Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Earth Afire (The First Formic War, #2)” as Want to Read:
Earth Afire (The First Formic War, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Earth Afire

(The First Formic War #2)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  13,370 ratings  ·  857 reviews
One hundred years before Ender's Game the aliens arrived on Earth with fire and death. This is the story of the First Formic War. Victor beat the alien ship to Earth, but just barely. But it wasn't enough to convince skeptical governments that there was a threat. ...more
Hardcover, 1st edition, 399 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Tor Books, New York
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Earth Afire, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Jack Vasen It sure reads like it. The Afterword in the first book is by Johnston. The dialogue sounds nothing like OSC. The politics and maneuvering are juvenile…moreIt sure reads like it. The Afterword in the first book is by Johnston. The dialogue sounds nothing like OSC. The politics and maneuvering are juvenile. It totally feels like a graphic novel.
I hope OSC wan't deeply involved because the quality is way below him.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,370 ratings  ·  857 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Earth Afire (The First Formic War, #2)
Eric Allen
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Earth Afire
By Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston

A Review by Eric Allen

In my review of Earth Unaware, the first book in this prequel series, I stated that I have waited more than twenty years to get the story of the First Bugger Invasion from Ender’s Game. It was a part of the backstory that highly intrigued me. I was rather disappointed that the first book, with the subtitle “The First Formic War” was not that book. It was a great book, and highly entertaining in its own way, but it was not the
Susan Townsend
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
Added this note a good bit later: I was in a really bad mood when I wrote this review, but the ending really ticked me off. I stand by what I said about not reading it unless you can go directly into the 3rd book (which I still haven't read.) I still think it's not up to the standard I expect from OSC, but it's probably not as bad as the 1 star rating I originally gave it. I'm willing to update that to 2, maybe 2.5. My comments on the audiobook stand! Except that it wasn't Stephen Rudnecki I dis ...more
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, gave-up-on
Congratulations! Another entrant into my "too-bad-to-finish" collection!

This book doesn't offend reason or human decency like some horrors I've confronted (Red Mars, Ringworld, or Ancillary Justice all come to mind), but it's a dull, utterly lifeless work.

The characters? I. Don't. Care. Mazer Rackham was at least interesting because, you know, Ender's Game, but he only showed up for one of the 9 chapters that I read and then did absolutely nothing of note in it other than pose in front of plot d
Michael Hirsch
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
Ugh. Probably the worst book I've read of Card's. I'd like to think that it is all the fault of the coauthor, because this book has none of the insights and humanity displayed by everything else I've read from Card. The characters are all one note voices. They have one way to react to everything and they never change. The dialog is contrived and completely unbelievable--especially when it is children talking.

There was nothing clever anywhere in the book. There were a lot of really smart characte
May 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
This novel is why I'm a huge fan of Orson Scott Card - but woe to be the second book of a trilogy. I'm begging for the final installment already!
In this instance, the reader should really read "Earth Unaware" - the first in the Formic Wars series. Several references are made in this novel that would make more sense having read the first book.
Weaving in four plot lines is a dauntless task, but Aaron Johnston and Card do a marvelous job of bringing it all together by the end. Follow the story of a
Kelly Flanagan
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The mile a minute thrilling second book in the Formic War series. A pre-trilogy to the "Ender's Game" saga. And just as I was helpless to put down 'Ender's Game' as well as the first book to this series "Earth Unaware."
My only suggestion is that these are so good you don't want to stop, therefore wait for book 3 to come out!!
Jessica Lester
Dec 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Loved it. Would read it again. Would recommend to a friend. I'm a huge fan of the universe and enjoyed the story. There are some nit picky things that bothered me, but didn't stop me from enjoying it at all. ...more
Crystal Watanabe
May 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Good added characters and I liked reading about Mazer. The book suffers the most from the cliffhanger ending for me. If not for that I'd have given it 4. ...more
Ethan I. Solomon
Dec 21, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: own
I would again like to take this opportunity to mention that I would love if Goodreads had a 1-10 rating system. If so I would give this book 2 out of 10 stars.

This is the second book in the First Formic War trilogy. If you are expecting any sort of greatness, I would restrain myself. Ender's Game this is not. No grand ideas on philosophy and morals are explored here. Once again, the characters are sidelined for the all too predictable story. An exploration of Mazer Rackham's character is barely
Thomas Edmund
Jun 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Earth Afire begins immediately after Earth Unaware, Victor is on the Moon trying to convince the world of their impending doom, Rem is out in space continuing to struggle to define himself from within his father's 'long shadow' and a few other characters its hard to care about do some stuff in space.

Afire offers far in terms of futuristic earth, insight into corporate culture, politics and importantly what earthlings think of 'space-born' While I appreciated the effort to create a believable wor
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi, library
This one keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. The Formics arrive at Earth and bad things happen. Great characters and 3 different story lines are going on: Victor tries to warn of the impending arrival of the aliens; Mazer Rackham locates to China on a peacetime training mission when the Formics arrive nearby; and the free space miner wives and children who survived the battle of the asteroid belt join up with some space scavengers to survive. I only take a star away because ...more
Hayden Goodman
Jan 24, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: big-bad
In general I really love some of the books in the Enderverse, and I REALLY love the overarching story, but man I think this one is just objectively bad.

The lazy character development and dialogue weighs down the whole book. Corporate villains are villains because they’re corporates, the hero is a reckless egalitarian, Chinese villager dialogue is predictably limited to blanket concepts of honor/dishonor. You could definitely argue that Orson Scott Card has a history with some cringey Chinese ch
Kevin Stilley
Jun 17, 2018 rated it liked it
It was difficult to become engaged in the book. The book has six different parallel storylines going on simultaneously, and every time one storyline becomes interesting it shifts to another. The disjointed narrative requires constant work on the reader's part to stay engaged. I didn't notice this so much in volume 1 of the trilogy, so maybe it won't be a problem in the final volume. ...more
Alexander Kwok
Jul 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: OSC Fans
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the middle book in the First Formic War trilogy, the prequel to Ender's Game. I read the first book, Earth Unaware, when it was first published, almost four years ago. It was good - lots of excitement - but it left us hanging for the second book. Now that I've finished the second book, I see that this is really a very long novel divided into three parts. If you read it, I recommend that you read all three in fairly close succession. I've immediately started the third book. It continues e ...more
Jun 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Not until after I finished did I realize I read book 2 of a 3 part mini series. Doh! Being an Ender's Game slut, I will of course read the other two now. This was a good book, but not to the quality of the original Ender books nor the Shadow series.


The book's main failure was the unrealistic nature of most of the characters. It just wasn't believable to me that they would all be so petty in light of the Earth being attacked by aliens.

I thought the book was worth reading for two
Patricia Hamill
Good golly, this is quite a read! I was so emotionally invested in these characters.

I felt Victor’s frustration and hopelessness. Bing Wen (please excuse the spelling, that’s what I got from the audiobook) and Mazer Rackham are fantastic. I very much enjoyed the flashes between Earth, the Moon and the Belt. The characters are easy to get drawn into, even Lem, who’s a piece of work.

I highly recommend this to fans of sci fi, particularly fans of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Saga.

I borrowed the audi
Jun 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is excellent all the way through. I've been waiting for this release after reading the Ender's books, the Shadow series books, and the book before this one "Earth Unaware". It's really interesting to experience the events leading up to Ender's Game and to delve further into the backstories of characters like Mazer Rackim. I also really loved the way the author always paints a picture of the world politics surrounding an event such as an alien invasion. OSC always weaves an amazing tape ...more
Andrew Obrigewitsch
Mar 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, young-adult
One of the better Sci-Fi book written this year, and considering it's also a one of those dreaded Young Adult stories it was actually pretty good. It stands head and shoulders above other young adult books I've read. ...more
Alyssia Cooke
An interesting pulling together of the different narrative threads that were depicted in the first novel. The descriptions of the formic invasion are well done indeed to send shivers down your spine. Characters are interestingly developing with a selection of very human, very real set-ups.

Whereas the first novel in the series is completely based on setting up the story for the formics, this novel starts with the formics reaching earth and follows their landing. The focus shifts from the Chinese
Tim Healy
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, yeah...this isn't the best of the Enderverse novels. It does pick up the store from Earth Unaware and carry it along. It's just not got the snap of the original stories. I'm sure there's a continuing audience for filling in the history that led up to the action in Ender's game, but there's just not a lot of excellent stuff here. It really picks up at the end, or it probably would have rated only 3 stars. And there is more Mazer Rackham in this one. That was one of my complaints about "Unawar ...more
Paul Baker
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
This is the second book in the First Formic War trilogy and it is every bit as exciting as the first novel in the series. While the first book shows the build-up to the Formic invasion of Earth., this novel carries the same characters forward as the Formics land in China and begin to kill everything. One small warning: it ends on a cliffhanger, so be sure to have the third novel handy to continue the story when you put this one down.

Lots of fun, very well written, and a ripping good yarn. This i
Liam Tamulonis
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting idea, however the book was kind of all over the place and I had a hard time following the story.
Patricia Litz
Aug 12, 2019 rated it liked it
ok, was boring at first but then I was hooked. They ended with just enough grab to make you follow next book.
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Both this book and the first one of the Formic wars are awesome. The story flows perfectly and the characters are so real. I felt like this one was gripping me and I liked it. Fight in the sky and ground. Total sci-fi. It’s been years since I’ve read Enders game, and this book does not disappoint.
Chris Haak
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book. Just as good as Earth Unaware, and it picks up right where the first Formic War book ended. I look forward to reading the third in this series.
Noah Goats
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thought this was solidly entertaining. It’s the middle novel in a three book series so it just takes you from point A to point B with a lot of plot and action. Nothing is resolved. But it’s a fun ride. This is definitely not a book you want to read if you haven’t read the first book in the series or don’t want to read the last.
Jun 06, 2013 rated it liked it
This is the second book in the novelization series of the prequel "Formic Wars" era to the Ender Quartet. Pacing is good and characterization's *not bad*. But the reason I can only give it three stars is perhaps personal preference: Unlike the Ender books, which offered a sense of closure at the end of each of the books of that series, the first two books of the Formic Wars series is not really serial in nature but rather episodic, with cliffhangers setting up each installment of the subsequent ...more
Jeff Miller
Aug 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Enjoying these prequel to the events in Enders game and the first Formic war.

Still there are some quirks in the storytelling that annoy me a bit. For example several times we see events coming to a crescendo and then we move onto another one of the story segments. When we return the event has now passed and build-up you expect is now talked about as having already occurred.

It is also nice to see characters introduced in the first book that were not part of the action are now fully engaged in wha
Mar 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Do yourself a favor - if you're interested in this series, get all the books at the same time and read straight through them. I haven't, and I think it suffers for it. Book two picks up almost immediately after Book one, and doesn't spend much time reintroducing the characters, so if you haven't recently read Earth Unaware, you're likely to be lost. And it includes several Card trademarks - the overly brilliant child that talks like an adult, long-winded conversations that methodically build out ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Ender's Game: Mazer in Prison
  • Ender's Game: Ender In Exile (Marvel Premiere Editions)
  • Ready Player Two (Ready Player One, #2)
  • Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show
  • Festin de Cuervos + Danza de Dragones ( Canción de hielo y fuego #4 + #5 )
  • On Fascism: 12 Lessons from American History
  • Farside (The Grand Tour, #20)
  • Night Terrors
  • Carson of Venus (Venus, #3)
  • The Salvage Crew
  • Hotel Megalodon
  • Unbound
  • Getaway
  • The Striped Chest
  • The Heaven Makers
  • The Dark Lands (The Valkeryn Chronicles, #2)
  • The Justice Game
  • My Life in Plants: Flowers I've Loved, Herbs I've Grown, and Houseplants I've Killed on the Way to Finding Myself
See similar books…
Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools.

Besides these and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy (Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys), biblical novels (Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah), the American frontier fantasy series Th

Other books in the series

The First Formic War (3 books)
  • Earth Unaware (The First Formic War, #1)
  • Earth Awakens (The First Formic War, #3)

Related Articles

Mercurial gods are trapped on Earth in The Lost Gate, a new fantasy from a science fiction master.
47 likes · 14 comments
“If you wait until you know everything, you never do anything.” 1 likes
“Bingwen didn’t argue. What good would it do? When adults became defiant in public, no amount of evidence, however irrefutable, would make them change their minds.” 0 likes
More quotes…