Ender's Game

Book review by Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Ender's Game Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 12+

Sci-fi classic has racist language, violence, adult themes.

Parents say

age 13+

Based on 35 reviews

Kids say

age 12+

Based on 140 reviews

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A Lot or a Little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Great book for kids and adults

Ender is a great role model; he faces bullies and he doesn't let others decide his code of conduct. Great book, especially for kids who spend too much time gaming and read for school only. This can change attitudes about reading.

This title has:

Great role models
age 9+

A spectacular book that cemented my love of reading

I understand why many parents are saying this book is for older teens, given the themes and violence involved. But one of my fondest memories as a child was reading this book cover to cover the day after I got it for Christmas when I was 9. I had no idea a book could be that good, or that I was even capable of reading an adult length novel. It entirely changed how I approached reading, and I owe so much of my late elementary and junior high reading experiences to it that I hate to see parents or kids shy away from it only because of the theming. There is extreme violence and bad language, but the violence is necessary to explain the morally complex story presented, and the main character grapples with his discomfort with what is going on. I think in the same way that Judy Blume demonstrated that younger readers than we might expect can deal with challenging topics like death and sexuality, Card demonstrates that the same can be true of violence and political strategy. I would not shy away from offering this book to a reasonably mature child with a love of stories about sci fi and fantasy battles; he or she may well be better off directly grappling with the moral complexity of war than reading yet another fantasy story about a battle of good guys versus evil monsters, where the bright lines between good and evil allow the author to unquestioningly glorify battle.

Book Details

Our Editors Recommend

For kids who love science fiction and dystopian novels

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

  • Cartoon picture of a UFO
    Space and Aliens
    See all

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate