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July 19, 2016 • Cee • Reviews

Arabella of Mars1

Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine • July 12, 2016 • Tor Books
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Ever since Newton witnessed a bubble rising from his bathtub, mankind has sought the stars. When William III of England commissioned Capt. William Kidd to command the first expedition to Mars in the late 1600s, they proved that space travel was both possible and profitable.

Now, one century later, a plantation in the flourishing British colony on Mars is home to Arabella Ashby. A tomboy who shares her father’s deft hand with complex automatons. Being raised on the Martian frontier by her Martian nanny, Arabella is more a wild child than a proper young lady. Something her mother plans to remedy with a move to an exotic world Arabella has never seen: London, England.

Arabella soon finds herself trying to navigate an alien world until a dramatic change in her family’s circumstances forces her to defy all conventions in order to return to Mars in order to save both her brother and the plantation. To do this, Arabella must pass as a boy on the Diana, a ship serving the Mars Trading Company with a mysterious Indian captain who is intrigued by her knack with automatons. Arabella must weather the naval war between Britain and France, learning how to sail, and a mutinous crew if she hopes to save her brother from certain death.


I received this book for free from Tor Books for review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

First sentence: “Arabella eased her bedroom door open and crept into the dark hallway.”

Mars is home for Arabella Ashby. Not this London, England her mother has forced her to move to. She could be roaming the Mars frontier or fiddling with automatons at her family’s plantation, instead she’s learning to be a proper young lady in London at her mother’s urgings and suffocating under all the expectations and rules.

With threats to her brother’s life and plantation on Mars, Arabella runs off to save her brother. On her way to Mars, she disguises herself as a boy to get back; she joins the Diana, a ship from the Mars Trading Company, and learns how to work on a ship and navigate; she encounters dangers like French privateers and mutiny that she never flinches at. Arabella’s on a journey of a lifetime to Mars.

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