None of the books of this series (going on #3 in June 2014) stands on its own. But the overall writing style, shifting from scene to scene and seeing them merge at the end works well with Card’s and Johnston’s style of writing.
Earth Unaware introduced us to Victor, a kid who is very smart with mechanics, who works as part of a family of miners light-years from Earth.
Earth Afire leaves the Fathers & Fathers theme and goes into God knows what!
Story & Plot:
Victor finally makes it to Earth, hacked into a “quickship” not built for human habitation and makes it to Luna with video proof of alien invasion. As expected, no one believes him.
What makes the Victor character so obnoxious is his attitude towards others. When he is finished berating people for not believing him, he becomes the victim, discussing the death of his family to the Formics. He blames Lem, the son of the Juke Corporation giant, for much of this.
To make a long story short, Victor and Imala (an accountant we met) meet Jukes for some help. Rather than get the help, Victor immediately goes into a tirade, insulting the very people he needs. He does this again with Lem, calling him out as a murderer when they need Lem’s help! Other characters try to shut him up to this reader’s annoyance.
The story ends with a rather ambitious plot of getting onto the Formic’s mother ship, currently orbiting the Earth. Most of this part is anticlimactic and “stay tuned next book folks.” Annoying.
Earth Afire has some positive aspects to it: Governments complaining about their image to the world or afraid to act or let others help, which gives the Formics time to invade; the paranoid Lem who thinks his father is two-faced but often exhibits the same characteristics as his father; Colonel Wit, who leads a crack team of soldiers and attempts to make inroads in stopping the invasion despite his orders from above not to interfere; and Imala, a smart gal with not a lot of people skills.
Victor was the most ambitious character at Earth Unaware, but becomes a know-it-all, sarcastic brat in Earth Afire. Here’s hoping the next book vindicates him as he somehow makes it aboard the mothership!