Rereading Ender’s game six years later, I found it better than I remembered it. Sure, you’ll never see the twist coming the way you saw it the first time, and when I read it the first time I didn’t know about OSC’s personal politics. But regardless: The book sucked me in, dragged me through a story as relentlessly cruel as it was enjoyable, and then spit me out three hours later, not without delivering a last minute kick straight to the feelings.
I’m sure there has been much said about the weaknesses of the book: The way female characters are dismissed, the esoteric assumptions about cruelty and kindness, the extreme behaviour of all three Wiggins children (sometimes you had to wonder when OSC last interacted with a six-year-old). At the same time, at least for me, OSC’s religion didn’t count among the weaknesses – later books in the series grew preachy and heavy with it, but here I felt it served to lend depth to the worldbuilding. The twist to the story as well as Ender’s general state of mind makes sure that while the progression arc follows generic male nerd power fantasy, it goes deeper than that and doesn’t allow the reader-protagonist to feel smug in their perceived superiority.
But also, I’m just a sucker for training sequences, and it’s no wonder I’m into this book.