A War of Gifts by Orson Scott Card

A War of Gifts
by Orson Scott Card

ISBN – 13: 9-780765-358998
Rating: 3 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I liked it

At the Battle School, there is only one purpose, onle one curriculum: the strategy and tactics of war. Humanity is at war with an alien race and has been losing. The students are drawn from all nations, all races, all religions, taken from their families at the age of six or seven. There is no room for cultural differences, no room for religious observances, and certainly no room for Santa Claus.

But the young warriors disagree. When Dink Meeker leaves a Sinterklaas Day gift in another Dutch student’s shoe, that quiet act of rebellion becomes the first shot in a war of wills that the staff of the Battle School never bargained for.

It has just occurred to me that the two Christmas themed books I read this year are both by Orson Scott Card. I didn’t even plan it that way!

A War of Gifts is a short story (196 pages) set in Card’s Ender series. The story takes place during the first book, Ender’s Game, just after Ender has joined Rat Army. The two main points of view are from Dink Meeker – a character I recognized from the Ender books – and Zeck Morgan – a new character. Dink notices another Dutch student leave their shoes out for Sinterklaas Day, so he decides to leave a gift. Zeck, a devote Christian who wants only to go back home, sees this rebellion and informs Colonel Graff. Dink and the other student are chastised, and they decide to rebel by having all the students hand out gifts in the name of Santa Claus – a cultural symbol, NOT a religious one. Zeck is having none of that, though, and continues to clash with the other students.

Card manages to insert Ender into the story nicely, by having him be the one to let Zeck know that he is being stupid, and makes Zeck see the real reason he wants to return home so badly. Although A War of Gifts is a holiday treat to Card’s readers, he still manages to make it a quick but wonderful glance into Ender’s character. The Enderverse is one of my favourite book series, and every book in it just adds to the overall storyline and bigger picture. This one is no exception. It was a quick, fun read – prefect for Ender fans!

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