Wow. I feel like I've been waiting for this book for forever, and I finished it within about twelve hours of obtaining it. I refuse to feel guilty, though, because I just got through a week of hell and this was a nice mini-vacation.
Things What Made Me Happy
- Kit drawing nekkid ladies in his history notes
- Nita being harassed by the koi
- The Kit’n’Ronan’n’Darryl Show. “You sure physics lets you do that?” “Giant robot scorpions. Why is it always giant robot scorpions?” “We had tv shows like this back home on Saturday afternoons when I was little. This is the part where I always hid behind the couch.” “You two should do stand-up.” Ronan and Darryl are awesome together! I totally called it!
- Nita and Marvin the Martian.
- Rafting is real-canon now! Time to dig out that old “Who Carl Knew Who Endured Something Worse Than Death, and How It Related to Atlantis” fic that’s been gathering dust on my hard drive for eons and get to work.
- “Your idea of physical intimacy is punching Kit in the shoulder!”
- Helena’s Young Wizards as told by DC and Marvel schtick. Kit goes bamf! (Nightcrawler totally has Latin Gallantry too. Or German Gallantry. Whatever.)
- Again with the last-line, Duane? Whatever, I’ll take it. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.
Things What Made Me Sad
- Peaccchhhhh. She’s been dead and gone for six books now, and she’s still keeping Nita out of trouble.
- Ponch’s leash. *sniff* I’m not crying. Really.
- No Lone Power, and no Champion either. I know it got covered in the Seniors Explain It All section, but I missed the bastard and the bitch.
Things What Made Me Confused
- Darryl’s sudden and distressing descent into jive. He pulls out of it, but for a while there it was a little what is this I don't even.
- Ronan saying he’s too old for Carmela. I know, the first rule of the timeline is you don’t talk about the timeline, but I’ve always worked under the impression that Carmela’s older than Nita, and Ronan kissed Nita last summer, about a year ago, so yeah.
- Dairine’s still only eleven? Wow.
- The fashion. Ronan, of course, will be in black jeans and t-shirts until time ends, and that’s as it should be, but Carmela knotting a baggy tee into something MORE fashionable? Nita lounging in a crop top? Please, Duane, I beg you, if you must describe the clothes of teenagers, look at the clothes of teenagers. No one has worn crop tops or knotted t-shirts for about a decade now.
I wasn't really sure whether I was going to like this when I started reading. The plot, as given on the dust jacket, took a long time to come to a boil, with a lot of digressions into the history of how the people of Earth have seen Mars. In the end, though, the payoff was incredible. To me, this wasn't so much about Mars as about the stories we tell, to ourselves and to others, and the ways they change and repeat. Earthlings tell ourselves stories about the people of the Red Planet, each wrong and right in their own ways; Two lovers from a dead world dance out Romeo and Juliet with a few key changes; Nita faces down Aurilelde in a showdown that reminded me a lot of the end of Tam Lin. Stories are important.
It's not just the big stories, either; a big theme in this book was justifying your own actions to yourself and to others. I use "justifying" purposefully, because if you're telling a story, you're trying to convince someone, and you may not always be in the right. Each of the YW books has ratcheted up the moral greyness as a part of growing up; this book definitely fit that trend. I may have liked to have seen the Lone Power and the Champion again, but the book would have suffered for it.