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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

#allthebookreviews: Retrograde by Peter Cawdron @petercawdron @hmhbooks

by Peter Cawdron
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Releases 9/12/17

Big thank you to HMH Books for our copies in return for our honest reviews.

Mankind has long dreamed of reaching out to live on other planets, and with the establishment of the Mars Endeavour colony, that dream has become reality. The fledgling colony consists of 120 scientists, astronauts, medical staff, and engineers. Buried deep underground, they’re protected from the harsh radiation that sterilizes the surface of the planet. The colony is prepared for every eventuality except one—what happens when disaster strikes Earth?

My Thoughts: 

Reading a story about a Mars disaster immediately makes you think of The Martian... or at least it did for me.  But rather than this being a story built on one person having to survive on Mars while waiting for rescue, we see this story about a colony of various professional people from across several ethnic backgrounds working together as one when disaster strikes on Earth.  This is how they react to this disaster and how it causes strife in their own world.  Rather than being Americans, Russians or Chinese or wherever they're from, they have to learn to work as Martians again and not let what's happening back on earth effect them.  Then when disaster strikes on their colony, they start having to fight for their own lives.

Throughout the book you can see that the author did a LOT of research.  The technicalities of how the colony was sustained was informative but not overwhelming.  The characters were fairly well developed but I wish there had been just a little bit more.  We see through the eyes of Liz, an American, who struggles internally throughout the book ... I don't want to say too much so as not to give away any spoiler or story arcs.  However, I will say that this being a science fiction book could've left out the typical love triangle plot. Luckily, that was such a minimal thing within the book compared to everything else that I'll just brush it aside.

As a person who loves all things science-y, I was pretty fascinated where the author took the story line.  It's certainly conceivable that this could potentially happen in the future and I certainly hope the powers that be have contingency plans in place JUST IN CASE.  I do feel the ending was a little too neat and felt a tad bit rushed.  For all the detailing that came at the beginning to give you a sense of being on a different planet, the ending left more to the imagination and the time line seemed very quickened.  OR maybe I just wanted more?

Any fan of outer space sci-fi action will like this book.  What I thought started out as more of a political story went into a science fiction tale that maybe needed a little more balance, but was well written and certainly caught my attention.


Jessica's Thoughts:

Not going to lie, the cover to this book made me want to read it. RETROGRADE by Peter Cawdron is set on Mars and we follow the colony of people that are now inhabiting the red planet. We see them put to the test when tragedy strikes earth. 

The colony on Mars is made up of people from all over the world. All are professionals but they span across multiple ethnic backgrounds. It's great to see the characters work together when disaster strikes Earth, but can they still come together as Martians when their colony is faced with losing their support?

It's really hard to write a review without giving away some spoilers - with it being a shorter and action packed novel. I will say this, Cawdron definitely did his homework and research for this one! Everything felt so real, and the fact that I'm not a scientist, I felt like what he put out there is completely plausible. With people already in the process of trying to get people to Mars, this doesn't feel like its in the too distant future.

Overall, this was incredibly well-written and had some memorable characters. Lots of action and a quick pace made for a good read! I would say that I wanted just a little bit more. The ending did feel rushed, but that's probably because of the length of the novel.

If you're a fan of all things science and outer space, then this is one you'll have to pick up!

I give this 4/5 stars!

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