quite alien from the present, Card creates a world that is familiar to us; from the school yard to the local swimming hole. Right from the beginning of the book the reader empathises with the main character Ender and that empathy continues through its emotional rollercoaster to the very end.
Card is also, simply put, an excellent writer. From a literary perspective this novel is beautifully written. So many SF novels nowadays are simplistic, two dimensional fluff. Sure they are easy to read, but you remain uninvolved. This is not the case with Ender's Game. I don't believe you can read Enders Game and be left untouched by it.
I have been reading science fiction for over 25 years and read literally hundreds of books each year, and this one is one of the very best.