The Relentless Moon – Mary Robinette Kowal

Mary Robinette Kowal has done it again and written another thrilling, thought-provoking Lady Astronaut novel. While the two previous installments, The Calculating Stars and The Fated Sky have focused on the original Lady Astronaut herself, Elma York, The Relentless Moon takes place on Earth and on the Moon during the events of The Fated Sky and revolves around Nicole Wargin, another of the first female astronauts.

I’ve loved these books ever since I first came across them, so I was so happy to be able to read The Relentless Moon early. I devoured it in just a few sittings – these novels really have kindled a flame for smart science-fiction in me. Many thanks to Tor and Netgalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

RELEASE DATE: 14/07/20

STAR RATING: 4.5/5 ✶

SUMMARY: 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. (from Tor Books)

OPINIONS: The Lady Astronaut novels are some of the smartest novels I know. They don’t focus on heavy action like many other science fiction novels, but on the wits of their characters, and damn, are those ladies clever. Elma York has been charming the world for a while, and Nicole Wargin, so far taking a back seat to the original Lady Astronaut, proves in The Relentless Moon that she doesn’t have to hide in her more famous colleague’s shadow.

The Relentless Moon deals with sensitive topics such as eating disorders, racism and grief in nuanced ways, without seeming preachy or letting characters get away with preconceived notions. As I am not an own voices reviewer for any of the above I can only say that I think it is nuanced and confronts the character’s views and naiveté.

These novels are heavily character driven, which I love. There are no one-dimensional people here, everyone has their personality and motives, aims and backstory. Not everything has space to be explored on the page, but it is clear that it is there, and that so much thought has been put into it. And I’m not talking about main characters here, I mean minor characters that only show up in one or two scenes. The level of craft Mary Robinette Kowal exhibits is immense. I can’t wait to read more – the plot is twisty and compelling, and just as good!

If you haven’t given this series a shot yet – whether you usually like science fiction or not – do try it! Add The Relentless Moon on Goodreads here, and order a copy from your retailer of choice, such as Book Depository here.

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