Happy Monday - part 2!
Today, we're sharing an early review of Last Day on Mars by Kevin Emerson.
I LOVED this book - I seriously reread it the second I finished - and I cannot wait for all of you to get as excited about this book like I am.
MMGM is a feature hosted by (fabulous) author Shannon Messenger on her blog every week!
Expected publication: February 14th 2017 by HaperCollins/Walden Pond Press
Format read: ARC via publisher
Liam Saunders-Chang is one of the last humans left on Mars. The son of two scientists who have been racing against time to create technology vital to humanity’s survival, Liam, along with his friend Phoebe, will be on the very last starliner to depart before Mars, like Earth before it, is destroyed.
Or so he thinks. Because before this day is over, Liam and Phoebe will make a series of profound discoveries about the nature of time and space, and find out that the human race is just one of many in our universe locked in a desperate struggle for survival.
Considering how dubious I generally am of adaptations, you KNOW that this means Last Day on Mars is good.
Author Kevin Emerson introduces us to Liam and Phoebe, two young teens living on Mars in the Earth year 2213. The sun is about to go supernova, so the burgeoning remains of their colony are now preparing to depart on a long-term journey to a far off star, where a new home potentially awaits.
But the departure is fraught with dangers, intrigue and unexpected consequences, and Emerson spins an epic tale that shows that this isn’t just an ordinary tale of humans looking to the stars…
There are so many things to love about Last Day on Mars, beginning with the fact that it’s not just a story about humanity’s attempts to survive amongst the stars. It’s also a tale reminding us of just how big the universe is, and how the further we reach, the more we’ll encounter things that we never anticipated.
It’s a heady idea for a young teen like Liam to wrap his head around, but it’s also why he’s the perfect one to discover that knowledge. Because as he comes across circumstances that he never would have expected – whether it’s something that sounds like it’s coming straight from a science fiction movie, or a situation that impacts his family a bit more directly – Emerson does a brilliant job of showing how it’s Lima’s youth and innocence which help him accept all of these changes, and act on them instinctively.
It’s a brilliant testament to the strength and genuine ingenuity of youth, especially as Liam is repeatedly put into situations where he doesn’t have the requisite adult figures to depend on, and he’s forced into the position of having to make decisions on the flip of a coin – which he does, often with the understanding that he doesn't know how things will turn out. There's something to be said for the bravery of his decisions, and young readers will be inspired accordingly.
Emerson also makes Liam's journey a nuisanced and diverse one; his world is filled with the type of diverse relationships and friendships that we would expect in a world so far in the future. While it’s definitely a fictional world, Liam’s friends and family are still a great reminder of what we should be striving for in our own day-to-day lives, especially now. But more importantly, many of those who orbit around Liam on a day-to-day basis - pun intended - aren't clear-cut characters with straightforward motivations. Even some of the youngest characters have backgrounds marred by shades of gray, and Emerson's underlying lesson of learning how to judge others, even with unclear motivations, is a compelling one.
Outside of Liam’s core journey, Emerson does an amazing job of interweaving the interpersonal details of Liam’s journey, with a broader mystery and conspiracy involving the destruction of earth and the very foundations of the space-time continuum. It’s hard to balance integrate something that literally reaches the farthest corners of the universe, but Emerson makes us both want to cheer on the journey, and also want to learn more about the tidbits that he's sprinkled throughout the bookk.
All in all, Emerson has spun a creative, immense world that’s thrilling, terrifying – seriously, I actually jumped during a scene, and that’s never happened to me – and I’m absolutely gutted that I have to wait another year before I can read book two.
Highly recommend for all readers, but particularly reluctant readers. This is a fantastic journey that will make imaginations soar.
About the author:
Kevin Emerson is the author of The Fellowship for Alien Detection as well as the Exile series, the Atlanteans series, the Oliver Nocturne series, and Carlos Is Gonna Get It. He is also a musician who has recorded music for both children and adults with his band the Board of Education. Kevin lives with his family in Seattle. You can visit him online at www.kevinemerson.net.