It has been some time since I've written a review, but I feel compelled to now. I loved this book. The writing was up to Scott Card's best works; well developed and many layered characters, exciting battle scenes, and a great set-up for the sequel. The promo description may to some to be misleading, but I took "the Formic War is about to begin" at the end of the description to mean that the book was building up to the event, not about the event itself.
I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.
I'm a long time SiFi reader-55 years of SiFi from the old masters to new SiFi tech but I never got into the Ender-World. I really didn't enjoy the series offerings in SiFi after reading a couple of long, multi-book SiFi / fantasy books.
That means I came to this book with no sense of need for it to fulfill some unknown 'history' in the Ender-verse. I got to read/listen to this novel and take it on its own not as a prequel to a series I'd already read.
The writing is underwhelming though the narrators tried to salvage what came off as a real YA entry into SiFi. Much was devoted to the romantic longings of a pair of youngsters from the mining ships whose draconian "Marry the woman off no matter what her desires" sounds like it came from pre-feminist authors. Hasn't Card learned that women arent chattel? I found this verging on offensive and having a woman 'Captain' didn't help at all.
Does it lead me to buy the follow up book? Well, reading reviews I saw that both books needed to be taken as a single book so yes-I'm already listening to 'Earth Afire'.
"SPOILER AHEAD" I really hope some character development is shown with one of the 2 remaining characters (a teen from one of the destroyed mining ships and the spoiled son of a mining corporation)END SPOILER
I'll see what happens and then decide on buying the Ender books but for now-I'm unimpressed.
the story is a good take on alien invasion. I enjoy Orson Scott Cloud as an author.
The book is narrated by multiple readers. This causes problems with character continuity because in different places they have different voices, different cadences and different emphasis. It seriously interfered with my enjoyment of the book.
There also doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to when the reader's change. It's as though there was a tight deadline so the publisher collected all available readers and gave them each several chapters to get the job done faster.
I already have the next book but won't buy others in the series or other books with multiple readers.
This is supposed to be a mostly hard science fiction, as were the original Ender's Game series by Card. Subjects such as relativistic speed and time dilation effects were intrinsic to the tales.
But in this one, forget relativistic issues, the understanding of simple, Newtonian physics seems to be beyond the author, which, based on the flat, expositional style and low def characterizations, does not appear to be Card. How does one come to a "full stop" in space? Why would one need to "full stop" to do repairs outside the ship? Why would ship's velocity have any effect on a person outside? How can one get from the Kuiper Belt to Earth in 5 months at a speed of 100,000 mph? Simple math shows a time of more than three years to make that journey at that speed...traveling at 36,000mph, New Horizons took nine years to reach Pluto, which is barely at the edge.
Is this nitpicking? Yes, and no. When the story is flat, characters are uninteresting, AND the science is appropriate to early grade school understanding, one has to wonder: where was Orson Scott Card, and why didn't he even read this before putting his name on it?
BTW, the performances were fine, I think. I was so distracted by issues that I don't really remember.
Near the end of Chapter 10 the narrators switch, almost mid-sentence and threw me completely out of the story. I tried several times to finish Ch 10 but could not...
A single person who could consistently represent all of the characters.
The story is a little long but that should be expected from OSC. Besides the narration issue described above. The audio itself was full of "essing", or more technically sibilance. This happens frequently in a lot of audible books but I didn't expect it to be so painfully obvious in this book.
It's fresh! It's full of action! And again you have pleasure of discovering the world through the eyes of a gifted kid. Action goes along three plots (space miners, bad guys and... surprisingly spec ops soldiers on Earth) And this really works. Great fun, very well performed.