A century after the Martian war of independence, a group of kids are sent to Earth as delegates from Mars, but when they return home, they are caught between the two worlds, unable to reconcile the beauty and culture of Mars with their experiences on Earth in this “thoughtful debut” (Kirkus Reviews) from Hugo Award–winning author Hao Jingfang.
This “masterful narrative” (Booklist, starred review) is set on Earth in the wake of a second civil war…not between two factions in one nation, but two factions in one solar system: Mars and Earth. In an attempt to repair increasing tensions, the colonies of Mars send a group of young people to live on Earth to help reconcile humanity. But the group finds itself with no real home, no friends, and fractured allegiances as they struggle to find a sense of community and identity trapped between two worlds.
Hugo Award winner Jingfang's cerebral, futuristic debut explores the interplay between societal values and individual dreams in crisp, gorgeous prose. Luoying is a member of the Mercury Group, a group of teenagers born and raised on Mars sent to study on Earth for five years as part of a cultural exchange. Upon returning to their home planet, the students feel disconnected from their people. Having spent nearly a third of their lives in the highly materialistic capitalist Terran society, they struggle to reintegrate into the serene, seemingly utopian Martian republic. As Luoying strives to find her place in her old world, she grows suspicious of her grandfather, the current consul of Mars, and his involvement in both the deaths of her parents and her selection for the Mercury Group. Luoying's growing disillusionment with Martian society is nimbly handled, as Jingfang vilifies neither capitalism nor communism, allowing for complex political commentary grounded in her characters' emotions. Though some readers may grow frustrated by the novel's slow pacing, the carefully considered quality of the language mirrors the thoughtful story being told. Fans of literary science fiction will relish this challenging tale.
Interesting but too lengthy
Thank you to BookishFirst for this ARC. I’m giving this book 3.5 stars. Overall I thought this was an interesting science fiction story about an Earth-Mars relationship. The main character, Luoying, tries to uncover secrets about the past and the new Martian society she has to adapt to. I enjoyed being able to really understand and learn about how Mars tries to reconnect with Earth after the war between them. But the story moves very slowly at some points making it very boring and hard to continue reading. I think the author could have achieved the same effect but with half the amount of pages. I would recommend this novel to anyone who loves a good science fiction story but doesn’t mind it it’s lengthy.