Ender’s Game Review

The Book vs. The Film

Ender’s Game was written by Orson Scott Card published on the 15th January 1985, while the film adaptation was released in 2013. They follow the main protagonist Ender, his family, brother Peter and sister Valentine and his trials in military school. Children are trained from an early age to protect the earth, as, over the last couple of decades, Earth has been fighting off an alien invasion. Ender quickly is seen as the warrior who can change the war into Earths favour as he has the balance of empathy and brutality his brother and sister did not have. His trials consist of isolation and persecution throughout, along with the pressure of being the best earth has to offer.

The Book – Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

The book focuses a lot more on the family than film does, as Peter and Valentine have a big side story playout throughout the novel. As the novel takes a time frame of a couple of years, Peter and Valentine begin to infiltrate the media through there writing, both using pseudonyms as they are too young to be taking seriously. Valentine writes as Demontheus and Peter writes as Locke. Peter’s main goal in doing this is so he can come into power later on in life which he does as Ender and Valentine inhabit another planet.

Before Ender goes on to live his life on another planet with his sister Valentine, he is thoroughly tested and manipulated by the I.F. (international fleet). He is putting into isolating circumstances and with the odds against him. Once in essesstially military school, he tested every day with mock battles in which he commands a team in zero gravity. He changes the game and easily becomes the best soldier in there. Because of his brilliance, he is sent to command school in which the intensity is increased due to the last man to kill one of the aliens’ fleets Major Rakham, begins to train Ender with mock simulations. He bats it out the park every time leading to his final battle simulation. Again he completes it with the whole world watching. This is where the twist comes in as the mock simulations have actually been real and he has annihilated an entire species. It also comes to light that Ender has killed to people leaving Ender regretting what he has done.

The Film – Ender’s Game by Gavin Hood

The film stars Asa Butterfield as Ender Wiggan, and similar to the book follows his life through military school showing his simulations and mock battles. The film focuses more on just Ender’s life and the people he gathers as his team for fighting the alien. Petra played by Hailee Steinfeld gaining a greater role in the film as she plays Ender’s friend and love interest. In the book, she is just his friend and only teams up with for a short while. Valentine played by Abigal Breslin role is decreased, along with Peters, although Valentine is seen more than Peter. Valentine plays the voice of reason to Ender as she does in the novel, but the emotional connection they have is not portrayed that well. She doesn’t seem as important to ender as she does in the book.

The ending also differs, after Ender realises he has destroyed a whole species, he flies to one of the planets he has destroyed and finds the queen who is weak. She gives him an egg in which he hides from everyone. Ender plays a computer game throughout and this is what leads him to find the queen. In the book, he only interacts with the queen through thought, as he goes onto writing about their species in a book he calls ‘The Voice for the Dead’.

Which one is Better?

The original novel offers more than the film with its vivid descriptions and enhanced backstories. The novel can stand alone, as it begins the Ender series. The film is good with its great cast that includes Harrison Ford, however, it just doesn’t offer the same imagery as the book.

Previous Book Reviews

Armada by Ernest Cline – Book Review

Ready Player One

Villains by Necessity Novel by Eve Forward Book Review

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

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Armada by Ernest Cline – Book Review

Armada by Ernest Cline – Book Review

Ernest Cline’s other nerdy book that is not Ready Player One

 Synopsis of Armada

The novel follows an eighteen-year-old boy called Zack Lightman who is ranked in the top 10 of a video game called Armada, The Red Baron is ranked first. Zack is ranked 6th under the name of Red Baron. His father supposedly died straight after he was born, leaving Zack and his mother to fend for themselves. All his father has left behind is a conspiracy theory, a theory that the government is preparing people for an alien invasion through games such as Armada and films like Star Wars.

During a day at school, Zack sees an alien spaceship from the game Armada, not believing what he is seeing her runs home and further explores his father’s conspiracy stuff in the attic. He then brushes it off and continues to go about his life, playing video games with his two best friends and working at a local game store under a man called Rey. Rey gives him the latest console to further improve his skills on Armada.

Later that night him and his two best friends Cruz and Deihl, they get a serious brief before playing Armada together. A brief from the fictional character Admiral Vance, who describes the mission in detail as a once only mission to stop a disruptor destroying the earth. They ultimately fail this mission believing they will get another opportunity another time.

The next, however, while at school the EDA (Earth Defence Association) show up to take Zack away with him being ranked in the top 10 of Armada in the world by Ray. He is taken to a secret facility where all the other top players are gathered also in which it is revealed there will be an alien invasion in 24 hours by Admiral Vance who is actually real. Here, him and love interest, Lex, a top player in the other government designed game Terra Firma as they divulge the information being giving to them that they have been sublimely trained to fight an incoming alien invasion, against the so-called Europans. As they are talking, they base is attacked by the Europans causing them to sign up to the EDA and defend the base.

The base is defended relatively successfully, although Zack nearly destroys the base by not following orders to not follow a Europan drone. He is nearly sent home for his mistake but Vance decides to keep him as a favour to his father, who had saved Vance’s life. Vance then sends him to the moon base to join the other highly ranked Armada players.

Zack arrives on the moon and joins fellow top players, and is to report to the top player the Red Baron, who is actually his father. He and his father reunite and his father explains his theory of why the Europans are attacking earth, stating that is all a test by the Europans as they are letting Earth fight back and take their technology. This comes to be true as the Europans attack through their first wave wiping out half the earth until Zack father sacrifices himself to destroy an alien dreadnought. Realising it is a test Zack and his father stops the nuked (Icebreaker), the earth has planned to use on the Europans, Zacks dad dying in the process.

After stopping the nuke, an Icosahedron arises from the planet and identifies itself as an emissary of a machine that was created by a galactic community of civilizations called the Sodality. The whole invasion was a test to see how aggressive earth could be, and earth passed only just because they stopped the nuke. Zack accepts membership to the Sodality on earth behalf causing the Icosahedron to send help to earth to restore it and help the survivors. Zack later joins as an ambassador to learn the aliens’ true motives.

Review

Similar to Ready Player One, Ernest Cline uses a lot of 80s references throughout his novel which creates nostalgia. The 80s being Cline’s favourite period. Zack is a likeable character as he is your typical gamer nerd whos dream comes true of being part of his favourite game comes to life. He becomes the hero of his own game, which any person would love to be. Although, obviously it is not as you want to be in every way as Zack experiences, such as you can actually die part.

The concept is also similar to Ender’s Game which Cline alludes to as they both share the idea of computer game having an alternative motive. In a way, it is as dark as Ender’s Game as the Icosahedron has destroyed half of the earth as a test. In Ender’s Game, Ender destroys nearly an entire civilisation as a test unknown to himself it wasn’t tested. Armada has a less serious tone but has a great deal of sacrifice through it, Milo and Shen, to gay lovers sacrificing themselves to save other, along with Zacks father Xavier.

Although Armada is a great book, I still think Ready Player One is better due to the anything can happen narrative and the open world it creates.

8/10

Leave a comment if you’ve read any of Ernest Cline’s books

Man Seeking Woman and The Last Girlfriend on Earth

Man Seeking Woman /Last Girlfriend on Earth Review

Simon Rich brings his comedic outlook on dealing with relationships, from being in one to find one. Simon Rich writing and creating relatable material, it is must read if you even ever had a crush on someone. Simon books The Last Girlfriend on Earth and other love stories, is split into three chapters, boy meets girl, boy meets girl and boy loses girl. The TV show, on the other hand, follows singleton Josh played by Jay Baruchel, who has just broken up with his longtime girlfriend Maggie. The first series explores Josh getting over Maggie, the second season focuses on him seeking one particular girl and the final third series is about the relationship he is in. Both book and tv shows are a must read and watch. The first season being by far the funniest and best.

The Last Girlfriend and Other Stories – Best of the Bunch

Occupy Jen’s Street

This short story tells the tale of Otto who leads a protest against a girl called Jen who he has courted for a while. She has got into a relationship and Otta does not believe this to be fair, so he sets up camp outside her dorm and starts a protest. Otto demands are:

  • Jen must dump her current boyfriend and enter a long-term relationship with him
  • She must instantly fall in love with him
  • Become attracted to him physically
  • A general reduction in student loans

He gathers a following over the next couple of weeks even getting on national TV, however, it is too no prevail. The morality of the tale being you can protest and change many things, but not someone falling in love with you.

Cupid

This story is also used in the TV series, Series one, Episode 5, explaining why all the promoters get all the girls apparently. Zeus invites Cupid to Mount Olympus to question why everyone isn’t receiving love anymore, as only nightclub and vodka promoters along with bad people are getting love. This is due to Cupid hanging around in clubs rather than travelling the world. The tv show goes further than the story as Josh is set up with an attractive girl as Cupid feels bad about who he has been shooting arrows at.

The Last Girlfriend on Earth

After a viral epidemic hits the world, it leaves a shortage of girl and Leon is going out with one. She constantly being hit on by guys such as Bill Gates, Brad Pitt and Adam West! Leon’s girlfriend Kayla just brushes it off like everyone is not flirting with her while Leon sees that every guy is trying to get with her. This causing friction in their relationship.

Confidence

Another story used in the TV series is the confidence story. The confidence story follows a night in between Jack and a girl he has been dating Meg. When asked by Meg to define what they are, he finally has the confidence to say that they are boyfriend and girlfriend. Happy with his decision he goes in for a kiss only for her to freeze, then three sex aliens turn up behind him asking for him to have sex with him. The sex aliens have come to Jack as they have smelt the confidence on him. Jack ultimately rejects them as he not willing to cheat on his girlfriend, causing them to leave, although leaving there number. He shares this experience with his friend who the sex aliens had visited him 5 years ago when he first started going out with his girlfriend. This causes Jack to regret not having sex with them and fractically texts them to come back, even knowing they won’t comeback as they will not smell is desperation.

The Best Parts of Man Seeking Woman – TV Show

In Series one, episode 2, Man Seeking Woman takes the task of texting a girl after getting her number to a whole new level. Josh, his sister and his best friend, Mike (Eric Andre), prepare to send the one make or break text. They end up in a secret bunker environment with high ranking officials discussing how he should text this girl he met on the train. The statistics guy saying women love grammar and the use of emoji’s are up while Mike makes an impassioned speech about making her dick pic.

Series One, Episode 4, puts Josh in the position, everyone, has been in, the position of your friends setting you up with someone. Josh is invited to a dinner with his sister, her boyfriend and other couples. Noticing he is the only, singleton there until Maude arrives in which from the get-go, his sisters and other couples watch and wait to see if anything happens. After a while, they get bored off waiting for something to happen, and start shouting couple up to them in which they end running away from them together. The episode gets even funnier when Josh’s mam interrogates him over Maude when they are a thing. Going as far as using the internet to find out about Maude, asking if she knows the Stevenson’s just because she lives somewhere.

In his pursuit of Rosa (Rosa Salazar) his work friend who currently has a boyfriend, he decides to be a strong viable candidate for her if she does break up with her boyfriend. The media pursuing issues of him for running for Rosa boyfriend, which he denies although he clearly gaining favour by hanging around with her friends and going against some of her boyfriend’s policies such as not liking curry. More favour is gained as Rosa tells him how her boyfriend does not like trying new fancy places in which Josh shows at a really saying he believes boyfriends should take their girlfriends to fancy places. At this point, they are calling Rosa’s boyfriend to resign. His campaign ultimately fails as she is going out with Jesus Christ (Fred Armisen). Series 2, Episode 6

Another familiar situation people find themselves is when Josh’s new girlfriend Lucy (Kate Findlay) does not think Mike likes him in series 3, Episode 3. Josh invites them to hang out, the placing being an underground mine. Josh is however late, leaving Lucy and Mike alone in a mine together, with no mutual friend to make conversation between them. It gets worse when the mine explodes leaving them with no escape, the media sending in conversation starters for them. Mike is about to kill himself until Lucy begins to tell him revealing stories about Josh, such as him getting a boner during a class recital. They have a good time because of this but this leads to Mike becoming a whistleblower, revealing the all the embarrassing stories about Josh to the world.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Review

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Book and Film Review

Book Synopsis

The book written by Stephen Chbosky follows 15 year old protagonist Charlie who has trouble socially, due to a troubled past that is revealed throughout the novel. He is writing letters to an unknown recipient, talking about his life in freshman year in high-school. He deals with unrequited love, sexuality, drug use, and mental health throughout his first year at high school. Unrequited love for his senior friend Sam, along with sexuality in the form of Sam’s step brother Patrick, who is going out with Brad, a closeted homosexual on the football team. Charlie also has his first encounter with drug use as he trips on LSD to be cool and mental health through the effects of his best middle friend committing suicide and his aunt dying in a car crash.

Film Synopsis

The film adaptation starring as Logan Lerman as Charlie, Ezra Miller as Patrick and Emma Watson as Sam, follows closely to the book as is also directed by Stephen Chbosky. The only major differences are Charlie teacher has a bigger role in the film. As in the book, he is mentioned as is supportive towards Charlie, but it never talks about his teaching style. Having Paul Rudd play the teacher though, obviously, the teacher was going to have a bigger role. Charlie’s sister being abused by boyfriend doesn’t play as a major point, although it is shown in the film. In a way, a major change is the tunnel scene where Sam stands up, as the song they are listening to is changed from Fleetwood Macs Landslide to David Bowie’s Hero creating a whole new meaning to the word infinite. The film also had Imagine Dragons Its time which was awesome.

Review

Both book and film are worth visiting as they deal with social issues everybody goes through during their adolescents. The book and film holding that nostalgic feeling but also that cringe-worthy moment of when you were younger. An example being, when Charlie is dared to kiss the prettiest girl in the room. Charlie sitting with his girlfriend Mary Elizabeth, played by Mae Whitman, chooses not to kiss her and kisses Sam instead causing everyone to resent him. It shows the perils of being a wallflower as he lying to himself in when he said yes to going out with Mary Elizabeth. Later, when he reveals his true feelings to Sam as she is leaving, she berates him for not acting earlier. The Perks of Being a Wallflower are being very good at observing things in a social situation, taking everything in the conversations around during you, allowing you to be able to judge things more rationally. Thus linking in with Carl Jung‘s theory of introversion/extraversion. Charlie portraying introversion as Patrick shows extraversion in dealing with life. Overall this book is good coming of age book, like the book The Wanderers by Richard Price dealing with taboo subjects and dealing with the trials you face when growing up.

Here links to some of my other book reviews:

Man Seeking Woman and The Last Girlfriend on Earth

Mortal Engines: Infernal Devices Book Review

Villains by Necessity Novel by Eve Forward Book Review

Ready Player One Book Review

Mortal Engines: Infernal Devices Book Review

Mortal Engines Infernal Devices by Phillip Reeves Book Review

Following on from Predators Gold comes Phillip Reeves third book in the quartet Infernal Devices set 16 years after the events of Predators Gold.

Synopsis

All is quiet in the city of Anchorage after adventuring to America and finding a safe haven in the hills. Tom and Hester have settled down, their adventures seeming to be a distant memory. Tom and Hester have also had a child called Wren who yearns for adventure. And that is when the troubles start. The past catches up with Tom and Hester, as Gargle the lostboy returns in the search of an ancient book called the tin book. The Tin Book quickly becomes the item everybody wants causing Wren to be kidnapped, and Tom and Hester to come to her aid.

Review

Hester secrets come out at the end of the novel, showing her to be completely evil. Reeves slowly builds Hester character to be unsympathetic as she becomes heartless through her joy for killing and her obsession with Tom. Turning on her own daughter and losing Tom maybe forever. Hester has always had that evil side and it his finally came out. It’ll be good to see what happens in the final book. Probably my favourite book so far, as it is all action throughout and ties up loose ends as well as creating new ones. Wren looks to become the main female protagonist in the next novel as she grows as a character throughout the book. I can’t wait to read the final book.

7.5/10

Previous books reviewed in the quartet

Mortal Engines: Predators Gold Book Review

Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeves: Review

Comment below if you have read any of these books and let me know what you think

 

 

Ready Player One Film Review

Ready Player One Film Review

Proving books are still better

Synopsis

The film centres around Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), a teenager leaving in Columbus 2045. He is on the quest to find the three keys left behind by Oasis created James Halliday (Mark Rylance) who had died 5 years prior to releasing a hidden Easter Egg in the Oasis. The Oasis is a massive MMORPG in which the whole world is essentially playing due to freedom it gives a person in the game. In the Oasis Wade goes as Percival, as his best friend goes as Aech and his love interest, a famous gunter goes as Art3mis (Olivia Cooke). They are later joined by Daito and Sho to create the high 5.  Although the Oasis is free for everyone and allows them to do anything they want, an evil corporation called IOI wants to stop this. This evil corporation is run by Nolan Sorrento (Ben Mendelsohn) who wants to create an interface for the Oasis covered in advertisements. Thus, Wade Watts and the rest of the high-five, have to find the keys and Egg before IOI to stop them becoming controllers of the Oasis.

Review

Having read the book first, I still came in with high hopes for the film adaption and they did not disappoint to a certain extent. Speilberg creating a world with the popular pop culture of today as they are cameos from Master chief and there is a Minecraft planet. The film is also acted great by the relatively new acts involved such as Tye Sheridan. The visual effects are stunning as Art3mis looks like an alien version of Ruby Rose along with Aech’s character looking like an war cyborg. Spielberg had to change a lot from the book as he couldn’t possibly create some of the worlds mentioned in the novel. He does replace them with highly creative scenes, like the shinning scene in homage to Kubrick.

Comparing the book to the film

Obviously, Speilberg could not create everything in the book and he could not also create the slow burn feel the book had. The first two ways the keys are found being completely different to the film, along with I-Rok (TJ Miller) playing an overpowered henchman for IOI. In the book, I-Rok just plays an annoyance and a grass. Although Og Morrow (Simon Pegg) still plays a huge role in the film, as he still helps the Hi five along the way, his character is still diminished. In a cynical view, it misses out Daito being killed in real life, leaving his little brother to fend for himself, but obviously, it’s left out for PG reasons. The Hi 5 are also brought together so quickly with them all being friends from the get-go. The book was great because of the nerdy references it made I don’t think Spielberg made it that nerdy.

6.5/10

Villains by Necessity Novel by Eve Forward Book Review

Villains by Necessity Book Review

When the villains become the heroes

Synopsis

The central book’s theme is good needs evil. In the prologue, it is explained that evil has been taking away throughout the realm after long fought out battle between good and evil. The novel goes in the opposite direction to over fantasy novels as the heroes are the leftover villains in the world. These leftover villains, which includes an: as assassin, dwarf, necromancer, druid and a black knight, must adventure across the world that is being succumbed by light to restore the balance of the world between good and evil. The villains put aside their differences to join forces against the ruler of good, Mizzamir, who is whitewashing the masses of the world. The major twist throughout the novel is that the book is taken from the villain’s perspective, who are essentially the heroes, and they cannot be any heroes without villains. Morality is also challenged in various ways due to the concept of rape throughout the novel, along with killing. Villain’s by Necessity questionably follows Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey.

Heroes Journey

Joseph Campbell’s hero journey is applied to Eve Forward’s novel of Villains by Necessity due to the universality of Campbell’s monomyth and shows the importance of the monomyth. Although Campbell’s monomyth is general and basic, it strongly outlines the human consciousness through the challenges the hero faces along his journey. As he explains:

The agent of breaking through personal limitations is the agony of spiritual growth,” he writes. “Art, literature, myth and cult, philosophy, and ascetic disciplines are instruments to help the individual past his limiting horizons into spheres of ever-expanding realization. As he crosses threshold after threshold, conquering dragon after dragon, the stature of the divinity that he summons to his highest wish increases until it subsumes the cosmos. Finally, the mind breaks the bounding sphere of the cosmos (Campbell 2008 190)

The monomyth has psychological importance, as the individual battles there outer and inner ‘‘dragons’’. Additionally, Campbell is saying literature is used to make people more human as Eve Forward shows in Villains by Necessity. Eve Forwards character development of Valerie and more importantly Kaylana intending Campbell’s hero’s journey can also be applied to female supporting characters. No woman throughout the novel is metaphorically a temptress or aligned to play a Goddess; they have their own identities disproving Murdock’s critic of the hero’s journey being male-dominated. Villains by Necessity displays various methods of the monomyth and representations of Carl Jung archetypes. Eve Forward’s main character Sam portraying the hero of the novel, in which the reader sees themselves and portrays the journey every follows. Sam representing various archetypal hero’s establishing the fact that a hero has a ‘‘thousand faces’’. The journey of one discovering themselves and finding the meaning of their existence. In find meaning, this revoking Camus philosophical idea of absurdism, and the notion of the looking for meaning to be pointless. Campbell’s monomyth is showing that everyone has the potential to become a hero. Jung is supporting this idea of everyone being a hero through his book in the collective consciousness in which the journey archetypes are formed. The archetypes are appearing throughout Villains by Necessity displayed through the characters of primarily Sam and various supporting characters. As Eve Forwards are not typical heroes, they still transform and endure the hero’s journey even if they ‘‘It is not a society that is to guide and save the creative hero, but precisely the reverse. Moreover, so every one of us shares the supreme ordeal–carries the cross of the Redeemer–not in the bright moments of his tribe’s great victories, but in the silences of his despair’’ (Campbell 2008 391). The heroes save the society, but society also saves them.

Review

One of my favourites books I’ve ever read, reading it on holiday in Kavos on my Kindle. It is my favourite fantasy book and I like how it turns the typical hero’s and villains trope on it’ head. The book has everything and I highly recommend reading it. However if you do want to read this book it is pricey.

9/10