Friday, January 11, 2008

War of Gifts

Card, Orson Scott. 2007. War of Gifts: An Ender Story.

Short and sweet. At only 126 pages, War of Gifts is light reading featuring some new (Zeck) and some old characters (Dink, Ender, Peter), from Ender's Universe. This is essentially "Christmas at Battle School." The events occurring predate Ender having his own army if memory serves me. (And it has only been two days since I read it. So hopefully I'm not confused in my facts yet. But you never know.) Zeck is a young boy raised by a very strict, very religious, very stringent father. (His mother is slightly more relaxed.) Raised with the belief that he needs to be "made pure" by regular beatings and tormentings, Zeck is horrified to learn that he's been chosen to go to Battle School and trained to be a soldier. Rescuing? He doesn't need rescuing! His father, the one who beats him black and blue, the one who preaches Satan day in and day out is his hero, isn't he? Zeck has a hard time fitting in with his peers. It could be because he's a tattler. He's always on the look out for kids bending rules. With the mindset of "they can't make me" he's determined to have his own way no matter what. Determined to be miserable. But some boys are determined not to be miserable. To have as much fun as they can during their training. Dink and his friends think that having a little Christmas would be a good thing. It's not that they can go all out. But a kind word written or spoken, extra help with the homework, an extra treat at meal time, all of these become gifts from Santa as the generosity and kindness of the season spread. Only one person isn't happy...Zeck. Santa is vicious lie, isn't he? A tool of Satan? Zeck is determined in true-Scrooge and Grinch-like fashion to ruin Christmas for his mates. Something has to give...but will that something be Zeck. Can anyone melt his heart and show him the true meaning of the season?

War of Gifts is an enjoyable, light read.