Review – Audiobook: Earth Unaware by Orson Scott Card
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publish Date: July 17, 2012
Format: Audio, 14 hours
Audio Listening Level: Easy – Intermediate
Rating: 3½ of 5
Reading Ender’s Game is not necessary to enjoy this new series but I highly recommend doing so because it is a fantastic book and one of my all time favorites. A little background information is all one needs to have as Earth Unaware is a prequel with all new characters and relationships. In Ender’s time, earth had been invaded by bug-like aliens and has been at war with them for over one hundred years. Ender, a child genius, has been recruited to attend the elite Battle School for rigorous military training in the form of war games using computerized battles. A book written in the late 1980s, it was way ahead of its time.
Earth Unaware is the story of the build-up to the invasion and is set 100 years prior to Ender. The subtitle First Formic War is a little misleading as the war does not begin in this novel. There is a lot of world building and character development as we are introduced to the mining families in the asteroid belt, the crew of a corporate ship from earth and a minor story line about an elite military operation (MOPs) that is recruiting new members to their special forces team.
The mining ship El Cavador discovers a fast-moving object coming towards them at a high rate of speed and slowing down. They decide to keep this information to themselves but soon realize this was a mistake. The alien ship was not friendly and destroyed one of the other mining ships. Now the alien ship is disrupting communications and El Cavador is unable to warn earth and the ship is heading towards the planet. One of the miners volunteers to take a small ship unsuitable for long distance travel in a heroic attempt to reach the lunar colony in time to warn earth.
The audio production was excellent. The story is told from multiple points of view and the ensemble cast works well. There is an interesting interview with author at the end of the book. He is an avid audiobook listener. I can relate to him when he says he listens on his iPod while doing errands so he doesn’t waste any time. While he doesn’t write with the audio in mind, he does write as if the dialog was for the stage, which translates well as an audiobook; he writes his books to be performed.
As much as I enjoyed this story, I had a difficult time choosing a star rating for the book. It was entertaining and fast-paced but felt incomplete. This is a problem with many trilogies: They are unsatisfying as a stand-alone book. The novel ended at a crucial point and the reader was left hanging. There were also several plot lines that seemed to serve no purpose. Perhaps they will in a future novel. I realize that was intentional, but I don’t have to like it. Do I rate it on potential or what exists right now? Since some trilogies are never completed, I have to rate it as a standalone book.
I’m looking forward to the next installment in the series and do recommend the book. While this is definitely science fiction, it is not heavy on the technical aspects but instead focuses on the characters and personal relationships and will appeal to a wide audience.
Source: Review copy.
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