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Showing 1-10 of 412 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 472 reviews
on February 11, 2016
This was my first Orson Scott Card book.

After seeing the recent ENDER movie, I wanted to get into the Ender story universe that Card created, but rather than reading the first book, I decided to start with the prequels, so that I could follow the story in proper chronological order. So, having said that, I haven't read any of the other books (besides Earth Unaware, Earth Afire, Earth Awakens), so I'm not really privy to the whole Ender universe-story yet

It was difficult to set down the book (actually my kindle) and I read thru this book in a span under two weeks. The story seems to move quite fast, and you're introduced to various characters that you love (or grudgingly tolerate) and see things from their unique perspectives. There are unexpected things too, such as sadness from an unexpected loss, the thought processes of how one makes a decision, and revealing perspectives of systems and people.

*Spoiler Alert*
If you read this book, you'll find that it's "unfinished". It has an ending, but you really need to read books 1 (Earth Unaware) and 3 (Earth Awakens) to get the full story. Even still, apparently 3 more books are on the way to complete "the rest of the story", but they haven't been released yet. I can't wait!!
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on September 10, 2015
Interesting question that I hadn't though about, "How is the story narrated". I think it was mostly second person, "Victor did this...", "Lem did that..." didn't really pay attention, sorry.

Yes, really there was a lot of violence in the book I guess, but given the theme (Earth gets toasted by aliens) what would you expect. It was definitely not gratuitous violence and was handled well.

Great series, interesting plot twists, a few huge technical flaws that are pretty glaring (if you are a physicist or a rocket scientist and are obsessive compulsive about technical details you may want to skip it, drifting up to the alien ship in a cloud of debris while in orbit? Not sure I buy that but it makes for a good story), A lot of the routine technical stuff is detailed in creative ways that I found interesting and probably somewhat prophetic (which I like about SciFi). I really, really liked the character development (again not perfect but creatively done and very interesting). The political, cultural and human commentary I found extremely interesting (which I like about SciFi). Card is really interesting about the human factor and human interaction.

Very interesting story. Good series. I would definitely recommend reading these in order (I didn't and so read the third book again which I thought was the best of the three books).

I started reading these because one of my kids was reading Ender's Game and recommended it to me. He told me that I would really like it and I did. The book (Ender's Game) was much better than the movie, they had to leave way too much out of the movie robbing it of the character development which was unfortunate.

Yes, some of the stuff in his book is a stretch but so what, its fiction remember? The stories and character development and situations are really interesting. One of my favorite authors.

Mark
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on April 17, 2014
The sequel novel to Earth Unaware is Earth Afire.

None of the books of this series (going on #3 in June 2014) stands on its own. But the overall writing style, shifting from scene to scene and seeing them merge at the end works well with Card’s and Johnston’s style of writing.

Earth Unaware introduced us to Victor, a kid who is very smart with mechanics, who works as part of a family of miners light-years from Earth.

Earth Afire leaves the Fathers & Fathers theme and goes into God knows what!

Story & Plot:

Victor finally makes it to Earth, hacked into a “quickship” not built for human habitation and makes it to Luna with video proof of alien invasion. As expected, no one believes him.

What makes the Victor character so obnoxious is his attitude towards others. When he is finished berating people for not believing him, he becomes the victim, discussing the death of his family to the Formics. He blames Lem, the son of the Juke Corporation giant, for much of this.

To make a long story short, Victor and Imala (an accountant we met) meet Jukes for some help. Rather than get the help, Victor immediately goes into a tirade, insulting the very people he needs. He does this again with Lem, calling him out as a murderer when they need Lem’s help! Other characters try to shut him up to this reader’s annoyance.

The story ends with a rather ambitious plot of getting onto the Formic’s mother ship, currently orbiting the Earth. Most of this part is anticlimactic and “stay tuned next book folks.” Annoying.

Conclusion:

Earth Afire has some positive aspects to it: Governments complaining about their image to the world or afraid to act or let others help, which gives the Formics time to invade; the paranoid Lem who thinks his father is two-faced but often exhibits the same characteristics as his father; Colonel Wit, who leads a crack team of soldiers and attempts to make inroads in stopping the invasion despite his orders from above not to interfere; and Imala, a smart gal with not a lot of people skills.

Victor was the most ambitious character at Earth Unaware, but becomes a know-it-all, sarcastic brat in Earth Afire. Here’s hoping the next book vindicates him as he somehow makes it aboard the mothership!
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on August 29, 2013
Card is one of the great writers of the Sci-fi genre. Earth Unaware and Earth Afire tell the story of the Formic War leading up to Ender's Game. Several of the important characters of Ender's Game are introduced and fleshed out. It is almost as if Card had this planned ahead. His writing style flows so cleanly and smoothly that you can find yourself halfway through the book, before you come up for air.
If you have not yet read the Ender series, count yourself lucky. Pick up Unaware, and Afire, and be prepared for a truly imaginative and fascinating journey through Orson Scott Card's universe.
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on December 8, 2014
How do I begin? As always OSC is the consummate story teller but I think it would have been better without the co-author. I read both Earth Unaware and Earth Afire, both very entertaining but not as seamless as his earlier series. I felt that the earlier part of the back story that is spread between the two publications should have been combine together in the first installment for a more even flow to the story but none the less it made for good reading. The good part is it gives you an insight to Mazer who as you know was pretty much just a shadow in the Ender series. This story fleshes him out and gives life to the man the that instructed the boy soldier that saved Earth. I'm looking forward to reading the last installment. If you are a long time Card fan as I am you will probably reach some of the same conclusions that I have but don't let that stop you from reading what is essentially a good story.
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on June 30, 2013
Earth Afire is the second volume of The First Formic War series written by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston. The series is a prequel to the very popular Ender's Game, which won the Nebula Award for best novel in 1985 and the Hugo Award for best novel in 1986. In Earth Unaware, the first volume of the First Formic War series, a group of asteroid miners in deep space are attacked by the Formic ship and its insect-like aliens. The miners attempt to stop the ship and try to warn Earth that the ruthless aliens are on their way. In Earth Afire, the second volume of the series, the Formic ship reaches Earth. Occupation forces of the vicious insectoids land on Earth in seemingly invulnerable vessels. The Formics are not interested in communicating or negotiating with humans. They are only interested in killing humans and transforming the environment of planet Earth to make it their home. This book picks up where Earth Unaware ends and some of the same surviving characters play leading roles in a desperate and gruesome struggle to survive against the overwhelming Formic technology and brutality. It is an action-packed violent story that pushes the reader to the brink of despair, because it also includes a very human story that reveals terrified people struggling to survive and trying to help each other. Card and Johnston weave several subplots into a complex story that includes human greed and power struggles, political conflicts that decrease the ability for humanity to effectively fight the Formics, and much interesting futuristic scientific and technical description and discussion dealing with space travel and warfare. I enjoyed this book very much and I recommend it to any science fiction reader, but especially those who enjoy military or alien-invasion science fiction. However, potential readers should know that this is volume two of a planned three-volume series and this book leaves many unresolved storylines. I am eager to read the next volume.
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on July 7, 2013
There aren't that many books where as I read them (this one and the first in the series), I find myself not growing to care about the characters and their well being; but thinking to myself "Wow... I'm actually kinda rooting for the bad guys".
That isn't to say that the books themselves are bad or not entertaining; just don't come into reading them expecting more revelations about the original Ender's Game books. These books are more of a sideline story that seem to be intended to stand on their own but have vague links to later books. There are several times where in reading the book I think "this isn't what I thought it'd be like..." or "This isn't what they hinted at in previous books".
So long as you can put that feeling aside, this still an entertaining read and it is nice to get to see and learn a bit more about the Formics and the war they had with humanity.
That said though, I found myself rooting for the Formics. Because increasingly over the course of the books, humanity just isn't cast in a very flattering light. We're stupid, ignorant, selfish, moronic, too intent on our own personal goals, oh, and did I mention selfish? In picking up this book, I never thought I'd be reading about (!!spoiler warning!!) corporate political machinations and the attempts of one person to succeed in taking the control of a company. The instances of people saying "We can't try to do that to stop the Formics, because my family is more important!" are a little more forgivable, but only just since the characters don't come across very well in those instances.

(!!end of spoilers!!)

All that said, this is still a fairly entertaining book and is worth a read if you're a big fan of Ender's Game.
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on June 16, 2013
I finally finished the book and have a few thoughts...

Overall, I really liked the book and felt it did a good job progressing the macro-story.

****spoilers****

I don't think I'd recommend starting this series to anyone until the final book is released. The books aren't really separate books but part of a single volume with seemingly arbitrary breaks to create separate books. It seems like the authors could have just as well ended the book a chapter sooner or a chapter later.
For example, the authors had no conclusion (even a partial conclusion like for Mazer) for the El Cavador castoffs. This entire story line added nothing to this novel but I assume will play an important role in the final book.

The beginning of the book had a lot of different story lines that were hard to follow (made worse since I last read Earth Unaware a year ago). Bingwin, Mazer, Victor, Lem, El Cavador castoffs, MOPs. Obviously some of these story lines were brought together in the second half of the book but it still made the first half harder to follow.

I read on Aaron Johnston's twitter feed that he and Card are finishing the manuscript for the final book in the next two weeks, which means the book *could* be released in six months, although I wouldn't expect it until this time next year for business reasons.

Overall I felt like the book had good pace and was an enjoyable read (even taking into account the above issues I had). I think this was a stronger novel than Earth Unaware but again, this is not a 3-book series but rather a single book split into three different products. I'm really looking forward to the final release.
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on September 21, 2013
After the first book, with its ingenious look at mining life in space, curious social customs, heart wrenching human tragedies, and this foreboding sense of something ominous on its way - I was expecting more in the sequel.

[SPOILER ALERT]

The bugger invasion was massive (and there were some good small moments - the death of Bingwen's friends and family was shocking), but the whole thing wasn't truly eerie enough to inspire suspense - it felt predictable. Mazer Rackham's story was flat and uninteresting - his righteous intentions seemed more stubbornness than inspiring. And the only character you truly cared about from the first book (Victor Delgado) plays a passing part that gets the "To Be Continued..." treatment at the end.

I guess I'm saying the book had no genuine climax.

I'm really hoping the 3rd installment offers more in the way of compelling character investment and suspense.
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on June 7, 2014
Earth Afire begins immediately after Earth Unaware, Victor is on the Moon trying to convince the world of their impending doom, Rem is out in space continuing to struggle to define himself from within his father's 'long shadow' and a few other characters its hard to care about do some stuff in space.

Afire offers far in terms of futuristic earth, insight into corporate culture, politics and importantly what earthlings think of 'space-born' While I appreciated the effort to create a believable world for the future, I felt like the novel was essentially anti-China in its politicking. While some of the international relations portrayed seemed to have some level authenticity, the level of belligerence of China in the face of alien invasion is hard to swallow.

On the positive side the level of action is high and there was little boredom to be experienced within the chapters of this book. Like many middle children, one fells like this book is a 'conclusion-tease.' Looking forward to the next installment
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