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Lakes of Mars by Merritt Graves


4 Stars

Publisher: Self-published

Date of publication: September 4th, 2018

Genre: Science Fiction

Where you can find Lakes of Mars: Goodreads (will update as soon as it is available on Amazon or Barnes and Noble)

Goodreads synopsis:

Aaron Sheridan doesn’t want to live anymore. His entire family had just died in a shuttle crash and he’d been the one flying it. Unable to deal with the guilt, he signs up for the Fleet expecting a fatal deployment to the Rim War, but instead ends up at their most prestigious command school, Corinth Station.

Initially, he’s detached from the brutality of his instructors and the Machiavellian tactics of the other students there, but after he sticks up for his only friend he makes himself a target of the most feared cadet on the station, Caelus Erik. Unsure of whom to trust and worried that anything he does will make others on his flight team targets as well, Aaron retreats deeper and deeper inside himself. However, when he discovers that officer training is not the station’s only purpose, it becomes increasingly clear that risking everything is the safest thing he can do.

Contains: Strong language and some violence

My review:

I am not sure how this book ended up in my TBR. I couldn’t find the email from the author/publisher requesting a review. I also couldn’t find it on my NetGalley shelf. So mysterious. So very mysterious. But it ended up on my Kindle, I am glad that it did because it was a great read!!

Aaron is determined to kill himself. After a shuttle crash that killed his family (he was flying), he doesn’t have a reason to live. He figures the best way to do that is to sign up for the Fleet and be deployed to the Rim War. That doesn’t happen. Instead, he is sent to renown command school. The school was like nothing he had ever seen. Aaron is soon questioning everything as plots and schemes are uncovered. Unsure of who he can trust, he withdraws into himself. During that time, Aaron discovers that the station serves a double purpose. Gathering the few people he can trust, Aaron decides that he needs to risk everything to expose what is going on.

I felt bad for Aaron. The guilt he was living with was unbearable. He needed someone, other than his best friend, to tell him that the accident wasn’t his fault. And therapy. He needed tons of that. As the book went on, I did question if he was reading into things wrong. The author did a fantastic job at making me, the reader, question Aaron’s sanity. I did think that he was losing it at one point in the book. His dreams were creepy. It was after Sebastian’s death that I stopped questioning Aaron’s sanity. I then started questioning what the heck was going on at that station. I also felt that he showed true courage at the end of the book.

I loved the science fiction angle of the Lake of Mars. I had no issue imagining Mars being terraformed or people colonizing it. Same with Saturn. I was fascinated with what was going on in the station and where the other cadets were from. Even the lessons taught were fascinating. Why? Because I had no issue picturing it actually happening.

What I didn’t care for was the violence exhibited in the book. Aaron and the other cadet whaled on each other. That played a big part of Aaron’s distrust of everyone. How can you trust people who turn on you? Even the instructors were in on it.

There is drug use in this book also. I was a little disturbed at how easily the kids in the book were able to get drugs and use them. The adults running the station turned their heads or contributed to it. There was an explanation about why the adults didn’t do anything and it disgusted me. Talk about self-serving.

The end of the book was insane and bloody. I wasn’t expecting what happened to happen when the shuttle landed. I also wasn’t expecting what was revealed when things were out in the open. My mouth dropped. Talk about a plot twist. It came out of nowhere. I was as stunned as Aaron was. I am hoping that the author will be writing a book 2. The end of the book made me think that.

I gave Lake of Mars a 4-star rating. This was a well-written book with relatable characters. I did have an issue with the violence in the book as well as the drug use. But other than that, I enjoyed reading the book.

I would give Lake of Mars an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is some quick kissing scenes but nothing that raised my eyebrows. There is violence. Some of it graphic. There is language. There are trigger warnings. They are drug use, extreme violence, the death of parents. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Lake of Mars. I would also recommend this book to family and friends. I would include a mention of the triggers.

I would like to thank the mysterious person who put this book on my Kindle for allowing me to read and review Lakes of Mars.

All opinions stated in this review of Lakes of Mars are mine.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

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