Thursday, 5 January 2017

Mars Evacuees by Sofia McDougall

Mars Evacuees by Sofia McDougall is a fast-paced YA or younger (the main characters are 12) book about kids being evacuated to Mars during a war with aliens. I picked it up not realising the characters and target age group were younger than the YA I usually enjoy, but I ended up enjoying it a lot. It was also a good book to read on a plane and while jetlagged.

The fact that someone had decided I would be safer on Mars, where you could still only SORT OF breathe the air and SORT OF not get sunburned to death, was a sign that the war with the aliens was not going fantastically well.

I’d been worried I was about to be told that my mother’s spacefighter had been shot down, so when I found out that I was being evacuated to Mars, I was pretty calm.

And despite everything that happened to me and my friends afterwards, I’d do it all again. because until you’ve been shot at, pursued by terrifying aliens, taught maths by a laser-shooting robot goldfish and tried to save the galaxy, I don’t think you can say that you’ve really lived.

If the same thing happens to you, this is my advice: ALWAYS CARRY DUCT TAPE.

What made Mars Evacuees such an enjoyable and fun read was the voice of the first person protagonist, Alice. Her narration is full of snide and sarcastic remarks and seeing everything through her eyes brought the story to life. The mostly likely problem I am to have with younger reader (middle grade for you yanks) books is being talked down to by the narration, which was absolutely not the case here.

Another thing I appreciated about Mars Evacuees was the pretty accurate science/physics of space travel and stuff on Mars. There were only a few small bits that raised my eyebrow, but they were also glossed over by the author with no details, making it easier to ignore and harder to pinpoint actual sciencefails (if that's what they were). Much as I generally appreciate accurate science in my science fiction, I think it's even more important when it comes to kids books that can be quite formative.

Overall I really enjoyed Mars Evacuees. The characters were fun, the story was exciting and the resolution felt finished. This is the first book in a series but it certainly doesn't feel like the story is unfinished. I am interested in picking up the next book, but I don't feel like it's necessary.

I highly recommend Mars Evacuees to science fiction fans, especially those that enjoy YA books or books for younger readers. That said, I think this is a fun read that most adult fans will also enjoy. And while I said the science was accurate, it's not dwelt upon enough to make it hard SF, if science overpowering the story is something you prefer to avoid.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: 2014, Egmont
Series: Mars Evacuees book 1 of 2 so far
Format read: ePub
Source: purchased from Google Play

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