Second grade teacher Penny Wanjiru encourages her students to follow their dreams, so when the surprising opportunity for Penny to become a Mars Colony astronaut comes her way, she knows she must follow her dream. It is not a cut and dry decision, however, as Penny’s grandmother (who she’s quite close to) is having health issues.
It isn’t giving anything away to say that Penny will make the decision to go and she’ll have her students in mind the entire time and have regular video chats with them and answer questions and share with them what she experiences.
I’ve read and review a couple of Cidney Swanson books previously and I really like her writing. She’s one of the few self-published authors whose work is outstanding and I’m not sure why her books haven’t been picked up by a commercial publisher yet.
Most of Swanson’s books are YA books with strong young female protagonists, This book technically isn’t a YA book, but it’s about as close as you can get and not be YA – Penny comes across as a very young teacher and she experiences things with a very open and fresh viewpoint – the way a lot of YA characters might.
In some ways this is almost a precursor to Swanson’s Saving Mars series because this takes place in the near future, with Mars having recently been colonized and now about to have its first ‘tourist.’
One of the really nice things about this (and Swanson’s other books that I’ve read [I’ve read more than I’ve rated and reviewed]) is that it’s ‘clean.’ Swanson shows that we can get solid, character-driven science fiction with plenty of excitement and we don’t need rampant sex or massive fights where thousands of people die. We can get a good story and strong characters through good writing. In the mystery genre, there is something called a ‘cozy’ mystery in which sex and violence occur off stage, the detective is an amateur sleuth, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community.
This would be the equivalent in science fiction and/or YA. A ‘cozy’ sci-fi.
I enjoyed this and I plan to read more, but this really reminds me that I want to finish Swanson’s Saving Mars series first, then finish the Rippler series and then the Payback Society books before I get any more invested in this series.
Looking for a good book? So Dark the Sky by Cidney Swanson is a delightful sci-fi book (first in a new series) that’s just barely a step above being a YA novel, and is maybe a prequel to her popular Saving Mars series.
* * * * * *
So Dark the Sky
author: Cidney Swanson
series: Shadow of Mars #1
publisher: Independently Published
paperback, 215 pages