Title: Martians Abroad
Author: Carrie Vaughn
Genre: Science Fiction, YA
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: January 17, 2017
Hardcover: 288 Pages
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.
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
How did I get this book: eARC from the Publisher via NetGalley
Format (e- or p-): ebook
Martians Abroad is a new standalone Science Fiction novel by Carrie Vaughn and a highly anticipated read for 2017.
Polly Newton is a Martian, born on the Mars Colony, where she has lived all her life with her mother and twin brother Charles. Her plans for the future are simple: to become a starship pilot and to travel the galaxy. But her plans are quashed when their mother informs Polly and Charles, completely out of the blue, that they are to travel to Earth to attend the prestigious Galileo Academy.
Polly is not very happy about this unilateral decision and things only get worse after they arrive on Earth. On top of having to deal with the very physical aspects of moving to Earth (Gravity, bone density and respiratory problems), Galileo Academy turns out to be a version of the Big Brother house – the students are constantly under surveillance and competing with each other… for some reason, I am not sure why. But most of the book is spent on Polly clashing with her classmates, being persecuted from being Martian and getting into trouble for being so plucky.
Then weird “accidents” start happening that put Polly and Charles’ life in danger.
Right off the bat, Martians Abroad reads to me – a well-versed YA reader – more like what adult readers of Sci Fi think a YA novel is: written down, strangely PG (the romance here is all about hand-holding, forehead touching), with a seventeen year old character who sounds (and behaves) like a child, and a clichéd plot that has very little about space shenanigans and way more high school stereotypical cliques than I was expecting. Add to that the fact that answer to the novel’s central mystery is convoluted and eye-rolling ridiculous…
There are elements here that had potential and were somewhat interesting and fun. For example, Polly’s fierceness as well as her budding relationship with a few of her classmates; the differences between Earth x Martian’s educational system and the difficulties that result from this in the type of content each student has to learn; Charles’ genius and potential sociopathy; and Earth’s tourist spots (Manhattan island is now a museum!). But some of these plotlines went nowhere or were undeveloped – there are tantalising, recurring mentions to Charles as a sociopathic genius but these don’t exactly pan out in any significant way.
Ultimately, I was disappointed with Martians Abroad.
Rating: 4 – Bad but not without some merit
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