5 stars, Book Review, extinction event, Hugo Award Winner, lady astronaut, Mars, Mary Robinette Kowal, Moon, Nebula Award Winner, sci fi, series, space program
About The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Earth is coming to the boiling point as the climate disaster of the Meteor strike becomes more and more clear, but the political situation is already overheated. Riots and sabotage plague the space program. The IAC’s goal of getting as many people as possible off Earth before it becomes uninhabitable is being threatened.
Elma York is on her way to Mars, but the Moon colony is still being established. Her friend and fellow Lady Astronaut Nicole Wargin is thrilled to be one of those pioneer settlers, using her considerable flight and political skills to keep the program on track. But she is less happy that her husband, the Governor of Kansas, is considering a run for President.
Review of The Relentless Moon
In The Relentless Moon, the gist of the story is more of a thriller, making it a slight departure from the previous two books in the series. Bad things are happening to the space program, astronauts and related property and people. One or two incidents may be written off as maintenance needs, or accidents. But when the events start to pile up on the moon after Nicole Wargin arrives, the Lady Astronaut becomes a detective. Power outages, de-humidifiers not working, even an outbreak of a crippling illness may all tie back to the Earth First agenda.
Nicole is over 50 years old, making her one of the oldest protagonists I’ve read about recently. She also has arthritis and is anorexic. Throughout the story, Nicole’s flaws affect her. And the love for her husband, who is still on earth, is always on her mind. But her experience and wisdom and her old hat ways give her insights the younger astronauts and colonists do not have. As the wife of a politician, she is also calm, cool and collected. Nicole will use that wisdom to stop the terrorists.
There is a lot going on in this book. In addition to the suspense plot, there is the ongoing story of Earth reaching out into space to find a new home because Earth is doomed. Like the first two books in the series, The Relentless Moon also tackles issues of racism and sexism. Nicole’s anorexia is an important part of her character as is her status as a senior astronaut. The author’s views on society are not hard to figure out.
When Earth Firsters cause a riot, this line comes up. “They say that they’re protesting your policies, and then go after an innocent shopkeeper. It’s just and excuse for looting.” Hmmm. I’ve had my advance copy of this book for several months, so I know the author was not citing current events. But hmmm.
There is also a great passage where Nicole explains what a poor taste it is to joke about possible spousal abuse if a woman had a bandage on her face.
To offset the societal issues, there are plenty of good things going on. In the end, it is an uplifting story that I would recommend to anyone.
(Possible spoiler here if you have not read The Fated Sky.) There was an especially touching passage marking the death of one of the Mars astronauts. It ended with “They would never hang in silence as they orbited the Moon with him, worshipping at the same altar. “ The love of flying, planes or rockets, sings through the pages in so many ways.
The Relentless Moon takes place in the same time period as The Fated Sky. I think the books can be read in either order. There a possibility of spoilers regardless of what order you read them. For me, knowing some of the events that were to occur in The Relentless Moon, did not spoil it in any way.
I signed up for a giveaway and was rewarded with an advance copy of this book. Thanks to the publisher!
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