Lakes of Mars by Merritt Graves
|Lakes of Mars by Merritt Graves|
|Category: Science Fiction|
|Reviewer: Alex Mitchell|
|Summary: A brutal, emotionally charged science fiction epic, featuring a well-developed cast of characters, intense action scenes and an intriguing plot.|
|Buy? yes||Borrow? maybe|
|Pages: 494||Date: July 2019|
Aaron Sheridan doesn't want to live anymore. His entire family is dead by his own hand, killed in a shuttle crash. Unable to deal with the guilt, he signs up for the Fleet expecting a fatal deployment to the Rim War, but instead ends up at their most prestigious command school, Corinth Station. Initially, he's detached from the brutality of his instructors and the Machiavellian tactics of the other students there, but after he sticks up for his only friend he makes himself a target of the most feared cadet on the station, Caelus Erik. Unsure of whom to trust and worried that anything he does will make others on his flight team targets as well, Aaron retreats deeper and deeper inside himself. However, when he discovers that officer training is not the station's only purpose, it becomes increasingly clear that risking everything is the safest thing he can do.
Having reviewed Graves's previous book, and being thoroughly depressed by it, I was initially a little apprehensive about picking up this one. However, I was pleased to discover that this book was in fact very enjoyable and a lot less taxing than the previous one. Aaron is a lot more sympathetic and relatable than Dorian, and the setting even addresses how the AIs and nanomachines ubiquitous in Sunlight might be limited in the future, thereby averting the book's tragic ending.
The characters in the book are interesting. Our protagonist and narrator is Aaron Sheridan, a cadet recently deployed to Corinth Station. His only friend for now is Sebastian, a shy young man who happens to be a tactical genius. They are sucked into the cutthroat world of Corinth Station's politics, where various factions of students wage covert warfare against each other. On the one hand, there is a faction of students led by Brandon and Pierre, who initially befriend Aaron after warning him about an attempt on his life. They are fighting against their resident Student Officer Caelus Erik, a master manipulator and schemer, and his attack dog Lieutenant Taryn Miller. Aaron is torn between the two sides, since neither of them seem particularly trustworthy. The characters are, overall, very well-developed and show how people adapt to brutal conditions like those on Corinth Station.
The setting is very well thought out. Humanity has spread out across the galaxy, forming the Confederation, a military and economic alliance that is currently fighting against a parasitic alien race known as the Verex. As you can probably infer from the title, Mars has been successfully terraformed, while Earth is implied to be undergoing severe desertification. The Martian government uses what is known as Mylan Chips, small devices which have the ability to read the thoughts of the person they are implanted in and transmit them back to the government if they show any signs of innovation. However, interference from the nebula that Corinth Station is located in prevents the chips from working. There is definitely something sinister going on in Corinth, given the sheer negligence displayed by the command staff (students do get severely injured and die fairly frequently, and the higher-ups barely raise an eyebrow at it), as well as the large number of top scientists stationed there.
Overall, this is an intense, brutal science fiction story featuring an interesting cast of characters and an intriguing plot.
You can read more book reviews or buy Lakes of Mars by Merritt Graves at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Lakes of Mars by Merritt Graves at Amazon.com.
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