From launch day to Mars and beyond, this is what it takes to travel the stars.
The space-race has reached new heights in Do You Dream of Terra-Two by Temi Oh. With the advent of the technology that makes space exploration even easier, the UK takes four space veterans and six highly-trained and somewhat ambitious teenagers and launches them into a journey to reach the next world. With Earth dying and nowhere else to turn, those six teenagers are chosen from a pool of hundreds at exclusive Dalton Academy, from thousands who applied at 14 to be astronauts and have lived for nothing else their whole, short lives.
We follow these astronauts as they face the reality of leaving everything and everyone they know behind and put faith in their training and their experienced teachers – even when it all falls apart and they have no one but themselves to turn to. It leaves no-one unchanged.
Temi Oh has magnificently laid out the tale of what it takes to launch into space. The emotions are real and palpable as we follow the astronauts from recruitment day to launch, and then to Mars and beyond. The characters are flawed, with the hopes and ambitions of the young amplified by their incredible skills and knowledge that would otherwise make them foreign to the average reader.
The magic with which they are brought to life is based on the excellent depth with which Oh writes, leaving just enough to the imagination that the reader is able to bring these characters to life without having it all laid before them. My biggest gripe lay with the pace of the novel, but in order for the magic to take place, the reader must be given time and space to absorb all the information that is being given to them. In this way, the most frustrating components of the story are made essential and the excellent storytelling and editing has left this novel a work of art that must be enjoyed in its entirety.
Lovers of sci-fi, space travel and science as a whole will embrace this novel. However, while the science is strong and the technicality is there, there is a large amount of emotional storytelling that may turn off pure sci-fi readers. Whilst not a romantic tale, there are also some dark and heavy themes that may be too much for younger readers. I would recommend it for older teens and young adults, especially given its length.
Reviewed by Zoe Butler
Distributed by: Simon & Schuster Australia
Released: March 2019
RRP: $35.00 hardcover, $12.99 eBook