I feel obligated to go five stars on this one since I compulsively started the sequel about ten seconds after completing this one. It was definitely 4+ stars for me. I thought Ender's Game was great; I thought Speaker for the Dead was a mess; and that's where I gave up on the author. When I read Ender's Game, I do remember thinking "I'd like to read about the war that took place 100 years before the events of this book." Well, here they are and they make for a fantastic sci-fi epic. I'm about 1/3 of the way through EARTH AFIRE and so far enjoying it just as much as EARTH UNAWARE.
There's a significant military aspect to the novel which not all sci-fi readers can get into - I'm one of them. But, it isn't any more present than it was in Ender's Game and you can't really have an alien invasion without a military aspect. The novel is much more about characters than it is about soldiers.
One more note: The audio book production is fantastic, with about 6 narrators who really bring the story to life. If you liked Ender's Game, I'd recommend giving this one a shot.
I may give another go at the Enderverse after this trilogy. I thought Ender's Game was an anomaly but perhaps that label better fits Speaker for the Dead. I'm open to suggestions if anyone would like to recommend another novel or series by this author. According to reviews, the author seems to have an equal amount of hits and misses when writing novels around the Enderverse. I want to avoid the preachy stuff and stick to the giant bugs from outer space.
Let the games begin. Again.