“Bree is on a mission. She’s trained to fight. But what she really needs to learn to do is listen…Bree is an ordinary teenage girl living in a Martian City where everyone dreams of returning to Earth. She’s never seen a bird fly or the sea or the rain. She’s amazed when she’s chosen for a mission to Earth, a rare honour usually reserved for the highest-achieving pupils. Why her? There are terrible shocks ahead. Who is trying to contact Bree? What are the others not telling her? As she discovers more secrets, she will have to decide who to trust. Whose side is she really on – Home or Earth?”
Publication: 14th April 2016
Publisher: Firefly Press
So I saw this book at the library in the children’s section on the “highlights” area and anything science-fiction has always interested me. The problem I find with science-fiction is usually that it’s very male-dominated and I just got excited that it’s written by a woman. I’ve also never (from my memory) read a science-fiction book written for children, although I have seen quite a few children’s science-fiction movies.
The writing style was breezy, is the way I’d describe it. It flowed really well. There were no boring descriptions of a statue, it jumped from point to point, and I’m a big fan of writing that doesn’t go off on tangents. It sticks to what it should be sticking to.
The characters were interesting, too. Bree was a flawed but well built character, although there was no character development that I could see. She did seem to get stronger within herself and stood up more to the people she worked with but, other than that, she had few improvements. I happen to love characters, especially main characters, that are flawed as people usually are. Bree was arrogant and sometimes selfish but she was also generous with high levels of empathy and with such a strong imagination. There was some girl on girl hate at the start of the novel which, without spoiling it, did get better in time. Which is good, as that’s one of my least favourite tropes!
Saying this, there was next to no world building. Annoyingly, Mars didn’t get much time in the novel. Obviously, living on a different planet in the past, I wouldn’t know what a Mars world made to look like Earth would be like and how different in comparison there lives would be. In fact, everything from their schooling to training to travelling to Earth was all so fast paced but when they got to Earth it slowed down and a little more world-building started to happen (although still not a lot but I could picture an abandoned Earth a lot more than I could picture Mars). This is annoying as I already know what Earth looks like – I live on it. However, descriptions might be boring to little un’s so at least more time spent on Mars would have been great. It would feel like I was there without actually having to travel 1000 years in the future.
It was also very predictable. I knew, more or less, exactly what was going to happen but because this book is aimed at children I don’t feel like this is a valid reason to bump it down a star. Children may not see it as so predictable, I know I wouldn’t.
It took turns I didn’t expect it to take, saying that, and it demonstrated human cruelty almost too well. It made me a little uncomfortable in places (but nothing graphic, the writer did leave this out, but it was implied).
It also had a lack of diversity, but skin colours and such were not mentioned. There was not enough mention of the characters in any depth to know anything more than their names and basic personalities, which is what I expect from a children’s book.
Although what I do know is that they come from Cardiff, Wales, and I also live in Wales. I actually don’t live that far from Cardiff, either, so that was a really nice little detail as I rarely ever come across books where the main location is anywhere in Wales (the last book I read where that was the case was Peculiar Children which was at least two years ago now).
Gosh, this review is messy. Sorry, new people, I’m new to reviewing!
Overall, this was a really fun and nice read and it might stick with me for a while but it wasn’t anything amazingly special. I gave it a three out of five stars overall.