Thursday, August 30, 2012

Book Review: Saving Mars

Saving Mars by Cidney Swanson
Jessamyn must make a choice: save her beloved brother or her planet?

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When an accidental fire destroys ninety percent of their food supply, Marsians trust aspiring pilot Jessamyn, her genius brother Ethan, and a select few others to fly to Earth and smuggle out precious ration bars.  However, TerraMarsian relations have been either hostile or nonexistent for over a century.  When the raid goes south, Jess finds herself facing some hard choices: go with her gut or her heart with the Terran boy?  Focus on saving her brother or her planet?  Can she even manage to do either?

This book was written by Cidney Swanson, author of the Amazon bestselling Ripple trilogy and nice writer friend of mine.  I raved about her previous books, hosted a guest post by her, interviewed her, and held giveaways of her books.  She's one of those writers that (even though you know all writers are real people) feels true-to-life and so personal!  Her books are amazing; that is fact.

Saving Mars, as I already said, is about a girl who's grown up on Mars and her genius but alter-abled (not dis-abled!) older brother.  Explaining the plot would give things away, but that's not because the good parts come late - it's because the entire book is good parts!  The characters are relatable.  The sibling relationship is realistic and heartfelt.  The whole living-on-Mars thing, which a lot of books/movies make look great but very fictional... well, it's hard to explain, but basically, after finishing the book I literally had to remind myself that it was made up.  I kept thinking about TerraMarsian relations, the Marsian climate, the experiments and technology and politics - all of it was so believable!

I hadn't expected any romance when I picked up this book.  I mean, Cidney is a master of teenage love (Rippler? Oh, sigh!), but Saving Mars is about siblings saving a planet.  You don't miss it in the beginning; it's unnecessary, which coming from me says a lot.  When a boy does slip in a little over halfway through the book, nothing feels forced or added-in.  It was such a natural part of Jess's story - he belonged there, just like every other person in her life.  Their relationship was part of her fate, her path in life.  It was all so beautiful and natural!

With the Ripple series, I mentioned I had one problem - language.  Cidney personally spoke to me about that later.  Guess what?  Saving Mars uses realistic dialogue, language included - but no actual language!  You'd have to read the book to understand what I mean, but I was very happy.  While I have no idea whether I had a part in this, I like to think I did. ^.^

The writing style in Saving Mars is so different from Rippler that a stranger to both could easily read them and not know they had the same author.  Yet they're equally great, and anyone who does know of Cidney would see her in both.  I don't know how she does it, but Cidney manages to give each of her characters an appropriately different voice based on their personality and background, while retaining her writing voice as author at the same time.  That's the mark of a great writer.

I give Saving Mars five stars, and beg Cidney to hurry so I can get the second book!

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

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