The Saving Mars Series by Cidney Swanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Saving Mars Series Books 1-3 By Sidney Swanson
As I mentioned before I love this series and Sidney Swanson's style of writing. Unfortunately its interfering with a goal I had set to make it through at least the first ten Honor Harrington novels by this time. I'm on book 9 of that series and I keep putting it down to read these Mars books. So I might just as well finish these three and move on to Books 4 and 5 before the final novel comes out.
The adventures of Jessamyn and Pavel continue as they draw all variety of people into the web of intrigue; that is the mutual agreement that long ago took place between Mars and Earth.
Jessamyn Jaarda is the hotshot pilot and book worm from Mars who with her brother, Ethan, and a crew of Marsian Raiders set out in the Red Galleon past the star-wars like array that is meant to keep them in their place. The trip comes with a cost as they lose a companion ship the Red Dawn to the laser array that is designed to shoot anything heading away from Mars. Jessamyn is able to use her skills as a pilot to get Red Galleon past the array, but it looks like her cavalier piloting might be part of what lead to Red Dawn's destruction.
The Red Galleon and crew have to take on both missions now the one to trade for fuel and the one to shut down the array of satellites around Mars.
Mars and the Marsians have their problems. Earth has long ago abandoned all efforts to make Mars livable and those who refused to return to Earth were left to die. Political issues between those who stayed and Earth gov escalated combative situations resulting in the array of deadly satellites that are there to keep anyone trying to leave Mars from doing so. The Marsians are trying to finish the job of making Mars livable but it's not going well so every 40 year approximately they take the valuable Tellurium to Earth and trade illegally for ration bars which is the only sustenance that the Marsians have. Somehow the ship they take can contain enough ration bars to get their controlled community through the next 40 years. This time they are early because of an accident that burned most of the remaining rations.
Life on Earth has changed dramatically. In part due to the failure of the Mars Project the Earth has drawn inward and come up with a different solution. Due to a technique that requires lots of Tellurium. The citizens of Earth have technology that allows them to transfer their minds from one body to another. (This is almost sounding like a nod to Edgar Rice Burroughs Mastermind of Mars Where Ras Thavas is the mad doctor who switches out peoples brains with other people and even animals.)Here in the Saving Mars universe we find special rules that everyone is allowed to live out their lives the four bodies with intervals of 18 years totaling seventy-two and then they are retired. (Euthanized) They live to eighteen then two-body out to a fifty-four year old body while they apprentice.(sorry whilst is just one of those fingernail on blackboard words for me.) At seventy-two they three-body out to a thirty-six year old to preform useful work. At fifty-four they four body out to an eighteen year old bodies to enjoy semi-retirement before they are fully retired.
Yes, I can see where this could all go wrong in a hurry, but in this world it appears to work. I say appears because there are some people at the top of the food chain who control this and have been abusing it. This whole plot point figures heavy into the relationship between Earth gov and Mars gov so it becomes critical to the rest of the story.
Lucca Brezhnaya runs the Earth gov- from Budapest; there are others who seem to be above her but she's the one who seems to run things. Pavel is her nephew whom she seems to be preening for a future in the government. Lucca is a part of the problem while Pavel is too naive to be aware at this point.
Pavel and Jess are on a course to a head-on collision of the two worlds. The people of Earth have been led to believe that there is no one left living on Mars. The people of Mars think that Earth has been mostly indifferent to their existence possibly because they don't know they're there on Mars. But past political posturing might tell a different story and when these two collide something will have to give.
Jess will find a lot of time to regret some of her hastily made decisions and their outcomes. She'll also end up losing a lot to complete the mission.
Pavel will have to set his whole world upside down just to begin to believe what the Marsians are telling him.
And Lucca Brezhnaya will be out for blood.
While some elements of the plot are a bit fantastic, that fantastic tends to stay within its own rules while creating a compelling group of players who are all trying to do their parts while following their own hearts.
Book two is primarily Jessamyn's struggle between love and country (planet). There is plenty of intrigue and plotting on both planets. It might be that what seemed like accidents in the past have really been part of a larger plan.
Jess has to fight the system to get a chance to return to save her crew-mates and to try to see Pavel once again.
With a round of great characters Cidney Swanson weaves each of these stories separately into individual stories that stand well by themselves, but they have these left over questions that take you into to the next book. Each book stands well alone. The reading is entertaining and compelling enough that you want to move on to the next book as you finish each one.
This is great fiction for those who like Mars stories and who enjoy books for the characters who people them. Those who like their science (pure/hard) might struggle though there is a reasonable amount of it here. I'd recommend this for SFF fans and romance and adventure and YA book lovers.
For those who like the characters in a book to come flying up out of the pages at them.
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