I'm thrilled to have the Last Day on Mars Blog Tour stopping by today with my review, a deleted scene from the book, and signed book giveaway...
LAST DAY ON MARS
(THE CHRONICLE OF THE DARK STAR #1)
by Kevin Emerson
February 14, 2017
Walden Pond Press, an imprint of HarperCollins
Source: ARC from pub for review
It is Earth Year 2213—but, of course, there is no Earth anymore. Not since it was burned to a cinder by the sun, which has mysteriously begun the process of going supernova far sooner than anyone expected.
The human race has fled to Mars, but this was only a temporary solution while preparing for a second trip: a 150-year journey to Aaru-5, a distant star, humanity’s best guess at a good spot for a new home.
Liam Saunders-Chang is one of the last humans left on Mars. The son of two scientists who have been racing against time to create technology to ensure humanity’s survival, Liam, along with his friend Phoebe, will be on the last starliner to depart before Mars, like Earth before it, is destroyed.
Or so he thinks. Because before the last day on Mars is over, Liam and Phoebe will make a series of profound discoveries about the nature of time and space and find out that the human race is just one of many in the universe locked in a dangerous struggle for survival. Kevin Emerson has written the first book in an ambitious space epic—a powerful, emotional, pulse-pounding story of the final days of humanity’s first home beyond Earth, and the desperate search for another.
Advance praise for LAST DAY ON MARS:
“Enigmatic enemies, sabotage, space travel, and short, bone-wracking bits of time travel make for a banging adventure.” Kirkus Reviews (Starred)
“Last Day on Mars is thrillingly ambitious and imaginative. Like a lovechild of Gravity and The Martian, it's a rousing space opera for any age, meticulously researched and relentlessly paced, that balances action, science, humor, and most importantly, two compelling main characters in Liam and Phoebe. A fantastic start to an epic new series.” —Soman Chainani, New York Times bestselling author of the School for Good and Evil series
“Emerson's writing explodes off the page in this irresistible space adventure, filled with startling plot twists, diabolical aliens, and (my favorite!) courageous young heroes faced with an impossible task.” —Lisa McMann, New York Times bestselling author of the Unwanteds series
It is the year 2213 and Earth is gone, swallowed by the rapidly expanding sun. Humans now live on Mars, but are departing for a distant star and hopeful home many light years away. Liam Saunders-Chang and his BFF, Phoebe, are the last kids on Mars, as they wait for their scientists parents to finish crucial work before the last fleet leaves Mars forever...but that last Mars day does not go as planned and Liam and Phoebe find themselves in epic danger, on the brink of an epic adventure, and faced with staggering revelations...like, maybe humans aren’t so alone in the universe after all.
Kevin Emerson’s Last Day on Mars is an action-packed, exciting first book in what is sure to be an epic middle-grade sci-fi series! With its edge-of-your seat actions and thrills, innovative and intriguing sci-fi elements, and engaging characters, Last Day on Mars will have young readers captivated and entertained for hours.
This is a great book for those young readers just being introduced to the sci-fi and space opera genres. All the usual elements of such stories (futuristic technology, spaceships, battles in space, aliens, out of this world adventure) are present and smartly used. The Mars colony, the Starliner Scorpius, a casino on Saturn, and the wild vastness of space, make for exhilarating settings and unforgettable scenes.
We are introduced to a slew of characters in Last Day on Mars...good guys, bad guys, and wait-and-see guys. From intrepid Liam and Phoebe to a panda shaped robot named JEFF, mysterious baddies, and potential aliens, Last Day on Mars is filled with characters to love, characters to fear, and characters who intrigue.
Young readers will love all the twists and turns the story takes, will enjoy rooting for Liam and Phoebe as their last day on Mars goes epically awry, and will be left wanting more and excited for the next book!
Deleted scene from Last Day on Mars
by Kevin Emerson
Mina leapt off the grav lift, shoving her way past the other passengers.
“Mina, wait up!” Arlo shouted from behind her.
She didn’t slow down, sprinting through the frosted doors, leaving the core behind, the tinkling of music, the splashing from the pools below, and entering into the cavernous hangar.
She slapped her black hair out of her eyes and and weaved between groups of officers, carts and trams of supplies, families looking around in wonder, and the landing gear of ships.
“Mom!” she shouted. “Dad! Liam!”
She’d been in the middle of the third song of dress rehearsal, the Gravity Minus, finally on stage preparing for their big show…. When brilliant light had flooded the windows along the side of Club Inversion.
The band had halted as a message broadcast ship-wide.
Attention Ladies and Gentlemen, the starliner will now be departing. For a last view of Mars, please direct your attention to any video screen.
Mina had checked her link pad. Only the message from Dad from about two hours ago.
We’ll be coming directly to the Starliner on a colonial transport. We should be there by noon. See you soon!
You guys here yet? She wrote back. No signal.
She tried Mom. No signal.
Tried Liam. Clicked the beacon around her neck. No and no.
She scanned the crowded hangar. She knew some of the faces, the very last arrivals, kids from school and adults from the skeleton crew that had been left down on the colony. She hopped on her toes, breathless. “Mom! Dad! Lii-am!”
“Let’s check with an officer,” Arlo suggested, panting as he finally caught up to her. He pointed to a pair standing nearby in their crisp blue suits.
Mina pushed her way over to them. “Excuse me! I’m looking for my family. I don’t think they made it on board.”
“Everyone checks in as on board,” said one of the officers.
“Can you double check? It’s my parents and brother. Gerald and Lana Saunders-Chang, and Liam.”
The officer scrolled over his list. His eyes flashed up at her.
Mina’s belly flooded with adrenaline. “What?”
The officer looked past her. “General!”
An older man in a gray uniform came over. “What is it, officer?”
The officer glanced at Mina again, then held his pad for the general to see.
The general looked at her too. He took off his gray hat. “Are you Mina?”
“Yes,” Mina said quietly.
“I’m afraid your parents were part of the team at the Phase Two field station…”
“There was an accident. The station was destroyed, along with their transport ship.”
“No,” said Mina. Her vision dimmed, her heart racing and stopping all at once, a feeling like the weightlessness of the space elevators. Arlo wrapped his arms around her.
“I’m sorry,” said the general. “The explosion was so big, we saw it from orbit. And the transport team’s ship was confirmed as destroyed.”
“But you have to check,” she said, the words numb, like someone else was saying them. “You have to be sure, you…”
“Ma’am, we are sure. And we need to move before this next solar storm hits.”
“Look, I’ve got a ship full of people who are alive and need to be shielded.” He rubbed her shoulder. “I’m so sorry, but we’re leaving.”
Mina pushed Arlo away. “No,” she said, shaking her head. “This isn’t happening…” Tears ran down her cheeks. Her breath felt stuck in her throat.
She felt a rumble through the ship, up her already trembling legs. The great fusion engines had started their burn. She looked to a nearby screen and saw the orange semi-circle of Mars shrinking, becoming a sphere.
And then a green light blinked.
Mina looked down. The beacon around her neck. She grabbed it and pressed the button.
It flashed back at her again.
“Wait!” she shouted, leaving Arlo and sprinting after the general. “They’re alive! Wait!”
The general turned. He looked at her like she was crazy, another headache in a day full of them. “I know it’s hard to accept—“
“No! This beacon… my brother has the other one! It just blinked back! He’s alive!”
The general peered at the beacon like he couldn’t comprehend it.
It blinked again.
“You see?” Mina shook the beacon at him. “That’s from my brother! They’re alive down there!”
The general sighed, heavy and slow. He looked at the monitor. Mars already a bright dot.
Kevin Emerson is the author of The Fellowship for Alien Detection as well as the Exile series, the Atlanteans series, the Oliver Nocturne series, and Carlos is Gonna Get It. He is also an acclaimed musician who has recorded songs for both children and adults. A former K-8 science teacher, Kevin lives with his family in Seattle. Visit him online at www.kevinemerson.net
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