You’re Going to Mars!
Author: Rob Dircks;
Genre: Fantasy/Science Fiction;
Narrator: Khristine Hvan;
Publisher: Audible Studios (2018);
Rating: (4 / 5).
I’ve already read several of Rob Dirck’s books and loved them, so I jumped at the chance to read this one.
It’s a fun underdog story set in a future U.S. where a huge corporation has complete control over waste management. Our heroine, Paper (with sisters named Rock and Scissors), is a drudge in one of the very stinky trash cities. She has always dreamed of space travel and is smart as a whip, but her lowly position keeps her firmly on the terrestrial garbage heap. That is until a contest from the richest man on Earth gives her a chance to fulfill her destiny. Now she’s on her own and has to prove her mettle in a competition—called “You’re Going to Mars!”—for a seat to the red planet.
The book is a fantasy overall with some fun science fiction included for the geeks among us. The characters are unique and authentic and the dialog is realistic and funny, with lots of snarky remarks and sarcasm from Paper’s fellow candidates. Some of the humor was sophomoric but I laughed out loud several times. There’s also plenty of action throughout and an exciting finale.
The themes are a sort of combination of “Ready Player One” (integrity trumps environment) and “Red Rising” (if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em) with themes from “The Wizard of Oz” (there’s no place like home) and “The Hunger Games” (don’t trust your competitors) but the book is definitely for adults.
The audiobook production was excellent. As I’ve said many times, a narrator can make or break a story, and Khristine Hvam is absolutely brilliant in this one. Her pacing and attitude were perfect. The one little complaint I have is that her voice gets a little whiny at times, but it’s a small irritation compared to the whole.
Includes foul language in a modern context, no real sex, very little violence. Highly recommended in the audiobook format and for fans of Hugh Howey, Ernest Cline, Marko Kloos, Dennis E. Taylor, and John Scalzi.
Thanks to the author for offering a free copy of the audiobook, to Goodreads for the opportunity, and to Audible for the production.