Earth Unaware by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'm pretty much a fangirl of the Enderverse, so I was quite excited to jump into Earth Unaware.
I mean.. the Formic Wars? Mazer Rackham? Of course I want to know what happened!
Victor Delgado is a mechanical prodigy working out in the Kuiper belt with his free-mining family. Lem Jukes, heir to the Jukes Corporation wealth, is out in Deep Space testing the new mining equipment and trying to prove (or establish?) his worth to his father, Ukko. Captain Wit 'O Toole is out recruiting new soldiers for the Mobile Operations Police (MOP).
The story jumps back and forth between the different character's viewpoints and it's very space opera. If you're not one for the drama of broken hearted love stories (or almost-love-story in this case), then you probably won't like this one much. Card and Johnston tug at a lot of heart-strings in this one, with tragic deaths and families being broken up and sacrifices. The Formics make their appearance and you get a few small space battles, but ultimately the story doesn't move forward very much. It's a trilogy, after all.
Mazer hardly appears here. I think he got something like a chapter. :(
Earth Afire by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
More things happen in Earth Afire than it does in Earth Unaware, so it kept me on the edge (not of my seat... of my bed, maybe), wanting to know what happens.
Victor's warnings are finally being heeded, but it's too late because the Scouring of China soon begins and it's up to Mazer Rackham and his team, who are on an exchange training program in China, to try to stop them. Captain Wit O'Toole and MOP soon appear on the scene, though, and this Chinese kid whizz, Bingwen, makes the most astounding observations.
Bingwen sounds like a precursor to (foreshadowing of?) Ender and it's so very blatantly written into the text that it triggers Rackham to wonder if kids, trained, could be used in warfare. Uh, we know that. Because we've read Ender's Game.
I think Earth Afire lost a star (compared to Unaware) because of the... um... stupidity (?) it assumes of its readers. I don't know. I can't really define it, but I don't think Aaron Johnston is a good co-writer for Card. The Formic Wars doesn't have that magic, that brilliancy or thrill that the Enders Shadow series gave me. Also, not as much tear-jerkery material to keep me excited (okay, so I have a soft heart)
Also. WHY, CLIFF HANGER, WHY?!
You are NOT a TV Episode. You're not supposed to have EPIC CLIFF HANGERS! Incomplete major story arch, yes... but not like this!
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