In order to discuss Earth Star this review will contain spoilers for Earth Girl (book one)!
Earth Star is the second book in the 'Earth Girl' YA sci-fi series by debut British author Janet Edwards. The story follows 18 year old Jarra, one of the ‘handicapped’ who’s immune system means that she is forced to stay living on Earth whilst everyone else is able to portal between different worlds. In book one Jarra enrols on a history course and in an attempt to fit in and prove that ‘apes’ (as the handicapped are referred to) are just as capable as everyone else Jarra spins a story about being a Military kid to hide her real identity from her new classmates. Earth Star picks up just after the events of Earth Girl, where Jarra’s real identity has been revealed and she is about to start a new school term. However this term will be nothing like the first as Jarra and boyfriend Fian are soon drafted into the Military for real this time as part of the alien contact programme.
With the introduction of the alien plot line came hope for me as a reader. I found the pacing of Earth Girl, following Jarra's attempts to keep her secret, a little slow and was therefore looking for a more captivating and fast-paced tale this time round. Unfortunately the middle section of the book strays away from focusing on this particular element however the pacing and intriguing alien plot does pick up again for the last part, and despite being a little disappointed overall I did find that there were some great moments dotted throughout. The cliffhanger ending, again focusing on the alien plot, gives me hope that third book Earth Flight will be the best of the series.
As a main character and narrator I had mixed feelings about Jarra. In the first book I respected her determination to go after her dreams and to represent the ‘handicapped’ population by trying to prove to others that it wasn’t going to hold her back. On the other hand her know-it-all attitude and the fact that she was naturally good at everything did become a bit annoying after a while! The story is no different in Earth Star, Jarra is still awarded opportunities thanks to her extensive knowledge and leadership skills, for example although new to the military she is quickly promoted to Major. It wasn’t just Jarra though, despite finding the overall concept and ideas interesting I couldn’t really connect with any of the characters introduced which made it difficult to invest in their story.
Writing-wise there is some new ‘futuristic’ language used throughout both books with words like ‘zan’ and ‘nardle’ that instantly reminded me of ‘bubbly’ and ‘bogus’ in the world of the Uglies series. In addition I found the technology-based elements to be reminiscent of this series which is also very much a technology-based YA. Being a technology-based tale there is a lot of informative paragraphs accompanying scenes that include trips to archaeological dig sites which at times I found to be slightly overwhelming however if you love your stories to have a lot of world-building this may be the series for you.
Overall I found Earth Girl to be a bit of an underwhelming read and Earth Star a better one, but unfortunately, although I still think it has a lot of potential, not quite enough for me to love the series. However with the second instalment already receiving some great reviews on Goodreads I would definitely recommend this series to slightly younger (teen) readers, anyone who loves technology-based stories and fans of Scott Westerfeld’s popular Uglies series.
Earth Star was released just last week - find it here
This post was written by regular reviewer Erin, get to know her here