Reviewed by Lotte:
In this sequel to The Calculating Stars earth is still failing and the time until it becomes inhabitable is advancing quickly so the colonisation of Mars becomes the main focus. Once again, Elma discovers that being a female pilot puts her at a disadvantage for the Mars expedition. So she embarks on a fight for her right to be on it and to prove herself through the training program and the expedition itself.
This book was just as good as its predecessor if not better. It was fun, heartbreaking, clever and incredibly moving at times. It showed the very real trials of being a woman in a man’s world, with the added complications of the inherent racism of that time. I felt like the characters and storyline were easy to buy into and relatable because Kowal wove in appropriate references to that era that had me feeling frustrated and rooting for righteousness to prevail. There was also the complications of a long-distance relationship, involving sacrifices made for Elma’s career again showing the intricacies of that time and the dynamics of the relationship. I felt the heartache and anger when Elma told Nathaniel about ‘the bag’. Kowal’s words were so strong and poignant in places, whilst remaining fun and exciting overall.
As in the first book, the science fiction element of this book was easy to follow, interesting and enough to make the story work without being too heavy and intricate. There was also a lot more suspension in this book so I found myself willing the science to work somehow too! This was a great instalment in this Lady Astronaut series.