Published by Tor Books on January 17th, 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Personal Copy
Sexual Content: N/A
Reviewed by: James
A great new stand-alone science fiction novel from the author of the Kitty Norville series.
Polly Newton has one single-minded dream, to be a starship pilot and travel the galaxy. Her mother, the director of the Mars Colony, derails Polly's plans when she sends Polly and her genius twin brother, Charles, to Galileo Academy on Earth—the one planet Polly has no desire to visit. Ever.
Homesick and cut off from her desired future, Polly cannot seem to fit into the constraints of life on Earth, unlike Charles, who deftly maneuvers around people and sees through their behavior to their true motives. Strange, unexplained, dangerous coincidences centered on their high-profile classmates begin piling up. Charles may be right—there's more going on than would appear, and the stakes are high. With the help of Charles, Polly is determined to find the truth, no matter the cost.
I am a huge fan of the Kitty Norville series. I could go on for thousands of words talking about how awesome that series is. I was sad to see it end, but it ended at the right time, and that’s part of what made the series great. Science fiction has always been a love of mine, urban fantasy has been a more recent addition to the genres I read. I’ve been reading science fiction since I was eight, so I was thrilled to see that Carrie Vaughn was releasing a sci-fi novel! One of my favorite urban fantasy authors writing sci-fi, I couldn’t’ve been more happy.
MARTIANS ABROAD has a great premise. Kids who were born and grew up on Mars coming to Earth for school. Boarding school stories are a little over done, but they can still turn out to be great. However, as I started to read MARTIANS ABROAD I realized that a lot of the problem with the story was the original premise. Carrie Vaughn did an amazing job of describing the world through the eyes of someone who’d lived in a bubble on Mars their whole life. It was awesome to experience the wonder through the eyes of Polly Newton, but at the end of the day it was still just Earth. This is something that I’ve experienced. It was awesome for awhile to see the wonder, but sci-fi and fantasy are about exploring strange new worlds. Earth isn’t a strange new world to me even though it was to Polly.
MARTIANS ABROAD was well paced though. Right as I realized that while the sense of wonder was fun but wasn’t really anything special, the story actually started to pick up. Polly Newton and her brother start getting thrown into crazy circumstances that allow them to shine because of their differences from living off world their whole life. Even though the plot was enjoyable I was once again left feeling like this wasn’t true sci-fi.
I enjoyed MARTIANS ABROAD it just wasn’t what I had been hoping for. MARTIANS ABROAD is a standard Young Adult coming of age story with a futuristic back drop. I’d love to see Carrie Vaughn make another crack at sci-fi, though maybe next time as an Adult novel.