Title: The Monsters on Mars | Series: Cinnamon Sands Academy #1 | Author: Salley J. Robins | Pub. Date: 2017-4-30 | ASIN: B072L6F58Q | Genre: Children’s Sci-Fi | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Kindle Unlimited |
The Monsters on Mars
They don’t call it Crater School A – It’s Cinnamon Sands Academy. That is the first lesson William Glenn learns when he arrives at the Mars Colony. The second is that Vincent Sorenson is a friend he can trust with his secret irrational fears. So when bad dreams and a nagging sense of danger keep creeping into his mind, he tells himself it’s time to grow up. However, when all communications are suddenly cut off, he has time for one course of action. William has to conquer his fear by taking the ride of his life as he attempts to save the Colony from “The Monsters on Mars”. – Goodreads
The Monsters on Mars Review
There were many things to appreciate in The Monsters on Mars. It seemed to have a little bit of everything in it. There was cool tech (like the skimmers/hoverboard), life lessons, a sci-fi setting that felt very ‘near future’, and -of course – kid heroes. The Monsters on Mars is a middle-grade novel that tries very hard to be a well-rounded adventure novel for the intended age range. There’s even a potential bit of foreshadowing for later books that perked my own interest.
And, for the most part, The Monsters on Mars was an enjoyable read. It was easy to picture the world that Salley J Robins created on Mars. It was also depressingly easy to see the future for Earth that she mentions, as well. She does a great job of making things believable for the kids (and adults reading it) and explaining it well. I appreciated that she even tried to explain how things got the way they did on Earth in a way that would make sense to the kids.
“When he asked his parents why Earth was in such a mess, they had different answers. … His dad said people could not or would not stop using energy to make things they used only once … His mom said it was all about people and countries not taking responsibility for the environment and blaming each other instead.”
It doesn’t go into the specifics that caused the problem, but instead on why it hadn’t been fixed. Sometimes that’s the answer that someone wants. Not the science behind what caused it (though that is obviously important to know too.
The Monsters on Mars did have a few problems. My biggest pick with it is that it was overly dramatic where it didn’t need to be. The actual action sequences, like the monsters attacking, were very well done. But the interactions between the kids felt a bit off at times. Now part of it could be attributed to the fact that we see most of the novel through William’s eyes. Kids do have a rather black and white/ good and evil view on things. It just felt like where the rest of the novel flowed smoothly, it did a bit of a misstep at these sections. (I think most of it was the author trying too hard to impart lessons to the kids. You know, ‘don’t do X because Y might happen to you’ type things.)
The pacing of the novel was solid. The descriptions were great. The action sequences, as previously mentioned, were very well done. The dialogue could have been better, but it wasn’t bad.
I really debated on whether to go with a 3 or a 4 star rating with The Monsters on Mars. It had a lot of good points to it, but the writing just didn’t feel as polished as it needed to be. I did end up going with three stars, but I would be more than happy to try the next book in the series. I think the Cinnamon Sands Academy has a lot of potential. It just needs refined a bit.
Lilyn G is the founder of Sci-Fi & Scary, and leader of the Coolthulhu Crew. She does book and film reviews for both genres the site focuses on. Her tastes run towards creature features, hard science fiction, and lots and lots of action. She also has a soft spot for middle-grade fiction that rears its head frequently.
She is also a co-founder of Ladies of Horror Fiction, though she has stepped down to regular crew level.
Feel free to chat her up on Twitter as long as you aren’t hitting her up to review your book.