Before Mars

The Planetfall Series, Book 3
Narrated by: Emma Newman
Series: Planetfall, Book 3
Length: 12 hrs
4.5 out of 5 stars (143 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

After months of travel, Anna Kubrin finally arrives on Mars for her new job as a geologist and de facto artist-in-residence. Already she feels like she is losing the connection with her husband and baby at home on Earth - and she'll be on Mars for over a year.

Throwing herself into her work, she tries her best to fit in with the team. But in her new room on the base, Anna finds a mysterious note written in her own handwriting, warning her not to trust the colony psychologist. A note she can't remember writing. She unpacks her wedding ring, only to find it has been replaced by a fake.

Finding a footprint in a place the colony AI claims has never been visited by humans, Anna begins to suspect that her assignment isn't as simple as she was led to believe. Is she caught up in an elaborate corporate conspiracy, or is she actually losing her mind?

Regardless of what horrors she might discover, or what they might do to her sanity, Anna has to find the truth before her own mind destroys her.

©2018 Emma Newman (P)2018 Tantor
What members say
Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
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  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Such a dissapointment

After Planet Fall and After Atlas I couldn't wait for Newman's next book. What a disappointment. Story is strained, character flat, my recommendation is skip it and hopefully she will regain her talent for the next book.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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difficult to relate to

very hard for me to relate to, deus ex machina killed some of the story.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent Read and Talented Author

This is the first book I picked up from this author and I was blown away by her writing skills and the story itself. this was a fantastic read and I'm definitely picking up more of her work.

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Great third installment

This was a satisfying third installment to the series with continued interesting development of the universe Newman has developed. The book drags at times, but there is just enough action to move it forward to another provocative conclusion. I particularly like how this book explores the relationship between humans and the AI tech embedded in Newman’s universe.

My only complaint is that the book is slightly bloated with the main character’s inner speech centering on her own perceived failings. This has been the case with all three novels in this series so far. Every main character has obsessively lingered over their own flaws, grinding away at how terrible they feel about themselves and their actions. I have no quibble with flawed protagonists—and Newman has chosen interesting flaws to give her characters. But she (or her editors) needs to ease up on the gas pedal when it comes to giving them pages and pages of repetitive inner monologues focusing on those flaws. It may seem to make her characters more realistic, but it also dulls the edge of her novels.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Book clubs look no further!

Amazing novel that dares to focus on a female character who is experiencing post partum depression and feelings about motherhood that are practically never spoken aloud, let alone dealt with in science fiction. This book is a tour de force, one of the best novels I've read all year. I hope people who don't normally read scifi pick this up, it can be read without having read the other books in the series. Would make a great book club book for any group that is looking for something meaty that will engender a great discussion.

[I listened to this as an audio book read by Emma Newman, she does a great job]

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Loved it!

Wish I would've known there where two books before this one in the series though.

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Wow, how do people write like this!

Another great read/listen. Emma is a great author as well as a superb story teller. I can't wait for book 4 to be released!

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    3 out of 5 stars

Mesmerizing... and a tad disappointing.

Newman is a unique and compelling writer. This story is intense and difficult in places simply because it is so vivid in its portrayal of real human emotion. Regardless, I was captivated from the beginning by a classic mystery set in the perfect moment in the history of her series - a moment in which we already have a clue as to the events of the future and can anticipate the way she will weave it all together for the reveal.

But the end felt ... rushed and anticlimactic, maybe even a little disorienting ... because it wasn't really a reveal at all. It had the feel of an installment story, lackluster by itself, needing something more and depending a little too much on its predecessors - and its successor. This was particularly disappointing because it was so rich with potential and depth! I'm left feeling like the narrative was clipped in the midst of its bloom and then discarded, and now it feels a little pointless in the grand scheme.

Bummer.

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in-depth characters, great plot!

the author is a very talented narrator, but even better at writing stories that really give depth to her characters. Especially love the main character here, with her struggles and Humanity. Really worth your time!

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Locked room mystery in space!

This was a phenomenal listen. Read by the author I believe she had unique ability to bring the characters to life in her direct vision. This is, like the title says, a locked room mystery so at times it can feel frustrating. Payoff at the end is great and it's a wonderful look at a purely capitalistic post-government world. Loved it!