Finishing the Saving Mars 6-book series this morning was bittersweet. I have to admit that I put off the last 50 or so pages of the book for a few days just because I didn’t want it to be over. But it is, and so here I am, presenting my Saving Mars book review.
“You’ve made my life immeasurably better by not barbecuing my dog.”
The Saving Mars series follows 17-year-old Jessamyn Jaarda on her mission to, well, save Mars. The series is set in a Dystopian future where Mars colonists have been all but forgotten by Earth after the end of the war. We get to see the day to day struggle of living on a planet that was not meant for human habitation in the value they place on water (don’t cry, and if you do, drink your tears or you’re wasting water), the Planetary Dog that children get to visit on their birthdays, and the lack of food save for the Earth-raided ration bars.
And then there is Earth. An Earth that still has deep dish pizzas and surfboarding, ruled by 1 overarching dictator who has stayed in power for over 300 years by continuously ‘re-bodying’ herself illegally. That’s the sci-fi twist to Saving Mars. 200 years of peace because they move minds into different bodies every 20 years. Do well, you get a better body. Annoy the government, and you get a body with no legs. Rule the world, get access to as many bodies as you want and then kill the witnesses.
I really enjoyed this series for its worlds. Every extra descriptor about Mars was a gem. I love how cultures meshed indistinguishably, such as “Mount Cha Su Bao” (Pork Bun in Chinese) and swearing at ancient Greek Gods “Hades and Aphrodite!“. Another standout factor was the women. From the antagonist Lucca to the Secretary General of Mars, Mei Lo. All of them were strong, formidable and flawed. It made Saving Mars a refreshingly uplifting series that I would love for young girls today to pick up.
That’s not to say it wasn’t without its flaws. It takes a little while to get into the meat of the story as you get through Jess’s teen angst in the very beginning, meaning that Saving Mars has a pretty slow burning start. Also, the “hotshot teen” trope was in full force. Multiple people insisted that only this particular teenager could save the world. “It has to be you Jess” is said, very very often. While in my head I’m screaming ‘SHE IS A CHILD’. But they have to, it’s YA literature.
I also wasn’t in love with Jess’s really fuzzy head throughout most of the books, I didn’t feel like it fit her character of being a pilot and an avid reader. But then, she was 17. And on the plus side, her character definitely grows up by book 6. She still makes some terrible decisions, but you can actually see her start to think.
Bottom line, Saving Mars got me interested in Mars. I even watched National Geographic’s Mars television series (which coincidentally is also in 6 parts and is so good!) because I got so hyped up. It will definitely appeal to a younger audience more so than those seeking a more mature story, but I found it engaging nonetheless. If you’re looking for a book set in space, with 4 strong female leads, you should pick this up. The boys aren’t too bad either 😉
Where can you get it? The eBooks are available from Kindle. Or if you prefer, you can always get a physical copy from Amazon.
Saving Mars Links:
Need more books to read? Check out my list of the 7 best Dystopian Novel series.