Book Review – Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Title: Ender’s Game

Author: Orson Scott Card

Format: Paperback

Published: 1991

 

As of late I’ve been simply hunting for books to read. I’ve been wanting something different something science fiction in nature and I don’t know what else. I’ve been struggling to find books for what I was in the mood for and decided to suck it up and read Ender’s Game. Not that I have issues with Ender’s Game. I guess it was just a matter that I read the first page once before and it didn’t grab me and it is a book that has been raved about to me before. Now as a blog that talks about books and gives recommendations it seems almost hypocritical of me to reject a recommendation, particularly when I say I take recommendations rather seriously but there is a difference between a person saying, “I think you would like this book or, I really like this book and think that everyone should read it.” Versus “This is the best book ever you got to read it! See look there is a movie so yeah read it!” The Rave I had received was a long the lines of the latter and it felt like it was a matter of the recommendation being part of the movie craze rather than being a legitimate recommendation.

 

Any way, I finally check it out of the library and started to read it and found my self uncertain. I kept reading knowing that as early into the book as I was that I couldn’t say it is bad and give it up. I kept reading and before I knew it I had devoted a whole night reading finishing the next day only because I couldn’t remain awake long enough to finish the last twenty pages, otherwise this would have been a 1 day book.

 

Normally for me a one day book indicates that it is that good of a read but I think it was more a matter that I was very much in the mood to simply read a book and Ender’s Game wasn’t bad and had a bit of intrigue to it. Over all, it is hard to say what my official opinion about the book is. The story is chiefly about a young boy named Ender who is hoped to be the answer to a long fought battle. Thus at the young age of 6 Ender is taken off to Battle School where he is pushed to his limit s to become the commander they hope he can be. The book goes through Ender’s struggles and his training and the extreme conditions that he finds himself placed under.

 

Over all, it is a bit of an odd book and in a lot of way s though it was written between the two book felt a bit like a mix of the Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies. With it obviously pre-dating the first and post dating the later. Having read both books, I feel that the shock value that this book could provide did not for me. In the end I think I would give this book a 3 out of 5 page review stating that you are not wasting your time with the read but it isn’t a book I’ll be running to tell people about. Though if you have read the book I would gladly welcome a discussion about it because I do feel it is a good book to have a discussion on, much like Lord of the Flies.

Book Review – Ultimate Iron Man by Orson Scott Card

Title: Ultimate Iron Man

Author:  Orson Scott Card

Illustrator: Andy Kubert, & Mark Bagley

Format: Paperback

Published: 2006

 

As I said last review the book there was only a short reprieve and I am here to present you yet another comic.  This time I bring you something from the Marvel Universe which isn’t all that common for me. Today I present to you Ultimate Iron Mann.  This is a comic that I almost didn’t pick up.  I saw the tile realized I should probably read a bit of Iron Man considering that I am rather fond of the movies.  Yet I saw the cover art and the way the suit is designed is very different, rather round and not what I’m used to as I have seen Iron Man featured in other comics such as the Guardians of the Galaxy comics which I will say is a must read!  (Seriously a 5 out of 5 if I were to review it.)   Yet, before putting it back I looked at the back and realized that the comic was written by an award winner and with that I decided why not it’s not like I’m risking money on this book as I was at the library at the time.

 

I picked up the book and was a little surprised that this was starting with the store of Howard Stark.  I was confused but continued to read and continued to be confused.  This story was something of an origin story but not in the way that I sort of know the story via the movies or what I have heard.  Pretty much Tony Stark was a genetically altered child.  His mother was exposed to a virus of sorts that was killing her and causing baby Tony to grow up as more than just a child but as a brain child.  He looks normal but all of his flesh is also brain matter so if you attack his brain in the normal sense of the word you have no effect on him.  In addition to brain being his entire body, he also has the ability to regenerate and re-grow body parts.

 

Because his entire body is a brain and his cells constantly regenerate Howard Stark uses a chemical on his son that acts as a personal shield.  No punches or punctures can harm a person with this stuff on and the only way it can come off is with anti-bacterial soap.  The side effect – Tony is blue, at least until they find a formula that is invisible that Tony can wear, allowing him to go to normal school and meet Rhodney. With a few more complications of issues, Tony also meets Obadiah and other familiar characters to the world of Iron man but it is all different than I know it as most of them are teenagers going to the same school.

 

If what little I’ve shared of the book is any indication it was a weird read and it took my thoughts and conceptions of Iron Man/Tony Stark and turned them on their head but there were little things that seemed to keep the same.  I don’t know if I would read more in the series but this oddity did keep my attention and I would also give it a 3 out of 5.

Writer Wednesday – Jean Stringam

Let’s start with the basics. Who are you?
Tell us (briefly) about you…

Jean Stringam counts her characters among her list of friends and solves plots during breakfast, lunch, and dinner; however, recently she has been impressed with how numbers describe life – and we’re not talking just the bank balance.

The number five currently figures strongly in her life since she has recently published five books, has earned her living in five different careers, has lived in five countries, and has five sisters, five children, and five university degrees.

Perhaps a few lists would be helpful:

    Five different careers – Professor of literature, piano teacher, actor (member of SAG), secretary, choir conductor/opera chorus pianist/church organist
    Five countries – Canada, France, China, England, United States (but she’s only been a citizen of two)
    Five sisters – learned more than she thought possible
    Five children – learned more than she ever wanted to know (about love)
    Five degrees – Ph.D. University of Alberta, B.Ed. University of Calgary, M.A. & B.A. Brigham Young University, ARCT Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto.

…and a bit about what you’ve written…
Now that I’m retired, I no longer write academic essays and articles. My fiction for young adult and middle grade readers include the following:
Solstice Magic (A Calgary Stampede Adventure, #1)
The Hoarders (paperback & Nook e-Book)
Balance (paperback & Kindle e-Book)
How Not to Cry in Public: A Novel (paperback & Kindle e-Book)
The Wise Men: A Christmas Adventure (Kindle e-Book only)
Regrets Tree on Fire (for release in summer 2013; projected as paperback & Kindle e-Book)

…and what you’re working on right now.
I’m looking for a good illustrator for a Early Reader series, for grades 3 and 4. Have five of the stories written and another ten sketched.

What are your earliest book-related memories?
I have written about this on my website under “About Jean Stringam.” It’s called “The Chicken Story”

What are your three favorite books?
It changes very rapidly depending on what I’m reading. Over time, however, I’ve tended to enjoy O.S. Card.

How many books to do you read at any given time? What are you reading now?
I’m reading Wool. I like to immerse myself in an author’s world, so I rarely read more than one at a time. I write several of my own books at the same time, though.

Finish this sentence; when I curl up with a book, I ___
Defy the world to continue turning.

To re-read or not to re-read that is the question.
Always re-read what catches my interest

How likely are you to read a book that’s been recommended to you?
Certain friends have impeccable taste and I take their suggestions. I listen carefully when anybody gives an opinion about a book because their reasoning patterns, or lack of them, interest me. Doesn’t mean I rush right out and buy the book they’ve told me about.

How likely are you to recommend a book (that isn’t yours)?
Very. That’s what I’ve spent my professional life doing.

What do you look for in a good book?
An author who is wise, has poetry in his/her heart, and knows that a story has to have a resolution. If the author can’t figure out what the characters learned or how they changed, I wish them well, but please stop writing and find another profession.

Why do you write?
I want my life to have made a difference.

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?
I’ve worn a lot of hats thus far in my life. None of them appeal to me long-term. I will write until I’m dead.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I read copiously, watch people intently, and love unreservedly.

What has writing taught you about yourself?
That an individual only sees a small slice of the truth.

How do the people in your life seem to view your writing career?
They’re just about over trying to decide who’s who in the characters, which is a relief. They’re beginning to accept that my characters are not stolen from real life (except for the ones that actually are)!

Are there any stereotypes about writers that you don’t think are true?
Tons of stereotypes. The biggest lie is that alcohol and drugs enhance creativity. They don’t. It’s a miracle that any talent leaks out of those people at all.

What do you see as the biggest challenge today for writers starting out?
The money. Always the money. Whether trad published or Indie, it’s the money.

Have you made any writing mistakes that seem obvious in retrospect but weren’t at the time?
Wrote a whole novel without knowing how to resolve the conflict. Wrote it a second time and still couldn’t figure out the ending. That’s 900 pages of wasted effort! Grr!! Hisss!

Is there a particular project you would love to be involved with?
Yes, but until things happen, I’m not sure it’s a good idea to advertise hopes and maybes.

How do you deal with your fan base?
Sometimes I do author visits in schools. Sometimes fans write to me on my website, FaceBook, or GoodReads.

Finish this sentence; my fans would be surprised to know ___ about me.
That there really is a learnable technique for not crying in public, that I can do it (usually), and that I am still in the habit of carrying sunglasses with me everywhere just in case I can’t.

Anything else we should know?
I write songs for my books, and for a lot of other occasions, too.

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