‘The Swarm’ Review

By Cassandra

‘The Swarm’ by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston is the first novel in the Second Formic War Trilogy and a sequel to the First Formic War Trilogy (‘Earth Unaware’; ‘Earth Afire’; ‘Earth Awakens’).

Following the First Formic War, ‘The Swam’ revisits the altered lives of Mazer Rackham, Bingwen, Lem Jukes and Victor Delgado. Earth’s faint success after The Scourging of China left humanity in a nervous state. Likewise, the pace of the novel leaves readers sweating with the mounting pressure of the anticipated second invasion.

Can the Hegemon pull humanity together long enough to fund an interplanetary war with adequate cash and soldiers? Can the International Fleet recognize the uselessness of career bureaucrats in the face of an intelligent enemy? Can Juke Limited arm the world’s military with technology sophisticated enough to defeat the Hive Queen and her swarm?

Desperate for survival, humanity is willing to win this war at all costs. For this reason, ‘The Swarm’ is more similar to ‘Ender’s Game’ than any of the three other prequel novels. To my delight, ‘The Swarm’ mimics signature ‘Ender’s Game’ elements such as resistance against authority, creative problem solving and childish wit.

Fans will enjoy the subtle development of the Battle School’s foundation, including zero-gravity training, flash guns, battle suits, armies, stars in the battle room, and even the ansible.

I love ‘The Swarm’ so much that I plan to recommend the prequel trilogies to younger ‘Ender’s Game’ fans over the Shadow Series. It’s easily my favorite novel Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston have collaborated on.

As a fan of the Enderverse, I appreciate that Card and Johnston have constructed the story in a way that unifies parts of ‘The Gold Bug’, ‘Mazer in Prison’, ‘Speaker for the Dead’, ‘Shadows in Flight’ and film canon. It’s quite impressive.

For readers less familiar with the entire Enderverse, I must recommend reading at least the First Formic War trilogy beforehand. Any of the other novels or short stories, including ‘Ender’s Game’, are unnecessary to understand the plot.

I only have two grievances against ‘The Swarm’. Firstly, the physics and biochemistry explanations behind some of technologies seems slightly misguided regarding the laws of thermodynamics. I won’t give any spoilers in this review, but I’m pointing at you, chapters 18 and 25!  My second grievance is that ‘The Swarm’ had to end at all.

On a final note, I think it’s endearing that this novel is sweetly dedicated to our amazing ‘Ender’s Game’ film producer, Lynn Hendee.

‘The Swarm’ will be released tomorrow, August 2. Purchase it at your local bookstore or buy it on Amazon.

Disclaimer: A special thanks to Tor Books for providing ‘Earth Awakens’ for review. All opinions are my own.


‘The Swarm’ Review — 2 Comments

  1. I don’t understand why OSC is still allowing Aaron Johnston to both put his name on a cover with him, as well as pretty much write every word in the book.

    First off, as far as the book not having an ending… find me one OSC + Aaron book that does.

    Then, I shouldn’t have to go into Aaron Johnston’s complete lack of knowledge in science.
    (such as bringing a ship in essentially black space to a stop in order to work on it. Aaron — a complete stop relative to what? The Earth? Mars? A particular asteroid in one belt or another? All this, when they’re not near any of these.)

    And all of the other science issues that have been talked about enough.
    But now, we have plot rules from one book being tossed out the proverbial window. More and more science being butchered, as if Aaron thinks Science Fiction doesn’t need to have any basis in science facts. To actual sci-fi readers, it just hurts. (Aaron isn’t exactly keen on thermodynamics).

    I just don’t understand why OSC is okay letting his name being put on a book where the person writing it doesn’t seem to understand that we require actual Science in our Science Fiction.

    Well, actually, I can take a stab at it.
    At the end of one audio book, OSC is passive/aggressive about people coming up to him and telling him that Ender’s Game is so good that it should be made into a movie. OSC responds, as if absolutely confused, “Why? It’s already a book”, and then goes oh to explain that books are the best form for stories, and he thinks audio books are super for it, so why should anything be changed that could take away from this.
    It’s hard to stomach listening to this pretentious bit.

    But then, in later interviews, he talks about how he’s tried really hard to get a movie made, but that he couldn’t ever get it done because there were two things he simply wouldn’t cave in about… 1) That Ender doesn’t get a love interest. And 2) That producers kept repeatedly trying tricky ways for Ender to be played by a 16 year old actor, and it was a deal breaker, in hardened sand, that Ender be 12 years old. PERIOD.
    No Question.

    And he went back to his pretentious bit about how he’d rather wait forever than compromise on this.

    And, well, we know what happened.

    Now, maybe caving on his principles for the movie was about something more than money. And maybe OSC being okay about not only not even bothering to write anything in these books with Aaron, but not even bothering to read over and even perform a basic sanity check is just pain lazy.

    Absolutely lazy.

    So, if there’s another reason than money, I don’t know it. Because this comic book type of “novel” that Aaron puts out is not helping anyone’s prestige. It’s garbage compared to his previous work.

    But, I’m just a lowly reader, so what do I know?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *