Review Detail

Last Day on Mars FeaturedHot
Young Adult Fiction 3459
A Martian Experience
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
A smart, solidly written work of Middle Grade sci-fi.

The book is aptly named; the vast majority of it taking place on a future Mars colony during the last day of its existence--just before it is due to be abandoned by humanity. The bulk of the story is told through the eyes of Liam Saunders-Chang, the young son of a scientist couple who are frantically attempting to perfect the teraforming technology that humanity will need as they flee the premature death of their solar system. Liam comes across as an otherwise "normal" kid for his time period--fond of sports, generally rule-following, confused over subtle shifts in his relationship with his best female friend, and fielding a love/annoyance dynamic with his angsty older sister.

Liam's viewpoint presents a convincing generational divide. Born on Mars, he is having trouble mentally letting go of the only home he's ever known. At the same time, he has difficulty understanding the sad nostalgia his parent's generation has for the recently sun-seared cradle of humanity. Earth, to him, is just a series of videos, images, and ideas far removed from his everyday life. He is well aware the predictability of said life is about to be irreparably altered--but there is no way anyone could foresee how much his life will become directly intertwined with humanity's struggle for survival.

The Last Day On Mars is refreshing--consistently inclusive of viable science-based details--without traipsing into tedium. The prose takes itself seriously, while still laced with a pleasant, airy sort of efficiency. Emerson offers an interesting prelude to set the tone of his work; this portion written in a past-tense, limited omniscient point-of-view that caters well to his audience without patronizing.

Example:
"The light was located on a map, or something like a map. Picture a regular map spread out on a table, only now picture it bleeding up and down through the air, and also forward and backward in time. Like a map of your neighborhood, but also of Tuesday. And next week, and a hundred years ago...
Let's just call it a map.
This map was in an office, (not exactly an office either, but close enough,) and its blinking caught the attention of a nearby being. She was known as a chronologist, and she was as similar to a human being as her map was to a human map, and her office to a human office. If you picture her having dark blue, somewhat translucent skin, and wearing black robes, that will be fine for the moment."

Readers may need to be patient with the setup as Liam's big last day on Mars begins, but once the action eventually kicks in, the pacing is brisk. The characterization is sometimes a bit sparse, especially in terms of Liam's parents, who readers may have difficulty obtaining a realistic feel for. And for those who like a bit of stand-alone resolution in their reading... I'm sorry to report you won't find that here. The book ends with more questions than answers--essentially securing it as the start of a compelling series.

A wide range of sci-fi fans should be able to appreciate this story, which doesn't underestimate the younger tier of its target audience. This reader is certainly looking forward to the next installment.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 1 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Be Our Guest!
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Join Gray Malin’s menagerie of wild animals for a stay...
Hat Tricks
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Meet Hattie the magician―she’s a natural performer, and you’re invited...
Stanley's Toolbox
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
It’s another busy day with Stanley and friends! ...
Spring Is Here!
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When spring arrives, baby animals come out to play with...
10 Things I Hate About Pinky
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
The delightful follow-up to When Dimple Met Rishi and There’s...
The Child of Chaos
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
This is what fantasy fiction should be." --Piers Anthony, New...
Want to Read Rate this book 1 of 5 stars2 of 5 stars3 of 5 stars4 of 5 stars5 of 5 stars Preview Star-Spangled: The Story of a Flag, a Battle, and the American Anthem
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
“O say can you see” begins one of the most...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
July 20, 1969. It’s a day that has earned a...
Thurgood Marshall
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When Thurgood Marshall—the great grandson of a slave—was born, African...
Down Under the Pier
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
There’s lots of fun to be had up on the...
Lali's Feather
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
This endearing story of identification and values shows the rewards...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Book three in a hilarious new series featuring one boy...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Everything starts with a question, like this one: Why do...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Worries, fears, and anxieties are all dragons that sneak up...
The Copycat
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A funny, unpredictable, and heartfelt new novel from Wendy McLeod...
DC Super Hero Girls: Powerless
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The DC Super Hero Girls learn what it's like to...

Latest Member Reviews

10 Things I Hate About Pinky
 
4.3
"10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT PINKY is a cute YA romance that features a fake-turned-real relationship and opposites-attract couple. Pinky..."
Not Another Love Song
 
5.0
"Different than I was expecting - and that’s a good thing! The story: All..."
Jo & Laurie
 
3.3
"Jo March is surprised at how well her novel LITTLE WOMEN has done. Now her publisher and readers want a..."
An Enchantment of Ravens
 
2.3
"I'm not very into reading fantasy (so I might not be the best person to review this). But I was..."
Cracked Up To Be
 
3.7
"Cracked up to be is an unsettling tale of a girl on the cusp of a mental breakdown for over..."
The Morning Flower (The Omte Origins, #2)
 
4.0
"THE MORNING FLOWER continues the OMTE ORIGINS story as Ulla continues to search for her heritage and for the missing..."
None of the Above
 
4.3
"This is one of those books that a reader can learn from. This is the first YA book that I..."
The Lost City (The Omte Origins, #1)
 
4.3
"THE LOST CITY is a highly engaging YA fantasy read about Ulla, a troll. Trolls are secretive creatures who live..."
Layoverland
 
5.0
"'Layoverland' by Gabby Noone, despite being about a teenager who has died, ironically creates a very inviting atmosphere for readers..."
Summer and July
 
5.0
"'Summer and July' by Paul Mosier is a beautifully written story perfect for summer reading. Readers will find themselves immersed..."
A Wicked Magic
 
4.0
"Friends Dan and Liss find a Black book of magic and try a spell. Only the spell goes terribly..."
Scarlet Odyssey
 
3.3
"SCARLET ODYSSEY is a high fantasy that takes place in a world at war. Men are often raised to be..."
Tigers, Not Daughters
 
5.0
"TIGERS, NOT DAUGHTERS is a lyrical book of sisterhood and grief. The Torres sisters had tried to escape their father..."
Tyler Johnson Was Here
 
4.0
"The fallout and protests following police choking George Floyd to death in Minnesota has consumed social media for the last..."
when you were everything
 
4.3
"WHEN YOU WERE EVERYTHING by Ashley Woodfolk is a YA Contemporary novel told in two timelines, “then” and “now.” The..."
Path of Night (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, #3)
 
5.0
"PATH OF NIGHT is another great installment of the books based on the Netflix show, CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA. This..."
Unravel the Dusk (The Blood of Stars, #2)
 
5.0
"UNRAVEL THE DUSK is an enchanting sequel and finale to a unique YA fantasy. Maia is a tailor who dreamed..."
Sisters of Sword and Song
 
4.3
"SISTERS OF SWORD AND SONG is an enchanting and lush YA fantasy. The story follows two sisters, Halcyon and Evadne,..."
Straight On Till Morning: A Twisted Tale #8
 
3.7
"Straight on Till Morning is part of “A Twisted Tale” series, a multi author series of fairytale retellings created by..."
Faith Taking Flight
 
5.0
"Sixteen-year-old Faith Herbert has a secret. She can fly. When she runs into her fangirl crush Dakota, star of the..."