Today’s team review is from Terry. She blogs here https://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/
Terry has been reading The Rings Of Mars by Rachel Foucar
About a 500-strong crew on a year-long mission to Mars, to establish a society that will, it is hoped, be part of the solution for all the troubles on earth. But there appears to be a saboteur on board ship…
I liked the premise very much, and Ms Foucar has a most readable, flowing writing style. I was drawn in quickly; the beginning, with Jane Parker leaving a dying country, held great promise, and there is an excellent part early on in which a maintenance crew member gets killed. Around a third of the way through, though, my interest began to lapse. There are a lot of main and secondary characters, all with unmemorable names like Pat, Pamela, Jane, Mark, Frank, Beth, Sam, which wouldn’t have mattered so much if the POV didn’t change so often, and most of them didn’t talk in the same way. It was okay at first, and I had a clear picture of Jane, Mark and Pat, but after that it all got a bit hazy. Having said that, most of the dialogue is basically good; natural, convincing.
I wasn’t sure how old they were all supposed to be, but they gave the impression of being in their early twenties, and sometimes seemed more like students running around a campus than people especially selected to go on this important voyage; I didn’t have a sense of them being on a ground-breaking mission into space.
For a scifi thriller, there was a lot of talking but not very much tension or drama. I also felt that the plot itself wasn’t very clear, as if there hadn’t been enough thinking through – having said that, it didn’t help that the mobi copy I was sent for review was badly formatted – on (literally) every other page there was a gap in the narrative, sometimes breaking a sentence in two, with the title and the words ‘ARC Not for Sale’. Obviously I would not mark down the book itself for this, and I tried not to notice and just read the story, but it became off-putting, and made me lose concentration. Also, early on, there were a few punctuation errors – simple ones, like apostrophes in plurals.
This is a first novel – the author definitely has talent, and this story is a great idea. I would suggest a) working with a good editor to pull it into shape, b) instructing her publisher to make decent review copies before she sends out any more! and c) having a re-think about some of the character names – perhaps make some of them more unusual, and more 21st century. To sum up – it’s good, and has the potential to be very good, but it felt a bit 3rd-draft-ish, and needs more work to make it publication-ready, in my opinion.
For most people, colonising Mars is the opportunity of a lifetime. A chance for adventure. But for Jane, it’s a chance to escape her old life.
As the Earth grows more inhospitable, humanity’s best hope for survival is to start again on Mars. Jane Parker was lucky enough to be chosen from millions of applicants to join the first ship of colonisers. But before the crew of the Sleipnir can begin taming the red waste, they have to survive the voyage over. And there are those who would rather they didn’t reach their destination.
Trapped on a ship with a deadly saboteur, Jane will be forced to use her unique skills to keep the crew of the Sleipnir and her new friends safe. But will Jane be able to get the ship to its destination and keep her past a secret?