Third in the Ender’s Game prequel series (Earth Afire, 2013, etc.) featuring the invasion of a wholly unprepared Earth by alien Formics.
Former space miner Victor Delgado, assisted by pilot Imala Bootstamp and Lem Jukes (son of the powerful, capable and utterly ruthless industrialist Ukko Jukes), plans to penetrate the orbiting Formic ship and learn, if possible, how to defeat it. In China, meanwhile, heroics by members of Wit O'Toole’s Mobile Operations Police team, Mazer Rackham of New Zealand’s Special Air Services and Lt. Shenzu of the Chinese army, have dealt a setback to the Formic landers—but unless they can find a way to neutralize the Formics’ deadly flesh-dissolving spray, China, and perhaps the world, is doomed. Since there is still little or no cooperation between the various national militaries, such an outcome seems likely. Victor’s ship, disguised as wandering space garbage, stealthily engages with the Formic ship, allowing Victor to slip unnoticed inside. Unknown to Lem, Ukko launches a fleet of drones equipped with gravity lasers at the Formic ship, heedless of the fact that Victor is still inside. Large slabs of narrative detail the rancorous rivalry between Ukko and Lem. The previous book’s most interesting character, 8-year-old Chinese genius Bingwen, who worked with O’Toole and Rackham, finds a new job as a medic but otherwise features far too little. The Formics are big, buglike, ferocious, possibly telepathic among themselves and otherwise uninteresting, with technology that involves the manual rotating of huge wheels to turn things on and off. Still to come is a huge, thrilling and altogether improbable battle. The evidence, then, suggests Johnson did most of the writing, with minimal contributions from Card.
The weakest installment so far; still, fans will devour it.