Select one of the keywords
Earth Awakens: The First Formic War #3    by Orson Scott Card & Aaron Johnston order for
Earth Awakens
by Orson Scott Card
Order:  USA  Can
Tor, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Earth Awakens is the third in the The First Formic War series (a prequel to the Ender novels), following Earth Unaware and Earth Afire. These books are written by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston.

In Earth Unaware, asteroid-mining ship El Cavador spotted an alien starship heading for Earth. Lem Jukes, heir to a wealthy space-mining corporation, was in the area, testing a new gravity laser. On Earth, Mazer Rackham was rejected by Captain Wit O'Toole for his elite, international peacekeeping force, the Mobile Operations Police. On the Moon, Apache Lunar Trade Department auditor Imala Bootstamp was sidelined after refusing a bribe. El Cavador's young mechanical genius, Victor Delgado, risked his life on a cargo rocket to Luna, while a small fleet of miners took on the aliens.

In Earth Afire, Victor was helped by Imala, but his vid of the aliens was largely discounted as phony. Mazer was sent to Southern China, just in time for the alien landing there. He helped civilians, including precociously brilliant eight-year-old Bingwen, and was eventually joined by Captain O'Toole's MOP. The Formics devastated Earth, though Mazer and others fought back, using drilling sledges to nuke their enemy. Meanwhile Lem gave a distrustful Victor and Imala the resources they needed to get a shuttle to the Formic mothership, infiltrate and find out more about their enemy.

The action in Earth Awakens mainly involves attacks on the ship, Lem's struggles with his father, and defensive battles on Earth. There, international politics hinder Mazer's plans, while the inventive young Bingwen (the most appealing character aside from Victor) helps move them along. As Victor investigates the Formic ship, he begins to suspect that the aliens have some sort of telepathic communication and develops a plan to destroy this mothership. He implements it with the help of the MOP team (Mazer an honorary member) and some of them survive. An International Fleet is formed and an Earth Hegemon appointed.

As usual, the episode ends on a cliffhanger, when the real mothership is spotted - Earth's problem just got much bigger. I love the series, but Earth Awakens was not my favorite episode - I found it got rather bogged down in technical details and in Lem's paternal problems. Nevertheless, I'm looking forward to what comes next.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more SF books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews