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Title: Earth Awakens
Series: Enderverse: First Formic War #3
Authors: Orson Card & Aaron Johnston
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
With an alien invasion in progress in China, humanity is divided on how to defend itself. The Chinese government is determined to go it alone, despite suffering catastrophic losses. Captain Wit O’Toole of the Mobile Operations Police (MOP) and Mazer Rackham have managed to destroy one of the three alien landers, but because they achieved the first significant human victory of the war without official approval and using a nuclear warhead obtained without authorization, they are in the custody of Chinese General Sima. During the invasion, Mazer Rackham saves Bingwen, a very intelligent eight-year-old Chinese boy who now comes up with a clever ploy to get them released: he spreads word over the internet that they were acting under Sima’s orders and gives Sima full credit.
Meanwhile, Victor Delgado and Imala Bootstamp drift to the alien mothership in a ship disguised to avoid being destroyed. Victor manages to enter and explore the vessel. They survive a failed drone attack on the alien ship and, after getting away again, confront Lem Jukes, whom they suspect of involvement in the attack. Actually, it was launched by Lem’s father, Ukko. Lem tried to stop or delay it.
Based on what he has learned, Victor devises a plan to capture it, and reluctantly accepts Lem’s help in carrying it out. The MOPs, including Wit and Mazer, are recruited to become the rest of Victor’s boarding party. Despite Victor’s objections, Imala volunteers as well.
When the Formics detect the intruders, all of their forces on Earth leave to go to their ship’s defense. Lem leads a force to hold them off, resulting in a fierce space battle. Aboard the Mothership, Wit has to sacrifice his life, exposing himself to quickly lethal levels of radiation, but Victor’s plan succeeds, and the ship is captured intact. However, Victor’s cousin, Edimar, backtracks the path of the alien ship and discovers that it was only a scout ship; the real Mothership is reconfiguring itself into a battle fleet that will arrive in about five years.
Overall, I enjoyed this final book in the First Formic War trilogy. But much like the slide from the first book to the second, there was something missing from the second to the third book. I simply can’t put my finger on what it is, but that enjoyment factor just wasn’t as high. Still a good read at 3.5stars though.
There was a LOT more politics involved in this book than in the previous and so depending on if you like political thrillers or not, that will shape your enjoyment of the book. There is also a storyline about the survivors from Victor’s old spaceship (all the women and children) and it should have been cut or tied off in the previous book. It felt like it was added simply to justify the very end of the book where one of the women discovers that the “mothership” at earth is actually just a scoutship and the real mothership is on its way and will arrive in about 5years. That could have been done with one of the Juke scientists and had several chapters removed from the story, thus streamlining the story and the number of POV’s.
Bingwen is definitely an Ender prototype. He ends up going to secret school run by the Chinese and is treated like absolute crap by his “mentor”. This is the beginning of the Space School and you see its mindset clearly here. It is sad but at the same time it is good to see how the world went from what we would consider normal to the world where Ender grew up and what was considered normal then.
This trilogy was good enough that I am going to try the entire Ender quintet next. I’ve read Ender’s Game multiple times and read Speaker for the Dead once back in 2000 but never got past that. Now that I’ve got a better handle of how Card writes (having read some of his Ender’s Shadow series, the Pathfinder series, the poorly executed Alvin Maker series and his absolutely atrocious Homecoming saga which I abandoned after the first book) I think I can take the complete change in tone. Plus, the Second Formic War trilogy isn’t completed.
In regards to that. This trilogy was released in 3 years. One book a year, bam, bam, bam. That’s the power of having 2 writers. OR they pre-wrote it. However, the Second Formic War trilogy was started in ’16 and book 2 was released in ’19 and there is no release date yet for book 3. I really want to read it but won’t until it is complete, so reading the original Ender books is probably the best way to keep my toes in the Ender pond while I wait.