Though the order of my reviews doesn’t always show it, I’ve been on a bit of a space kick again lately. (Because I get advanced copies still, but I don’t publish the reviews until the book releases, my blog posts aren’t always in the exact order that I’ve read the books.) So after pulling it from my shelf a couple times, I finally buckled down and read Marsbound by Joe Haldeman, and it was such a fun read.

Carmen Dula and her family won the lottery and are blasting off to Mars– well, sort of. First they take the space elevator into orbit, then get onto the ship that will take them to Mars. When they arrive, Carmen finds that it’s mostly the same as Earth, difficult authority figures, life routines and schedules to balance. In a fit of exasperation, Carmen leaves the compound on her own, and despite her foolish decisions accomplishes the one thing the colony hasn’t done yet–contact with Martians.

But these Martians aren’t natives, and though they seem amiable to humans, the humans still want to know where they really come from, and who the mysterious creators of this race are. The ultimate question is: are they friends or foes?

Haldeman writes a quick and fun sci-fi read. In first-person from Carmen’s perspective, it’s the right amount of science and young adult devil-may-care attitude. With splashes of romance, intrigue, and ethical dilemmas, it’s a little bit of everything wrapped up in an engaging package. Plus, of course, it’s space, so I’m sold already.

Though the first in a series, Haldeman writes it so that if you don’t choose to continue, you still have closure. However, I also get the sense that the continuations won’t feel forced or thin (I guess we’ll find out when I get around to them. Hooray for having libraries back!).

All in all, it’s a non-technical sci-fi story to devour.

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