Hello Humans! I’m thrilled to be reviewing book three in Victor Dixen’s Phobos series, Collision is the follow on from Ascension and Distortion. In case those titles don’t ring a bell, let me remind you that book one was largely promoted on the basis that it was ‘Love Island in space’. Normally that would be enough to make me run for the hills but I was persuaded to read not only the first book but the second as well. This was absolutely a lesson in ‘don’t necessarily believe all the marketing’ because while Ascension is fairly so-so, the plot building throughout Distortion is so much more than that. I was, unsurprisingly, pretty excited to find out what happens next in book three!
The third book in a heart-stopping, high-octane new space series.
The Genesis Programme reality TV show has brought twelve young astronauts to Mars, to face unprecedented hostility. An even greater danger is now threatening Earth, but the viewers are too glued to their screens and the rescue mission to see what is really happening.
Leonor is ready to risk everything to bring out the truth and warn the world. She can never admit defeat – but can she fight her last fight alone?
I personally feel that the beauty of these books is in their superficial setting that gives way to much more difficult issues. If you’re pitching this series the first thing you might say is ‘Oh it’s a speed dating show but they’re on their way to Mars’ and you all laugh at where the world has come to. But, the thing is, not only is that premise entirely plausible in a world where nigh on everything is a reality TV show anyway (if you’ve never watched The Great Pottery Throw Down do yourself a favour and look it up), but equally this series genuinely tackles with some really difficult themes and ideas within the framework of this fairly vapid TV show. Now that we’re at book three the romantic side of the story is almost relegated to being a subplot, while the real story is about trying to survive and maintain your humanity, whether you’re on Mars facing the elements or on Earth facing an equally dangerous threat of a far more human nature.
This book, I believe, is a bit longer than the previous books in this series, certainly, there’s a lot to pack in and a number of different perspectives. I will say that it is gripping throughout, I never felt like I was dying to get to the end as I was genuinely interested in or invested in all of the viewpoints. Having that view of both sides of the…galaxy(?) definitely helps to bring all the viewpoints into a broader perspective and helps to take this away from the romantic teen-angst novel I might have originally expected.
There are some moments where I personally felt like some of the dialogue felt a little overwrought. Times when I thought the characters might be deemed a little too dramatic – but you know, they’re the ones stuck on an alien planet facing the continuous prospect of death, perhaps I can allow them the right to be a bit more poetic than normal?
This also feels like a book with a good amount of science behind it. It isn’t like some science fiction, the kind that tries to give you a physics lesson while you go. I have no idea how accurate or implausible the science in this book might have been, it certainly seemed believable while reading it and the diagrams and illustrations are a fun addition, making the whole thing have more of a realistic feel – helping with that whole ‘unrealistic premise’ issue. So, physics whizzes feel free to correct me if this is, in fact, the most ludicrous pseudo-science that has ever been, but I wouldn’t have said this was a book you read for the science…?
My one criticism is something of a spoiler…which I don’t want to go into here as I want this review to be spoiler-free. Let’s just say that a character reveals something and the reaction from the characters is less than wonderful and then I didn’t feel like that was addressed or challenged particularly well. I would have liked to see some better representation and it was a big part of why this wasn’t a five star read for me.
This was a wonderfully varied and still punchy finish to a series that truly surpassed any and all of my expectations. If you read the synopsis for book one and thought ‘well that sounds silly’ then you’d be totally right, but this book does a wonderful job of spinning a slightly ridiculous story into something beyond global, something that is simultaneously a comment on humanity as a whole and also a deeply personal look at the stories of several individuals and the choices they take throughout these four books. Yes it is silly, yes it is incredibly YA, but there’s something at the core of it that really hits home.
My rating: 4/5 stars
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, all opinions are my own.
Collision is available now!
What say you? Have you read the Phobos series? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!