>> Friday, February 06, 2015
From bestselling UK author Sophia McDougall comes one fresh and funny, adventure-filled tween debut about a group of kids evacuated to Mars! Perfect for fans of Artemis Fowl, this laugh-out-loud series is packed with nonstop fun. When Earth comes under attack by aliens, hilarious heroine Alice Dare and a select group of kids are sent to Mars. But things get very strange when the adults disappear into thin air, the kids face down an alien named Thsaaa, and Alice and her friends must save the galaxy!
For when plucky twelve-year-old Alice Dare learns she's being taken out of the Muckling Abbott School for Girls and sent to another planet, no one knows what to expect. This is one wild ride that will have kids chuckling the whole way through.
This is sci-fi, set in a future where aliens are threatening the Earth. Apparently, when they showed up and offered to sort out global warming for us we just agreed and didn't ask for any details. So they fixed it, and then some. The mirrors they set up in space to reflect back sunlight are cooling the Earth to the point of sparking off a new Ice Age (presumably, the aliens prefer their new homes on the chilly side).
Our heroine is Alice Dare, whose mother, a fighter pilot, is currently the big heroine and symbol of the Earth's defence forces. That makes Alice pretty important, and gets her in the group of teenagers chosen to be evacuated to Mars, far from the war taking place on and around Earth. They're meant to be educated and trained so that they can join the fight when they turn 16. But things don't go as planned.
Sigh. This was a disappointment, and the setup was so cool that it makes me really cross that the execution really wasn't my thing. Things started out well, and even when the kids first arrive on Mars, I was fully on board. Some of the details (e.g. the toy-shaped robots programmed a bit too young for the age-groups they’re supposed to be teaching) were funny and interesting. I liked the diversity of the characters. I was also interested to see what would happen.
But then it all started feeling a bit too young… I was expecting YA, but I kind of think of YA as mid-to-late teens. This felt younger, which is not my thing. The problem might have been that the main character was 12. I thought when I started that maybe she’d age quickly through the story… after all, she’s not supposed to be ready to fight until 16, but by the time I stopped (about a third in), only a couple of months had gone by.
And worst of all, I didn't buy any of the characters. They didn't feel like real people. The point I stopped was when things turned into Lord of the Flies in Mars. Basically, at one point all the grown-ups just suddenly disappear, and the kids are left on their own, with no instructions or knowledge of what is going on. And the way people started behaving had no emotional believability whatsoever. The older kids were evil just because they were evil, and the younger ones felt awfully blithe and unconcerned. It annoyed me and bored me and I didn’t want to keep reading.
MY GRADE: It was a DNF.