Mars One by Jonathan Maberry
Published by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers on April 4, 2017
Genres: Young Adult
Format: Hard Cover
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Tristan has known that he and his family were going to be on the first mission to colonize Mars since he was twelve years old, and he has been training ever since. However, knowing that he would be leaving for Mars with no plan to return didn’t stop him from falling in love with Izzy.
But now, at sixteen, it’s time to leave Earth, and he’s forced to face what he must leave behind in exchange for an uncertain future.
Not everyone is eager to colonize Mars, however, and the enemy may even be on board, ready to do anything in their power to end this mission.
The cover of Jonathan Maberry’s novel Mars One caught my eye immediately. The dark image of an astronaut alone in space is very alluring. It’s been a while since I’ve read a really good space travel book, so I thought I’d give it a go even though I’d never read anything by him before. I have to say, after reading it, I have mixed feelings.
The story revolves around 16 year-old Tristan Hart, a mechanical genius whose family was chosen to join the crew of the first colony on Mars when he was 12. He has spent years training to handle whatever obstacles they may face during the trip and on the planet, while also trying to live a normal life. During this time, he has fallen in love and now faces what it means to have to leave his girlfriend, Izzy, behind.
Tristan’s tale begins weeks before he and the rest of the 40-member crew is scheduled to leave. He and his girlfriend have agreed to do a reality show, mainly to set up Izzy with all the money she’ll ever need to live. While the pressures of the cameras would be incredibly stressful for normal people, Tristan is most focused on the growing threat of the NeoLuddites, a terrorist group that doesn’t want the mission to succeed. Their supporters keep appearing in public places, and despite assurances that security is tight, Tristan has a nagging feeling that they’ll find some way to mess with the launch. It leaves the reader on edge waiting for any sign that they’re going to make a move on the colonists.
The story continues on as Tristan enters the last days of training before launch. Here the reader meets more of the colonists, including the other 3 teenagers heading to Mars. This is where the story shifts from a mild contemporary romance to more of a science fiction tale. The reader gets better insight into what the mission will require from Tristan and other members of the crew. I’ll end my story description here so I don’t spoil anything.
Over all, this book is very well written. It has such good flow that I read it quickly and felt immersed from the beginning. The language was believable and the bits of humor throughout were enjoyable, especially the challenges placed on Tristan by his mother. I liked the points about humanity that rose to the surface, as well as the character’s observations of the space training. However, I also found the story predictable. Maybe this is due to my age and the fact I plot stories as an author. Either way, I feel this is a Young Adult book most suitable for readers on the younger end of the spectrum.
If you enjoy science fiction, but don’t want to get bogged down by too many science facts, this story may also be suitable for you. I don’t mind a bit of hard science, but I enjoyed the fact that Maberry didn’t let it get in the way of the main message of the story. In fact, the science appeared only to make the story more believable. I shall be keeping an eye open for other titles from Maberry. I’d even like to see what happens next for Tristan.