A War of Gifts

Orson Scott Card has been one of my favorite authors since I was about twelve years old. It is his book Ender’s Game that helped me fall in love with reading as a young teenager, and I have followed his writing for the last fifteen years. I’ve paid the closest attention to his Ender books, though. They are afterall, the catalyst for my current and continued love of reading. What I’ve always loved most about Card’s books is that although labeled as science fiction, they are really deep character stories that take you through the psychology of growing up, war, and the dynamics of human nature. I’ve appreciated this even more as I’ve grown older. My love for Ender’s universe has been so strong that I read the original book at least once every other year, and recently I have read through the graphic novels developed by Marvel; I’m currently listening to the original book on CD now on my long drives to school and back home. (Big thanks to my Dad for sharing the CD’s with me.) In many ways, Card, with the help of my Dad first handing me the book, has altered the course of my life forever. I have pondered before if I would be a teacher or a writer if not for reading Ender’s Game.

This past week while traveling, I re-encountered the Ender universe by reading a short novella that Card wrote not long ago aptly named The War of Gifts. The short book (only about ninety pages) sucked me right back into the extraordinary world and psychology that Card has built over the last three decades. Written in third person but from different character’s views the story propels the reader back into the days of battle school, but this time the focus is on religious celebrations and holiday practices which are strictly forbidden in battle school. Card exquisitely develops the psychology behind both those who hold close to their culture and those who have been unknowingly oppressed by religion all while reintroducing familiar characters as well as Ender Wiggin himself again. As a fan of the series, I was probably easy to please, but I genuinely feel this is a great, short read for anyone. The writing is superb and the themes leave you thinking well after you finish drinking in the final word.

If you’re a fan of Card’s, or even if you’ve never heard of him before now, I highly recommend checking this novella out in the near future.

PS – If you are an avid Card reader, he just released his newest book as part of the Ender’s Shadow series and will release a prequel about the first formic wars in July. Also, the Ender’s Game movie is slated to be in theaters in March 2013.

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