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August 21, 2012 / Leslie

Review – Audiobook: Earth Unaware by Orson Scott Card

Earth Unaware by Orson Scott CardEarth Unaware
by Orson Scott Card
and Aaron Johnston

Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki and cast

Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publish Date: July 17, 2012
Format: Audio, 14 hours
Audio Listening Level: Easy – Intermediate
Rating: 3½ of 5

Earth Unaware is the first book in a new series set in the same universe as Ender’s Game, the award winning novel and 2012 World Book Night selection.

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.
© 2012 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.


Leave a Comment
  1. theguildedearlobe / Aug 21 2012 11:29 am

    I think my main problem with the book wasn’t that it wasn’t good. My problem was that it wasn’t what I wanted from a Ender’s Game Prequel. I wanted more Mazer Rackham, more Formic Battles, more direct action. The story was fascinating, but it definitely was more of a set up for hopefully better things to come.

    I totally agree with your review. I enjoyed the book more for the potential it sets up. As a standalone, it was simply OK.


  2. BermudaOnion / Aug 21 2012 6:57 pm

    I read Ender’s Games several years ago at my son’s urging. I’ll have to tell him about this book.


  3. Nise' (Under the Boardwalk) / Aug 24 2012 8:47 pm

    I used to hestiate over multi-narrators, wondering if I would know whose POV was being told, but have been pleasantly surprised at the ones I\’ve listened to.


  4. DevourerofBooks (@DevourerofBooks) / Aug 25 2012 1:25 pm

    I’ve heard so many good things about ENDER’S GAME, but can’t quite bring myself to read Card.


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