By: Rebecca Bloomer
Publisher: Odyssey Books
Published: July 2nd 2012
Surprise!! You are getting yet another review from me this week! A second book review. Think of it as an early Christmas present for my first Christmas doing this blog.
This cover & description caught my attention while I was looking through Netgallery and I was lucky enough to be given the chance to review the book. Also I feel that I should note that the author, Rebecca Bloomer, is Australian! Not that being Australian I believe affects the story but I am trying to look at as many authors from different countries as possible. Gotta explore what is outside of your doorstep sometimes.
If you’re going to colonise a planet, you’d better be willing to fight for it.
Within Anphobos, there grows a new race. The first generation of humans never to set foot on Earth. They are pale skinned, large eyed and worship no god but science. They possess technological skills and processes Earth has refused to acknowledge. Until now…
“We are Martian. Your religion isn’t ours. Our god is Mars. Our religion is science. Anything we do in the service of Mars, is good. Make no mistake, Earth girl, we are both right and good.”
Fresh off Earth, Jodi Scarfield doesn’t really care for Mars or its politics. Still, accusations of treason will get a girl’s attention…
I feel that the book blurb really does not reflect what the book is as the political unrest in Anphobos (the Mars colony the story takes place on) is expressed by a small group, and we really only get to interact with a handle of individuals, and the accusations of treasons it alludes to only comes up at the VERY end. For the most part, and what more accurately describes the book, the story focuses on Jodi being brought to the Mars colony with her mother at the request of her father, learning how to readjust to this new alien environment and alien culture, and how this move impacts her family. Bloomer does not gloss over how physically and emotionally challenging this type of a move would be for a person. She even talks about tensions between Earth and Martian students who have relocated to Earth. Unfortunately, we do not get the chance to see if these tensions are present for Jodi when she is enrolled in the Anphobos education system. It also would be interesting to see if those tensions are present in Jodi’s everyday life outside of school.
Despite the 160 page length, the universe felt like it was well thought out by the author as we see her talking the time to describe the traveling process to Mars and the details around Jodi’s new environment. For the most part, it never felt rushed or there were parts Bloomer felt uncertain about. The story had a wonderful pacing to it. Had the book been longer (closer to 400 pages for example), I believe my issues with the story would be resolved as the climax and conclusion would not have been rushed. I also would have loved to see more time spent on Anphobos life and society, get some time looking at regular politics in action, the school system, and more time spent on flushing out the characters.
Oh the climax and ending. While Jodi seems like she is acting slightly out of character at parts in the book, one character has a sudden and dramatic flip, a character we spent a fair amount of time with previously. It seemed laughable that the changes we saw were real and not some weird joke the character was playing. There was no rhyme or reason given for the change or the need for them to hide their true character for so long. There is even a physical fight between the two characters that Jodi gets seriously injured but… I am not exactly sure how this happens. Even the character gets hit and I am not sure how. I get the feeling the Bloomer is not familiar with writing fighting scenes given the scene’s overall vagueness.
I liked how the school system was set up. Jodi only had to attend classes Wednesday and Friday on campus, Tuesday and Thursday was to be spent doing correspondence classes and assignments, leaving Monday free for her to do whatever she wanted: including NOT come to school! There were also only a few mandatory classes the students had to take while giving the students freedom to choose what other classes they wanted to enroll in. Given that the colony circles around science, I can imagine that these supplemental classes would largely be hard science classes with a handful of social science classes: politics, history, and sociology for example.
Despite the briefness of the story and my issues with climax and ending, I thoroughly enjoyed this story and was glad to have the chance to pick this up. It is classified as science fiction but you do not delve into the hard science of it. It is a great book for someone wanting a quick read and to test out the waters of science fiction for themselves. If you want to buy it, you can find it at Chapters, Amazon, or Book Depository. I have noticed that Bloomer has written a second book and I would love to read how she expands the universe.