Recommendation: Yes. I liked this book.
I went to a literary conference in college to hear Orson Scott Card speak. I don't remember much except the question answer period during lunch, and a lot of people trying to impress him. BUT I do remember how smart he sounded, but not snooty, just bright and interesting. So I don't know WHY it has taken me so many years to read one of his books. Many people in my family are big fans. I also saw him waiting to be seated at Brick Oven once. Famous.
So, I actually decided to read this, his first book, to see if it would be a good read for my son. I think he needs to wait a couple more years.
What I liked: I just have say it again, but OSC writes smart. I don't know how else to describe it. But I liked his style right off. I can count the number of science fiction books I've read on one hand, but this one was really easy to read.
I liked the character. It is easy to think of Ender as being about 5 years older than he is, but I think that's the point. In his intro, which I only read part of before the book, OSC says, "I forced the audience to experience the lives of these children from...the perspective in which their feelings and decision are just as real and important as any adult's." He also talks about the "personhood of children."
Something else cool is how the desks the boys use are so similar to laptops. Very insightful for 30 years ago. Also the "nets." Cool.
I really liked the end. The last chapter was good for me. I like the whole Speaker for the Dead, which pretty much means I'll read the next book. I liked that things didn't finish up the way I predicted. I don't know if you can call it a happy ending, but it was happy compared to the majority of the book.
What I didn't like:
I got a little bogged down with the descriptions of the futuristic governments, and the details of the battles. I read them, but didn't fully process them. This didn't affect the story.
It was also a little more violent that I like to read. Which is why Griff will be waiting a couple more years. Some of the characters are just so MEAN. I guess that's real life. But it was troubling.
Some of the boys slang is a little annoying, or offensive. I did see that the original copyright was 1977, which explains a little.
"There's only one thing that wil make them stop hating you. And that's being so good at what you do that they can't ignore you."
"So everything depend on how you push off, the course you set when you start."
"It was better in the morning. Home was merely a dull ache in the back of his memory. A tiredness in his eyes."