Book Review: Earth Unaware by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston

Earth Unaware is the first book of the Formic War trilogy, which is the prequel to the The Ender Quartet that first appeared in the 1980’s.  It essentially tells the story of how earth and humanity got into the position of developing Battle School and the fleets that Ender uses to wipe out the Formics in Ender’s Game.

Formic Wars Graphic Novel variant cover art by Bryan Hitch.
Formic Wars Graphic Novel variant cover art by Bryan Hitch.

This book starts off with rather a whimper but quickly picks up speed and keeps you glues to the pages.  I got the distinct impression that my wife was annoyed because I would not put the book down in the evenings while I was reading it.  Anyone who has read the Ender Quartet will like the book as well as people who like SF but have not read Card or Johnston’s work before.  Mazer Rackham, who plays a bit part in Ender’s Game also appears in this work, if briefly.  But there are hints that there is more to come and indeed he must become more prominent because it was he who is responsible for defeating the Formic invasion of the home system.

This review will be short because I do not want to include too many spoilers.  I will sum up the plot this way.  This is the story of how humanity made first contact with the Formics, discovered their invariably hostile nature, and reacted.  It includes Free Miners in the Kuiper Belt, corporate giants, and an international military force.  Once the story picks up speed it does no stop and ends with a very good cliffhanger.

This is an outstanding work of classic science fiction and even though it is set in the Ender universe it can be read by someone who has no familiarity with the Ender Quartet at all.  Like just about everything else Card has written, this is worth the time.  I highly recommend this book.