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Earth Unaware by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston

THE PREMISE

Earth Unaware is a prequel to the award winning science fiction novel Ender’s Game. The book essentially sets the scene in detail of what human society is like before the arrival of an alien race and then delves into the first encounter. Earth Unaware is the first book of a trilogy that completely tells the back story to Ender’s Game.

THE GOOD

Most of the scientific detail is intricate enough to feel believable without being so heavy that it encumbers the story. Ender’s Game is one of those books that I fell in love when I was young and still holds a special place in my heart. It’s always a pleasure to go back to that world and maybe that skews my perception of this book a little bit.

THE BAD

After I finished the book I realized there are actually a lot of things that happen just right for the story. Just the right character with just the right back story to make them do just the right thing happens to come on scene at just the right time to make the story flow. Much of the story reeks of this deus ex machina. There is one major exception. There is one plot twist that is so obvious and tedious that I was rolling my eyes waiting for it happen. But, at least this one time it didn’t.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Earth Unaware takes you back into a version of Ender’s universe that makes you feel more homesick than nostalgic. The story starts out fine and gets progressively more forced as it goes. As the first book in a sequel it only tells the first third of a story, which although fine is also completely unnecessary. To me the whole point of having a trilogy is to have three separate stories. This feels more like the first chapter or section of a really long book than it does a book unto its own.