Book Review: One Day on Mars by Travis S. Taylor

I was introduced to Travis S. Taylor thanks to his work with John Ringo. He had co-written Vorpal Blade with Ringo, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Let me start out with what I really liked: I loved the setting. The idea of a Mars rebellion against US rule mirrored the Revolutionary War perfectly. I also loved that the science was sound. Given Taylor’s physicist past it makes sense.

S950226enator Moore was an interesting character, and I would have liked him to be more developed before putting him in a scenario like this. Sure, the character was explored as he went on and the events shaped how we perceived him, but background to his character was thrown in randomly as he went on.

Another character I really liked was BIL, the garbage hauler. He was interesting and endearing, and I feel like he could have been used better. Ultimately, he was a fun addition to a story riddled with characters.

 

Unfortunately, there was a lot I didn’t like.

The Separatists were painted more as terrorists than anything, and did inhumane and barbaric acts in order for the reader to have a clear sense of what was right or wrong. Shades of grey would have been more interesting, but sometimes it’s not important. Here, it was glaringly obvious and missing. The ending sort of explained why, but not really and felt tacked on.

That also brings me to something I didn’t like: the main enemy General Ahmi. She was wholly undeveloped and mostly uninteresting. I hope she’s developed more in the later books, but in this one she was an “insert bad guy character here”.

Also long stretches of action in the bellies of the carriers kind of halted the story and felt extraneous. I didn’t find them interesting and felt like all the good stuff was missing in those stretches.

 

If it feels like I’m being harsh it’s because Vorpal Blade was so good to me. I can lend it to One Day being a solo venture, and most likely Taylor will improve in the later stories. Also I should note my version had several spelling errors and grammatical issues. I’m not a stickler for that stuff, but it does hit me when I’m reading a book that should have gone through editing.

All in all I would recommend this book, especially if you love what Baen cooks up for military science fiction. It was a good book, but could have been great.

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