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Mars Diaries

by Sigmund Brouwer
Series: Mars Diaries #1
121 pages, Science Fiction
Reviewed by Lily A.

A short Christian sci-fi action story for a younger audience.

Plot

Tyce Sanders was the first kid to be born on Mars, and now he thinks he may be the first kid to die there. Something is wrong with the Mars Dome’s generators, and nobody knows why. Now the oxygen is running out.

Morality

A life and death situation can bring out both the best and the worst in characters. Some people are willing to sacrifice to protect others, and some risk others’ lives to try to survive.

A man who might mean well makes some crucial and manipulative decisions without any input from those on whose behalf they are being made.

Spiritual Content

The only religion cited here is Christianity, which is presented quite vocally, with Tyce’s mother as the spokesperson.

[SPOILERS] Tyce is initially resistant to his mother’s faith, putting his attitude down to being raised among scientists, and believing only in what can be measured — although it seems he may also have a personal chip on his shoulder. He softens late in the book, having been emotionally affected by his experiences. [END SPOILERS]

Violence

The colony is, for most of the book, at risk of death by asphyxiation. A character was injured by a botched childhood operation. Someone loses consciousness at least twice thanks to incidents in a virtual reality system linked to his brain, and another person is electrically stunned when resisting arrest. A man is repeatedly pinched to keep him awake in an emergency. A plastic wall is collapsed and a wheelchair overturned during a robbery.

Drug and Alcohol Content

None, unless you count smelling salts.

Sexual Content

None in the reader’s view. All colonists, Christian and otherwise, seem to see marriage as a prerequisite for raising children. There has been exactly one child born in the colony in the past fourteen years. If there’s been anything going on since then, the main character doesn’t know.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

None.

Conclusion

This is not the most riveting or psychologically nuanced book I've read recently, but it has a fairly interesting scenario and a neat conclusion to the primary plot arc. There is a good deal of action, and the spirituality is Christian. Readers whose ages are close to the book’s intended audience may enjoy it as a clean sci-fi adventure with an optimistic ending.

Fun Score: 3.5
Values Score: 5
Written for Age: 11-12

Review Rating:

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