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September 3, 2018

The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal ~ An @Audible_com Review #MondayBlogs

by Donna Huber



I was so thrilled when I finished The Calculating Stars (read my review) that I only had to wait a few days until the release of the book 2 in the Lady Astronaut series, The Fated Sky, came out. Now I'm sad because I finished it and it was so incredibly good that I didn't want it to end.
Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free audiobook was provided by Audible for an honest review.


The Fated Sky
August 2018; Tor Books; 978-0765398949
ebook, audio (10hrs 14mins), print (384 pages)
science fiction, alternate history
I really loved The Calculating Stars and I was really hoped that The Fated Sky would live up to my expectations. If possible I loved The Fated Sky even more and it blew all my expectations out of the water.  I know I still have the novella to read, but then that's it. I don't know if there are more books planned in this series. I really hope there are.

The Lady Astronaut series is an alternate history story set in the late 1950s, early 1960s. In the first book, a meteor hits earth and it accelerates the space race. They land on the moon a decade before we actually did. Because of the rapid climate change (which people want to deny) caused by the meteor, a new planet to live on it needed. The moon is just the first step; Mars is the target. In book 2, they are attempting the first trip to Mars.

While the space program is the backdrop, there is a lot of commentary on civil rights and women's rights. Because of the population decimation, the space program is international and it adds a different perspective than typical stories dealing with civil rights in the U.S.

In book 1 there was a large cast of characters, but in book 2 it is narrowed down to about 7 or 8 as it is almost totally set on one of the ships headed to Mars. This smaller cast really throws light on the racial and gender relations at that time. I liked that there is a South African included on the ship as their racial discrimination during apartheid rivaled our own issues.

Elma, the lady astronaut, is again thrust into the spotlight as the space program needs public and political support if they are ever going to establish a functioning colony on Mars. I have to say Nathaniel is the most understanding and super sweet husband. He bought a rug for their apartment because he remembered Elma had trouble with the smooth floors when she returned from the moon. And really how many husbands would have allowed their wives to take a 3 year trip to Mars? Husbands wouldn't be thrilled about it today let alone in 1961.

I still loved Elma and Nathaniel, but in The Fated Sky, I found myself really wanting to get to know the other characters. I wanted their stories and thoughts. With the smaller cast, each character plays a larger role than they did when there were many more characters. As Elma gets closer to her teammates, so do we the reader.

I love the universe Kowal has created. From what I know of the novella, I feel like we will get to the end of Elma's story, but I would love to see the universe continue, perhaps with another character at the focus.

I'm kind of lukewarm about the whole alternate history genre, but I have to say The Lady Astronaut series is just absolutely exceptional. If you like novels that delve into social issues through the eyes of individual characters, then this is an absolute must read.

Kowal is a voice actor and narrates the audiobooks. She is superb and I think it adds an extra depth to the characters as we hear them how the author does. I really wish the novella was available as an audiobook because this series has been so well done. I highly recommend experiencing it in audio as well.

Buy The Fated Sky at Amazon
Or get the audiobook free as part of your free trial of Audible.

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour

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