(This review may contain spoilers).
This might be one of the only book-to-movie adaptations where I actually enjoyed the movie more than the book.
I really liked the idea behind this book, even though I knew how it would end from having seen the movie. It was really nice to see some glimpses of the world all around them and a bit about the society and the limit set on the children.
While I did find Ender an easy character to empathise with and understand, it was harder to empathise with his siblings, even Valentine. The main reason for that, I felt, was that there was too much telling and not showing. For instance, with Peter and Valentine creating entirely new identities that were supposed to cause a lot of controversy – and yet there was absolutely nothing shown about what those identities were actually saying and what other people had picked up from them.
It didn’t really feel like there was a lot of threat from the aliens and even though there was a lot of urgency in how fast Ender was pushed, it felt more like the teachers were trying to break him into pieces than mould him. I actually did find that the ending was very anticlimactic for what it was.
I would have liked a bit more made of the hints of depth to Peter. It would have been more interesting to see parts of the story from his perspective, rather than Valentine’s – who came across as a much worse character than she’d first been shown.
I did like the use of the battle rooms and it was interesting to see how the children worked together and how they had to cope with being forced into battle simulations. I liked seeing them all finding ways of beating each army, but it really wasn’t clear how many armies there were in total.
I would have liked to see more of the secondary characters, such as Dink and Petra. There wasn’t really a lot of foreshadowing and by the end of the book, I was disappointed not to see much of anything revealed about the aliens. The Fairyland aspect was really intriguing, but there was little setup to the end reveal.
I don’t think I’ll read the next books in this series – which is a shame, because I had really high expectations when I started reading.