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review 2018-06-18 03:31
Review: Before Mars
Before Mars - Emma Newman

Third book in the series, and each is great in a totally different way. This one takes place concurrent to After Atlas, but instead of detective story, this is a psychological thriller where a protagonist fears her paranoia, but keeps finding reasons to mistrust the world around her. 


Once again, having not read the previous books wouldn't be an issue. There's some stuff at the end that would be quite obvious if you've read After Atlas, but the tension works either way. 


This is just such a great series. 

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review 2018-05-27 18:28
Not what I expected from the second book and totally delighted
After Atlas (Planetfall Novel, A) - Emma Newman

If Planetfall was sci-fi that read as lit-fic, After Atlas was sci-fi that read as a straight up murder mystery. I really didn’t expect that kind of a shift, but if anything, I think I liked this book even more because I’m a sucker for a good mystery.


At the beginning, it seems like After Atlas is only tangentally connected to the first book. Forty years ago the main character’s mother left him and his father to go into space with the resulting tale of book 1. And while the effects on those left behind come into play, this book could be read on its own and still enjoyed.


Newman continues her exploration of the themes of loss and grief in this book. While Carlos doesn’t believe he was shaped by his mother’s departure, having only been a baby with no memory of her, the deeper he goes into this journey, the more he is forced to confront the choices and mindset that have led him to this point.


I couldn’t put the book down. There was a lyrical beauty to the writing that reminded me of one of my favourite mystery authors, Tana French. Both are so specific and evocative with the minutae of environment and both force their MCs up against painful revelations they’ve tried hard to deny.


Even if sci-fi isn’t your thing, pick up After Atlas if you enjoy a riveting mystery.

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review 2018-05-20 16:54
Not what I expected
Planetfall - Emma Newman

There was so much grief and loss permeating this book that it became this palpable living entity I found myself needing to understand. And the revelations around it are doled out as slowly as the mystery around why the newcomer to this society has the potential to unleash deeply buried secrets.


It created a pressure cooker where I was desperate for each new glimpse into the backstory of both Ren and what had happened when they first landed. The slow pace of this unravelling worked because the day-to-day insights of this society were compelling enough on their own.


Ren was an excellent character not often portrayed in the sci-fi I’ve read: queer, a person of colour, and struggling with a compulsive disorder. While I found her hugely sympathetic, there was always an emotional distance from her which worked for me, as it fed into the tone as a whole of never being able to relax enough and know what was going on.


My only hesitation around the book is the ending. I’d like to trust that this is all part of Newman’s “big picture” plan, however book two seems to focus on an entirely different character. However, I am going to continue the series because I am still very happy to be led through this world.

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review 2018-05-11 01:18
After Atlas by Emma Newman (audiobook)
After Atlas - Emma Newman

Series: Planetfall #2


After Atlas takes place in the same universe as Planetfall and references the mission in that book but is otherwise an independent and standalone story. This is basically a story about the people who were left behind when Atlas left Earth but it's also a murder mystery because the son of one of the women who left is now a detective for the Ministry of Justice.


Andrew Kingston's narration is great and the story is too. :)

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review 2018-05-01 00:06
Planetfall by Emma Newman (audiobook)
Planetfall - Emma Newman

If you want some explanations, it's probably best to read my original review. To sum up: strange abandoned alien city on alien planet; the human expedition to check it out has formed a colony at its base.


The few weaknesses I experienced the first time around didn't bother me at all this time. Maybe it was the audio? Emma Newman's reading makes it all seem wonderful and natural. And I feel she handles Ren's anxiety very well. I loved seeing the colony through Ren's eyes. I also had a slightly different take on the characters this time around.


I know some people aren't all that fussed about this book, but I think it's awesome.


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