When I first heard that Orson Scott Card was doing another series in the Ender universe that takes place before the events of Ender’s War I was not much enthused. My first reaction to the announcement of Earth Unaware (Formic Wars) is that he was really milking the success of the series by detailing the events of the Formic War and the first contact with the insect-like alien race. One series of books branched off to tell the story of Ender and his sister way into the future that resolves around contact with another alien race. Another branch of the Ender series retold the story of Ender’s War from the POV of another character and then goes on to describe events after Ender’s War on Earth involving his older brother. Knowing how the Formic Wars ended I just did not have much interest in the back story.
After reading Scott D. Danielson’s review I totally changed my mind and used one of my (use Gollum voice) precious Audible credits. As Scott says in this review the series title makes it seem more along the lines of standard Military SF, but that is not where the emphasis is. The story shifts around the story of space miners and their first observation of what appeared to be a space ship rapidly approaching our solar system. There is a good amount of world and culture building involving the story of these miners, other entities in space, and to some extent the conditions on Earth. A parallel story involves the training of an elite global special forces team which certainly will develop in later novels. What really sells the story are the characters and how they are fleshed out. As events escalate and the characters react you feel the urgency as they come to deal with this threat. The ending of the first novel is a semi-cliffhanger and strikes just the right note in giving you a solid end to the first novel and the series and the anticipation for the next book.
This novel was written with Aaron Johnston an author I am not familiar with and who does not even yet have a Wikipedia entry (the measurement for obscure). The audiobook version was done with multiple voice actors and their narration was top notch and really enhanced the storytelling of multiple POVs.