Arabella of Mars by David Levine

arabellaSet in 1812, Arabella is a young woman who has grown up on Mars but now is expected to marry and live the life of a society woman in England.  That doesn’t go over so well, and Arabella is desperate for the freedoms she enjoyed as a child.  When her brother’s life is threatened, she needs to get to Mars in a hurry.  She disguises herself as a boy and signs on to serve on the fastest trading ship.

What you get in this book is a mix of alternate history, science fiction, and nautical adventure.  I enjoyed it thoroughly.  Arabella is a strong character and really develops as part of the ship’s crew.

I found one thing off-putting in this book.  Arabella falls for the Captain, and the way Levine writes about this felt really inconsistent with her character, who would never get all drippy about anything else, and wouldn’t risk exposing her identity, when this trip is her one chance to save her brother.  Levine develops a strong friendship between Arabella and the Captain, which I appreciated.  But this book made me think that this is how men think women fall in love (e.g., getting gushy about someone’s face or their physique) when in fact I think a strong, smart woman like Arabella would fall in love in a very different way (think Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice, who comes to love Darcy for his character, not his chest).

You’ll need a little suspension of disbelief with this book, beginning with the idea that the British have colonized Mars in the 1700’s.  Arabella is at times way too capable, and you might find her ability to pass as a boy on a ship unrealistic, although I thought Levine explored that aspect of the story really thoughtfully (even describing her experiences in the head).

This a fun book with lots of action, adventure, and a strong character.  I love a book that melds genres (nautical fiction, Regency fiction, science fiction) and this book suited me perfectly.  It’s just right if you’re looking for a light, entertaining read.

4 Comments on “Arabella of Mars by David Levine

  1. I have been wanting to read this for ages. The premise is amazing. I’m obsessed with 19th century sailing ships and putting them in space is brilliant (and beautiful). The woman-dressed-as-man trope never gets old. Regency Era England + Space can’t go wrong. Anyway, glad to hear you liked it:)! I need to get to it sooner rather than later…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Ayundabhuwana's Blog

Books. Movies. Travel.

The Chocolate Lady's Book Review Blog

For mostly adult, literary, historical, contemporary, biographical, and women's fiction.

It's A Reading Thing

Lets chat about all things bookish!

Things As They Are

Life, literature, music, food & nature. Put the kettle on ...

A Little Nerd Told Me

Book reviews by an unapologetic Trekkie obsessed with dogs and books


Reader and Reviewer

Novels & Teacups

reading, reviewing, tea drinking

Chasing the Four Winds

Reading, Writing, Nerding, and Honoring the Oxford Comma Since 1987.

What Cathy Read Next...

For book lovers everywhere


Books any time any day.

Only Good Books

Recommended by Sarah Tantillo

%d bloggers like this: