- Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: HarperVoyager (2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0007443501
- ISBN-13: 978-0007443505
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 30 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 575,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Earth Star Paperback – 15 Aug 2013
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‘With a dash of action, sprinkling of romance, some teenage angst and a couple of collapsing skyscrapers, this novel contains everything you could possibly want to grab a teenage reader and keep them utterly enthralled’
‘A break from the norms’
‘In her debut novel, Janet Edwards has created an authentic futuristic world with enough history and adventure to keep readers captivated’
Amazon Kindle Editors’ Pick - August Book of the Month 2012
About the Author
Janet Edwards lives in the Midlands. As a child, she read everything she could get her hands on, which included the works of many of the great names of Science Fiction. She has a husband, a son, a lot of books, and an aversion to housework.
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This is the story of Jarra, a teenage girl from the year 2788. When humanity has left Earth via portal technology and spread out to other worlds. The home planet was a devastated place which has now been returned to, and is of great interest to historians and archaeologists.
But some people still live there. Those who have no choice. One in a thousand humans born on other worlds have a mutation which means they can't survive anywhere other than Earth. They face great prejudice from many other humans. Jarra is one such. The series began with Earth Girl (Earth Girl Trilogy 1). The prologue to this summarises what happened in that book. But you're still better off reading that rather than starting here in order to get the most from the series.
This volume runs for three hundred and seventy four pages. It has the aforementioned prologue and thirty seven chapters.
Recommended reading age would be thirteen and up, thanks to some mild adult moments and references.
Earth Girl didn't really feel as if it needed a sequel. A point that the prologue does rather neatly and obliquely make. But here we are. Jarra and Fian are now a couple and getting on great. But their lives take a turn for the unexpected when humanity makes contact with an alien craft. Jarra has a lot of professional and personal things to deal with as a result...
The appeal of the first book was the wholly original concept and setting, as it was something that was different from the norm. It also had a likeable and strong main character and good clear and readable prose. You get all that here as well. The initial third of the book does well capture what alien contact would be like, as humanity has to act fast admist a very confused situation, and you see that from a character who gets caught up in the middle of such things. People would react to it in very different ways. As the supporting cast do here.
It changes focus in the middle third, getting more back to her personal life. All through the first third that's been touched on as well, but for a while the thrust of the initial third isn't quite there. So there are times when this does feel perhaps a little bit overlong, and you're not sure where it's going.
Even so, the main relationship holds you, as it is very believable and very well done. And all the time the book does have some interesting things to make you think about people and prejudice. How we react to those who are different and what it's like to be that way.
The writing does though, as you will find out in the final third, know where it's going. Which leads to a decent and convincing finale that pulls everything together well. It's not an ending to the story, though. It ends on big set up for a third volume.
This is perhaps a bit overlong, but it's still a good read that's nicely different to the norm. And it will make you want to find what happens next.
This interesting concept is braided into the idea that Earth is now a backwater, largely inhabited by those unable to survive on other planets, and large tracts are now deserted and falling into ruin. But as a great deal of knowledge has also been lost in the social upheaval engendered by the flight to new planets, archaeologists from all the colony worlds congregate in the race to discover some of the scientific advancements now denied to humanity. It's a cool twist - the world that comes closest to this idea is Eric Brown's fabulous depiction of Paris in Engineman, which I think is one of the best slices of world-building I've ever read...
In addition, the story in Earth Star is pacy, event-filled and engrossing such that I didn't put the book down until I'd finished. Jarra's adventures in Earth Girl were exciting enough - but everything moves up a gear in this second book, when an alien spaceship appears. This being Edwards, of course, this often-covered science fiction plot device doesn't settle into any sort of generic tale, but is given an extra twist. Jarra is pitchforked right into the middle of the action, along with her boyfriend. And before you roll your eyes at the notion of a teenage girl finding herself right in the middle of a major flap about an incipient alien invasion - there is a solid reason why she is there. And it works, in my opinion.
In amongst all the non-stop action, we also have Jarra's relationship with her boyfriend deepening and her fear of commitment addressed. We meet other interesting characters - and learn a bit more about some of the main protagonists that appeared in Earth Girl. Niggles? Um. No. Not one. I just relaxed into this enjoyable, thoroughly readable book and am very much looking forward to reading the third book in the series to discover what will happen next.
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Off to buy the third book.