I recently read Earth Girl (reviewed here by Barb) and thoroughly enjoyed the book. It was one of those novels which sucked you in, built up the suspense, and then hit you when you weren’t expecting it, built you back up, and finished with a grand conclusion,
In short, everything that the first book in a series should be.
Unfortunately, I’m not reviewing Earth Girl. I’m here to review Earth Star, which definitely suffers from the sophomore blues.
Jarra, recipient of the highest award available to mankind, is ready to return back to school after her harrowing rescue of the downed space ship in Earth Girl. She returns back to school and, surprisingly, runs into some issues with her being an “ape” — something that really didn’t crop up in the first book (except for one character, and this was developed nicely in terms of character growth, I felt at the time). She is shocked and surprised at her classmate’s reaction to her, but takes it as well as she can, since she still has her boyfriend/intended (the rules for marriage and such are very complicated). Just as she is preparing to delve back into her studies, however, she and her betrothed are both whisked away by the military.
Confused, Jarra and Fian agree to assist the military with a top secret project — identify the alien artifact that has suddenly appeared and is headed directly for Earth itself.
IN a race against the unknown, Jarra discovers that there is more to her life — and her mysterious birth family — than she could have possibly ever imagined. Unfortunately, that’s all this book does at this point — imagine how great it could be. A stagnant story line with echoes of promise, but nothing really going on as the investigation into the alien artifact is extremely drawn out, and life around Jarra goes on.
The ending feels rushed, and comes off as something that the author threw together once she realized that there was little more she could do building up the romance between Fian and Jarra. There is some tension there, but it feels contrived as the author introduces prospective interests only to throw them out the airlock as Jarra finds out she’s either related to them or they are already committed to someone and would never break that commitment.
The pacing is slow, but the characterization of Jarra is true to the previous book. However, gone is the toughened survivor out to prove everyone (secretly, I’ll add) that people are wrong about Apes. The story seems to be one giant build up, and then there is no payoff at the end — it’s almost a hand-off to the final novel, and really frustrated me. It’s a beautiful story, with lots of good prose and is technically sound, but… it’s lacking something.
Overall, not the best follow up to a breakout novel, but I’m willing to bet that, if combined with the eventual third book, it’ll be an astounding addition to the series as whole. I wouldn’t recommend buying it, however, unless you’re dead set on owning the entire series in print. Look for it when Kindle offers an ebook discount, or perhaps borrow it from the library.
Reviewed by Jason