The most interesting things to me about reading dystopias are the storylines, their relation to the real world, and the evolution of the main character(s). Anytime I pick up a book to read, dystopian or not, the main purpose for doing so is to enjoy the book. To me, reading is a way to escape reality for a few hours and immerse myself in the universe the story takes place.
In reading Ender’s Shadow, I was able to understand more about the story behind the main supporting characters in Ender’s Game and how the characters evolved alongside Ender throughout the journey of winning the war against the Buggers. In a way, it reminded me of my own education growing up (although the stakes were a little less intense in my case). The kids earned a spot in a prestigious academy in space, and took classes that pushed their boundaries in order to further their knowledge and individual abilities similarly to my journey thus far.
This leads me to why I think I enjoy novels about people around my age. If I am able to actively perceive the events of a book happening to me today, it is easier for me to become interested in the book itself. While the characters in Ender’s Shadow are slightly younger than I am now, when I first read Ender’s Game in middle school I connected to the characters on a greater level as I was intrigued by the intellectual capacity of those kids in the books and wondered how I could reach their level of knowledge. In a way, Ender’s Game also led me to become interested in flight and aerospace engineering even though I wasn’t familiar with many concepts of space flight at the time of my first experience with Orson Scott Card’s novels.
One thing that I have found draws more and more of my attention is the evolution of characters in a book or series that I read. From Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series to Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother novel to Card’s Ender’s Game/Shadow series, I have discovered my own increased interest in how characters think and how they handle difficult situations. This has allowed me to ask question like what would I have done or were there any alternative solutions to the problems addressed in a book?
For example, in Ender’s Shadow, Bean (the main character of the book) is given the chance to take control of the entire fleet during the final battle, but he does not do so as he believes in Ender. While reading this I thought to myself what I would have done. Would I have taken control of the situation, left Ender in control, or come up with an alternative such as taking control of half of the fleet? After thinking about this and how the characters have grown and created bonds throughout the book it is relatively easy for me to understand why the author wrote the book the way he did, and by asking these what if questions to myself, it allows me to become more involved in the story itself, and makes the reading experience that much more enjoyable.