Here's a review of the fairly recently published Arabella of Mars
I noticed this book at Barnes & Noble last summer when I'd
stopped in to pick up the newest Star Wars novel. At the time
I was intrigued, but decided to wait and check it out from the
I shouldn't have waited.
I loved this book.
In fact, it was the kind of book that I didn't want to read too
quickly, because I didn't want it to end any sooner than necessary.
The introduction from inside the book jacket does a good job of
explaining the basic premise of the novel; the titular Arabella
disguises herself as a boy and goes aboard a company vessel bound for
Mars. That's not a very new idea, when it comes to nautical fiction,
but David Levine does an excellent job of developing what happens to
her once she is on board.
- I really like the characters
in this book especially young miss Arabella Ashby and Captain
- The relationship between
Captain Singh and the “captain's boy” takes its time in
developing and is very rich.
- There's lots of great
aeronautical detail, creating a fantastic yet believable
- A focus on gender expectations
of the time period (the Napoleonic era) create a lot of
entertaining and dramatic tension.
- The story has plenty of
action, too, to keep me reading.
- My one complaint is that, for
me, the point of highest dramatic tension came on page 225 out of
348. While the rest of the story still kept my interest, it
seemed a bit anti-climactic after what was one of the most
gripping scenes that I've read in a long time.
Levine introduces numerous elements to the story—Captain
Singh's background, the nature of automatons, elements of Martian
culture, hints about life on Venus, the war between England and
Napoleon's France, etc.—to provide fuel for more volumes in
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