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Earth Afire (First Formic War) by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston
Cover Artist: John Harris
Review by Linda Marie Schumacher
Tor Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765329059
Date: 04 June 2013 List Price $25.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: O.S. Card's Website / A. Johnston's Website / Show Official Info /

Great story featuring an alien attack on Earth. The plot is complex but follows three basic plot lines. Victor is a young man from a mining family that lives and works on a space ship in the asteroid belt and encounters the alien ship on its way toward Earth. Victor traveled to Earth's moon (now inhabited) in a shuttle craft and brought data on the aliens. It is hard for him to convince everyone he is not crazy, but eventually the world believes him.

Another plot line involves the Jukes family. Ukko Jukes, the patriarch, owns an interstellar mining company. His son, Lem Jukes was also on a ship in the asteroid belt and encountered the aliens with Victor's family. There is bad blood between Victor's family and Lem Jukes based on a mining accident that happened in the previous novel.

The third plot line concerns Major Mazer Rackham. He is an elite soldier from New Zealand, and in a series of events, ends up encountering the aliens when they land in China.

More threads of the complex plot are an advanced weapon that the Jukes company is developing, failed diplomatic attempts by humans to make peace with the aliens, and a customs official who works with Victor after he reaches the Moon. I loved the story and the plot is easy to follow even though it sounds complicated. The suspense is wonderful and I kept wanting to go faster to find out what would happen next.

Earth Afire is the second of a three-volume prequel to the eleven-volume Ender's Game series, also by Orson Scott Card. I am behind the times in my SF reading and I have not read the Ender's Game series. I love the prequels and I can't wait to read the series. It is easy to follow the events of Earth Afire even if you have not read the first book.

Character development is great. I love Rackham. I wish he were my neighbor. Victor is kind of the confused rural kid that ends up in the big city, but he is smart and motivated and does very well. The Jukes are interesting. Ukko Jukes is a shrewd businessman, and his son Lem constantly distrusts his father. Even after reading two books, I am not sure if Lem's mistrust is real or imaginary.

My only complaint is that the authors are verbose at times. It's not bad, and I still love the story. Minor characters and sub-plots get a lot of words.

I also received the audio book to review. The voice acting is great. Different narrators cover different plot lines and the readers build suspense very well I highly recommend Earth Afire.

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