The Second Formic War & Fleet School

The Enderverse cannot be stopped, and new additions are still being added. Since my review of The First Formic War Trilogy two new trilogies are now in progress. A sequel to the first trilogy, The Swarm: The Second Formic War (again written by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston) and Children of the Fleet (written solely by Orson Scott Card).

The Swarm: The Second Formic War  (Book 1)

At the very end of the first trilogy we saw the formation of the Hegemony and the Formic fleet at the far reaches of the Solar System. We pick up a couple of years later.

Prequels do not respect their elders, and this is certainly true here. The most disappointing part of this book is yet again we see critical elements of Ender’s Game being tossed aside. A critical component of Ender’s Game was that Mazer Rackman was the only one who believed there was a central queen controlling all the Buggers, he alone believed it, and acted on it, and that allowed him to single-handedly win the second war. And that even 100 years later, at the time of Ender, no one really believed his theory of a centralized hive system. But you can say goodbye to that, because in this book, central characters find evidence of this, and communicate it to others.

One nice thing is we see the development of the Ansible faster-than-light communication. At the end of the first trilogy they realized that Formics were communicating faster-than-light, and this led to the Ansible.
Although it seems incredible to me that the ability to harness gravity and faster-than-light communication were successfully kept a secret for 100 years from the general public (or at least, not known to a six-year-old genius named Andrew) up to and after the second war through the end of the third war. Another addition is you see the genus of what will ultimately become the Battle Room at Battle School, it seems a little forced, but we already saw the early signs of the icon game in the first trilogy, so continuing it here is fine.

Children of the Fleet (Fleet School Book 1)

This book takes place concurrently with Shadow of the Hegemon and Ender in Exile and follows the story of Dabeet Ochoa, another brilliant boy destined for greatness. Dabeet grew up on Earth, but as the offspring of someone who as in the International Fleet, he is eligible to attend Fleet School, which is bizarrely located on the old Battle School station.

I say bizarrely, because Battle School was converted to be a assembly point for colonists to ship out to the newly conquered Formic worlds. This happened within months of the end of the war, before Ender left to be the first governor , and continued for years.

“I didn’t go to Earth,” said Graff. “I was busy turning Battle School into the assembly point for the colonists.” – Ender in Exile ch. 7

All of these inbound colonists are absent throughout this book, which takes place over a year on the old Battle School station. The book presents the station as mostly abandoned except those students and personnel attending Fleet School. Other than this glaring issue, everything else is a nice drop-in.

Dabeet is bright, although socially stunted, and the book makes numerous (almost grating) reminders that while he tested better than Ender, he wasn’t nearly as good as Bean. Speaking of Bean, we see the influence of Archilles back on Earth and his efforts to coral and destroy Battle School alumni. We also get a few name drops of characters from the First and Second Formic Wars.

Dabeet must learn how to be smart and learn to play with others, if he is ever going to become a colonist leader (which is the objective of Fleet School, to train future explorers), and overall I thought this was a nice addition to the Enderverse.


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