I’ve heard a lot of good things about Carrie Vaughn from friends who read her Kitty Norville series, so when NetGalley had a copy of her new book, Martians Abroad, available to read, I jumped at it. I’m glad I did, though the book is not without it’s faults.
The story takes place in a future timeline where Earth has settled the moon, Mars, and has stations and colonies out in the belt and on the usual moons. Sort of like the Expanse, but less grim. Polly Newton and her brother, Charles, are the kids of the main Martian colony leader. Polly wants nothing more than to learn to be a pilot, but her mother has other plans – she manipulates their way into the Galileo academy, a prestigious Earth-based school for the best and the brightest. Off-worlders usually don’t attend, not only for the physical limitations (with most growing up in 1/3 to 1/6 Earth gravity), but for the fact that the school is basically a networking tool for all the elite rich kids of Earth. Polly is furious, but her brother Charles (an odd hacker who isn’t against a bit of manipulation himself) convinces her to give it a try as attending may give them some advantages in life.
From there, it plays out not unlike the usual YA novel where the outsiders struggle to fit in. The Earth folks look down on them, the head of the school doubts them, but it’s a series of strange accidents where Polly has to be a hero that really throw them for a loop.
Martians Abroad is well-written and keeps things moving at a decent pace. The main downside for me was, it seemed to take quite a long time (more than half of the book) for the mystery to really take hold, and even then, it didn’t stand out that the bad things happening were all that out of the ordinary. Still, it was an interesting, YA-friendly take on future kids doing dangerous stuff in space and if any of that sounds appealing, or you’re already a Carrie Vaughn fan, it’s worth checking out. You can pre-order at the link, the current release date is January 17, 2017.