Title: Mars Evacuees | Series: Mars Evacuees #1 | Author: Sophia McDougall | Publisher: HarperCollins | Pub. Date: 2015-2-17 | Pages: 416 | Genre: Kids Sci-Fi | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Library
From bestselling UK author Sophia McDougall comes one fresh and funny adventure-filled tween debut about a group of kids evacuated to Mars! Perfect for fans of Artemis Fowl, this laugh-out-loud series is packed with nonstop fun.
When Earth comes under attack by aliens, hilarious heroine Alice Dare and a select group of kids are sent to Mars. But things get very strange when the adults disappear into thin air, the kids face down an alien named Thsaaa, and Alice and her friends must save the galaxy!
For when plucky twelve-year-old Alice Dare learns she’s being taken out of the Muckling Abbott School for Girls and sent to another planet, no one knows what to expect. This is one wild ride that will have kids chuckling the whole way through.
Mars Evacuees Review
Mars Evacuees features a great crew of boys and girls working together to save themselves and eventually the planet. There are all sorts of personalities types, very believable bickering, and some rather colorful aliens. It’s got a nice pace, solid dialogue, and a few unexpected twists in it. So, I don’t know why I didn’t particularly care for it, but I didn’t. It took me a few weeks to finish this book, where normally it’s the sort of read I would plow through in a few hours. Actually, I think part of it is at one point this threatens to turn into yet another “Under the Dome – for Kids” scenario. (It doesn’t, but still that was enough to dampen my interest.)
I think part of the problem is I didn’t particularly care for the main character, Alice Dare. I liked the other girl in the group, Josephine, a lot better. And even she had a bit of an annoying snot air about her half the time. I wanted to like her because she was a bit Hermione Granger-ish but instead of feeling an instant connection, I just thought of her as a bit of a snob. The flask-stealing probably didn’t help matters any. Carl and Noah were decent kids and fairly forgettable characters. Now, Goldfish… Goldfish was awesome.
Goldfish is a floating/flying robotic tutor stationed on Mars. It is incessantly cheerful, and very excited about teaching the students things. You spend a good portion of the novel wanting to knock it out of the sky. However, when things start to go sideways, Goldfish rises to the occasion (within the limits of what it can do), and you start to admire the little booger. By the end of Mars Evacuees, I think I wouldn’t have really cared what happened to most of the kids, as long as Goldfish got to rescue at least one of them. When it went all Mama, uhm, Fish on some bad guys who were trying to hurt the kids, I was totally cheering it on.
One of the things that I think was a strength of a book was the way the author did her best to write it as a kid telling the story for other kids. Everything was simply stated, and easy to understand. I don’t think what the main character understood was far above what it should have been, either. I just wish the character herself was a bit more memorable. (However, I will say one scene near the end had me laughing.)
Mars Evacuees is a solid middle-grade science fiction read. It’s a bit thick, but the language is very accessible. I can’t whole-heartedly recommend it, but I think you should give it a try if you come across it. Especially if your child loves science fiction, because lord knows there’s not enough sci-fi for kids out there yet!
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