From Publishers Weekly
The workmanlike sequel to 2008's Marsbound
continues the adventures of red planet colonist Carmen The Mars Girl Dula and her pilot husband, Paul Collins, as they set out on a deep space mission to save humankind from possible annihilation. After barely surviving the first encounter with an alien Other, Earth's leaders decide to send a ship with seven envoys after the Other's craft in a possibly suicidal attempt to reach the Other's home world and forge some kind of understanding. During the 6½-year voyage, the crew comes to some startling realizations concerning humankind and its place in the stars. Reminiscent of Asimov's early work and Heinlein's juvenile novels, the naïve tone, two-dimensional characters, and simplistic story line make for a fast-paced but unremarkable read. (Jan.)
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Haldeman’s Marsbound (2008) introduced Carmen Dula, an impish teenager who migrated with her family to Mars and stumbled across honest-to-god Martians living under the planet’s surface. By that novel’s end, it was clear that the Martians are pawns of the Others, a remote, alien race that regards humans as a pestilence deserving extermination. As the story continues, Carmen joins a team of five other humans and two Martians on a six-year, interstellar journey to the Others’ homeworld in a desperate effort to forge a truce. Their spacecraft is a well-stocked minimansion embedded inside a comet harnessed to an engine running on a mysterious, Others-derived energy source. En route, Carmen and company do their best to stave off boredom while speculating whether the Others will offer greetings or simply annihilate them. Yet when they arrive far sooner than expected, the astonishing surprise the Others actually have in store for them is something no one had anticipated. Haldeman’s crisp storytelling and juicy plot twists keep us captivated throughout. --Carl Hays