Earth Star is the sequel to Earth Girl and therefore this review may contain spoilers for the previous book.
The students of University Asgard’s Pre-History Foundation course are returning to Earth after a short break. Except for Jarra, who cannot leave due to her faulty immune system, and her twoing partner, Fian. They are moving from New York to the Eden dig site in Africa to continue their studies at Earth’s last new city. Surrounded by reclaimed rainforest, this site poses a whole new set of risks but Jarra and Fian are called away suddenly by the military; the Alien Contact programme has been activated.
I was quite excited when I started reading this and the alien sphere lurking above Earth was revealed. It could go two ways, destruction of planet earth or new found friends (was anyone else thinking they could be the key to a cure for the handicapped?). However the sphere isn’t doing much of anything and the military gather experts from all fields to work out what the risk of attack is. And what on Earth they should do about it. Literally on Earth, which has its own special problems. They can’t just evacuate the planet because the handicapped can’t leave, Jarra among them. Whilst some think the handicapped are an acceptable loss, the military is fortunately on Jarra’s side.
The realism maybe cuts down on the tension. It’s believable that there would be quiet times and it’s sensible for Jarra to return to normal life in-between things happening, but this is fiction and it takes away from the pace. This isn’t a race against time alien invasion but an archaeological adventure as before. And as we all know, archaeology done well takes time. I still enjoyed the history in the future aspect and the excavation scenes are oddly gripping. Earth has turned against humanity and the once safe cities are now death-traps. So moving some debris can be a life or death situation.
In the first book it felt a lot more like the world was against Jarra but now everything seems to fall in her lap. Things were just solved a little too simply in many ways, however I was very glad during a certain scene in the hospital where Fian veered her away from a stupid life choice. Which might have seemed like the perfect solution to her. Maybe the easy solutions were to contrast Jarra’s dramatics and over-thinking. She worries about something, but as soon as it stops being Jarra against the world and she trusts someone, things turn out to be easy.
There were some lovely scenes with the supporting characters and I loved the new locations on Earth. Especially Jarra’s brief visit to the pyramids. Do we meet aliens? Well that would be telling but one thing, the end will make you wish the next book was here right now. Bring on the future.
Earth Star is published by Harper Voyager and is available now in paperback and ebook formats. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for for review via NetGalley.
Also reviewed @ For Winter Nights
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.