REVIEW: Earth Unaware (The First Formic War #1) by Orson Scott Card

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars, Genre: Science Fiction, Pages: 364, Level: Intermediate

Book Description from Barnes & Noble:

A hundred years before Ender’s Game, humans thought they were alone in the galaxy. Humanity was slowly making their way out from Earth to the planets and asteroids of the Solar System, exploring and mining and founding colonies.

The mining ship El Cavador is far out from Earth, in the deeps of the Kuiper Belt, beyond Pluto. Other mining ships, and the families that live on them, are few and far between this far out. So when El Cavador’s telescopes pick up a fast-moving object coming in-system, it’s hard to know what to make of it. It’s massive and moving at a significant fraction of the speed of light.

But the ship has other problems. Their systems are old and failing. The family is getting too big. There are claim-jumping corporates bringing Asteroid Belt tactics to the Kuiper Belt. Worrying about a distant object that might or might not be an alien ship seems…not important.

They’re wrong. It’s the most important thing that has happened to the human race in a million years. This is humanity’s first contact with an alien race. The First Formic War is about to begin.

This felt more like an adult science fiction novel. It is the first book in a prequel series to Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. In the future, a whole family will inhabit a mining ship and work asteroids far from earth for precious metals. El Cavador is one of those ships. Then an unidentified object is discovered that concerns the crew. When another family’s mining ships are subsequently found destroyed, El Cavador investigates to find disturbing information about other intelligent life in the universe.

In short, I thought Earth Unaware was phenomenal. The character development was good. The storyline was intriguing. This was a book that I just did not want to put down until I finished it and then when I did, I was disappointed it was over. I eagerly await for the next books in the series. The only thing that could have made this book better was if it were longer yet still captivating.

I am surprised this book received so many bad reviews, especially from fans of Ender’s Game. I am obviously in the minority here. In addition, I don’t know how so many people did not realize it is a series. As soon as I saw it announced, I researched as much as I could about it and immediately found out it will be a series. Even if I had not known it was a series, as soon as I finished I would have looked it up before writing a review.

There were criticisms that we get hardly any feel for what earth is like and what led up to the Earth of Ender Wiggin. It’s only the first book. There are allusions to what earth is like, enough to whet your appetite. And of course the book doesn’t come to a nice, final conclusion- there’s more to come.

There were also criticisms about the inaccuracy of details such as travel speed. First, it’s science fiction. The fiction categorization kind of implies it is not necessarily going to be 100% accurate. Second, I read for enjoyment. I don’t contemplate every little detail and let that determine the enjoyment factor of a book. That’s sort of like people who watch a movie about a giant bug that is killing people and commenting that at that size the exoskeleton would crush the bug and therefore the movie is unrealistic. Duh! It’s a giant bug. Whatever happened to temporary suspension of disbelief?

If you are concerned about wasting your money on a book you may not enjoy, maybe you should rediscover the library card. That’s what I did and I am definitely purchasing this book for my personal library.

Reviewed by Christina

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