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Saving Mars (Saving Mars #1)

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  599 Ratings  ·  85 Reviews
When the food supply of Mars’ human settlement is decimated, seventeen-year-old Jessamyn Jaarda, the best pilot Mars Colonial has ever seen, flies to Earth to raid for food. Earth-Mars relations couldn’t be worse, and her brother is captured during the raid. Breaking rules of secrecy and no contact, Jess finds an ally in Pavel, nephew to a government official, but their fr ...more
Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published August 3rd 2012 by Williams Press (first published July 26th 2012)
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(showing 1-30)
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Second time I’ve read this and it is still awesome! Love Jessamyn, love Pavel, and love all the twists we got thrown!

9 out of 10
Robert 'Rev. Bob'
Aug 28, 2013 Robert 'Rev. Bob' rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks-done
This reminds me of a Heinlein juvenile, in all the best ways. A bright, rebellious redheaded teen gets sent on an emergency mission because her neuro-atypical brother can't handle the trip without her, and of course things go sideways from there. I was alternately reminded of Podkayne of Mars and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and that's pretty fine company.

There are some interesting social and scientific ideas here, and it's always fun to see Earth through the eyes of someone who's only ever kno
Dec 31, 2012 Angie rated it liked it
This is a nice old-fashioned SF coming-of-age story but a bit TOO YA for my adult taste, in the sense that it requires me to be too uncritical. It revolves around a Mars society that cannot raise any food on its own and is dependent for food on an Earth with which it cannot legally have any contact, and an Earth society that thinks everyone on Mars is dead. This Earth also has a practice where everyone is "re-bodied" into a different body (of different ages) 4 times before the end of a mandatory ...more
Laura Floyd
Jan 29, 2013 Laura Floyd rated it it was ok
I enjoyed this story, and I sort of want to know what happens next, but for some reason I feel really critical of some of the plot points.

Things I did like: I liked the idea of the Mars colonies. I liked how they were surviving, but not very well. I liked the images of what was needed to survive daily life on Mars: the walk-out suits, the ration bars, the bi-annum visits with the planetary dog. These were fun and interesting details that helped make the Marsian world realistic to me.

I also lov
Jessica (Goldenfurpro)
Actual rating: 3.5
It took me awhile to get into this book. In the beginning this book was kind of slow and confusing, but the book really picked up after that! Closer to the end, I really enjoyed this book, and if it wasn't for how long it took for me to get into this book., it would have 4 stars!

But I will most definitely be reading the next book!
(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to the lovely Cidney Swanson.)
17-year-old Jessamyn Jaarda lives on Mars with her parents and older brother Ethan. It has been nearly 2 centuries since the initiative to populate Mars began, and a lot has changed in that time. The Earth has cut Mars off, and there is a treaty in place that means that Mars is to have zero contact with Earth.
The Marsians have been unable to produce an edible food source on Ma
Jul 06, 2014 Ekaterine rated it really liked it
This book was incredible!!! And nothing at all what I expected. It was beautifully written sci-fi with excellent characters. They snuck in my heart and made themselves comfy there! I didn't even knew I cared about them so much.

Jess is not a typical MC. For one she grew up on Mars, for second she had no teen angst and "I shall doom my planet to save a boy" attitude. In those situation, I often wonder what would I do? Would I risk everyone else's safety for selfish reasons? And often I find myself
Aug 09, 2012 Ally rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, hugo-nominees

(From Word Vagabond: Supporting Independent and Small Press Authors)

When the food supply of Mars’ human settlement is decimated, seventeen-year-old Jessamyn Jaarda, the best pilot Mars Colonial has ever seen, flies to Earth to raid for food. Earth-Mars relations couldn’t be worse, and her brother is captured during the raid. Breaking rules of secrecy and no contact, Jess finds an ally in Pavel, nephew to a government official, but their friendship only makes more agonizing the choice before her:
Athena Grayson
Jun 05, 2013 Athena Grayson rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It's an action-adventure that brings to mind the same old feeling I got as a teen reading classic Anne McCaffrey and CJ Cherryh science fiction, but with just enough space-opera to keep me turning pages.

I like that the author was unafraid to go over-the-top with Earth society, and although I felt the shadow of Hunger Games with some of the Earth scenes, it didn't detract from the story. If I were a teenager, the scenes would have made perfect sense from an adventure p
Rivie Bleu
Mar 13, 2013 Rivie Bleu rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, mar-13, ebook-13, series
Originally posted on Bookshelf (full review)

It was very entertaining and I was interested from the beginning. This is a new take on dystopian novels. We get to see a new world with new characters in a place filled with love, understanding and belief that kindness saves us from destroying each other.

As always I look for the moral of the story and I found great things here. We saw characters facing their worse fears and standing up for themselves. The main character felt like she had a high respon
Dec 18, 2016 John rated it liked it
OK younger YA adventure, notable chiefly for the protagonist's "alter-abled" autistic brother. It's plain that the author knows more about autism than about piloting, since the former comes across as vivid and realistic and the latter...doesn't. Not continuing with the sequels, since the plot summaries pretty much fill in all the blanks for me.

Best line: "You've made my life immeasurably better by not barbecuing my dog. Thank you, Jessamyn."
Dec 24, 2012 Alfred rated it did not like it
The book is plot driven and some of the situations that Jess finds herself in seem forced. I thought the genius brother was a bit of a cliché. Why can’t a genius be well adjusted for a change and smart enough to sell his inventions. Overall, it isn’t a bad read, but I would like to see more character development and less plot.
Sue Moro
Jan 31, 2013 Sue Moro rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-books, favorites
I just finished reading this fantastic YA scifi/dystopian novel by Cidney Swanson, and I immediately had to pick up book two! I highly recommend this book!

My full review can be found here:
Feb 05, 2013 Misty rated it it was amazing
I totally fell in love with this book. It was delightful. The first half was a little slow maybe, setting up the story, but I don't see how it could have been different. Once Jessamyn got to Earth, I couldn't put the book down. And then I went on the prowl for the rest of Swanson's books.
Mar 11, 2013 Steve rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book a lot. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series. A great YA space adventure.
Dani (Pen to Paper)
Mar 08, 2013 Dani (Pen to Paper) rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
Full review coming soon.
Sep 18, 2016 Chelle rated it really liked it
I loved most of this book so much. I almost want to give it five stars in spite of its flaws, but I was feeling very four-star by the time I finished the last page (what was that epilogue, honestly).

The good: this book is a really fun, engaging adventure. The world-building comes across organically, shown or mentioned in pieces spread across the narrative as they became relevant. The overall pacing is very good.

Even better than those things are the characters. While Jess walks a fine line betwee
Apr 07, 2013 Mike rated it liked it
Shelves: needs-editing, indie
I picked this up after Nathan Lowell recommended the sequel. I take Nathan's recommendations seriously, since I discovered Debora Geary, one of my favourite authors, through him, so I started out predisposed to like this a lot.

I did enjoy it, too, despite massive setting issues. More on that in a moment.

The writing is smooth and competent, with only occasional errors: capitol instead of capital, physician's when it should be physicians', discretely instead of discreetly, enormity used to mean l
J.L. Dobias
Jan 23, 2014 J.L. Dobias rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: SFF YA and Adult Fans
Shelves: book-shelf-10
Saving Mars (The Saving Mars Series 1) by Cidney Swanson

I loved this this book. So much that even though I had purchased it as an individual before the triple pack came out, I went ahead and purchased the tri-pack. It's quite worth it.

I've already read and enjoyed the Ripple trilogy by Cidney and having loved that so much I purchased the saving Mars book 1 to get me started into that group of stories. I had let it set for a while I was doing other things and reading other things, but once I star
Emily Rachelle
Sep 08, 2012 Emily Rachelle rated it it was amazing
When an accidental fire destroys ninety percent of their food supply, Marsians trust aspiring pilot Jessamyn, her genius brother Ethan, and a select few others to fly to Earth and smuggle out precious ration bars. However, TerraMarsian relations have been either hostile or nonexistent for over a century. When the raid goes south, Jess finds herself facing some hard choices: go with her gut or her heart with the Terran boy? Focus on saving her brother or her planet? Can she even manage to do eith ...more
Dec 29, 2013 Daniel rated it really liked it
Ocassionally Amazon offers a few Kindle books for free (I receive a daily list from BookBub [that's my unofficial plug for a free service]), and as I recall this was one of those freebies.  I was impressed with the star rating on Amazon and, as I enjoy sci-fi and YA, this seemed like the right choice for me.

Being a YA novel, we know that we will see a teen with abilities better than most, and someone daring, and perhaps reckless, and we are not disappointed here.  Author Cidney Swanson does a ni
I bought this book a couple months ago and it sat on my kindle for a loooonnnng time. Then, the second book in the series was free, and I bought that too. I remembered that I actually hadn't read this yet after that, so I stopped all other books I was reading and began with this one. I am so glad I did!

Cidney Swanson is a wonderful author. I haven't read any of her books before, but I am definitely going to start now. Her writing style is so awesome! When Jessamyn was taking in the wonder of Ear
Dec 22, 2012 Angus rated it really liked it
Whiney Space Cadet Needs Growth Opportunity

Saving Mars: Book One in the Saving Mars Series
by Cidney Swanson

Jessamyn is a young Marsian woman who has been studying to be the best pilot she can be in preparation to be selected as one of the few to raid Earth for rations. The raid occurs once every twenty annums, Martian years, or roughly forty Earth years since relations between the two planets ceased. The term Marsian has been adopted as a form of solidarity among the abandoned to starve colonist
Jess and her family live in Mars Colonial, a small human settlement on Mars that started as an initiative on the planet Terra. The Terrans believe that Mars Colonial failed years ago, and the Marsians ("Martians" being an offensive, Terran term) intend to keep it that way despite being under constant Terran surveillance. Jess can pilot any craft with wings, and she dreams of becoming a raider like her late grandfather, flying missions to Terra to bring back the ration bars that keep the Marsians ...more
Victoria Pinder
Mar 24, 2013 Victoria Pinder rated it really liked it
Jessamyn Jaarda biggest concern in Chapter one is her brother, Ethan, and getting a piece of ice. She disobeys orders and is disciplined when the food supply is destroyed. Honestly it’s good if you ignore the fact the military would never take a rule breaker into their system as rule breakers get people killed. This isn’t in most novels or movies that rogues are bad officers, so I’ll leave that alone. She gets to go on the mission to save Mars, and her brother, Ethan, is recruited too. Jess is s ...more
Harry Brake
Mar 24, 2016 Harry Brake rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tackling the stack of books I was lucky enough to obtain through meeting authors from the YA Scavenger Hunt - I honestly had no clue on the readability, interest and inviting nature of this choice. In the beginnong I found a few things a little juvenile for an upper school student reader but I think this just lured me in or dared to me to go on. There were several events I could not, would not, and certainly did not predict occurring that worked itself out in the plot. I was pushed forward sever ...more
Dan Thompson
Jun 07, 2013 Dan Thompson rated it liked it
Saving Mars is the first book in a trilogy (or series) of books about a teenage pilot from Mars and her brother. I was mostly checking this out for my daughter, because she is nuts about Mars, and the brother in question is a reasonably high-functioning autistic. Likewise, my daughter’s brothers are autistic. On that point, I will probably recommend it to her around age thirteen or fourteen. (She’s nine now.)

However, it didn’t work that well for me as an adult. I have certainly enjoyed some YA f
May 13, 2014 Katherine rated it liked it
Shelves: dull, meh, odd
This is a very intriguing book and yet a downer for me.
The characters were two dimensional and while I tried to connect with the characters, it wasn't possible. The world building was good and yet I wished there were more descriptions of the people, landscape and the surroundings. The writing flowed off the pages. I wished there was more action and suspense in this book because the pacing was quite slow.
Jessamyn is a very strong, independent heroine, her brother Ethan is a technical genius, Ki
Brian Foster
Apr 26, 2013 Brian Foster rated it really liked it
In Saving Mars, Cidney Swanson tells the story of Jess, a Marsian who has a superior talent for flying and a genius for a brother. Those two elements combine to put her in the middle of her planet’s fight for survival against aggression from Earth.

Why to Buy This Book: If you’ve seen many of my reviews, you’ll know I’m quite persnickety when it comes to writing technique. The writing in the book was, overall, extraordinarily clean and tight. Very little drew me out of the solid story. It was a q
Oct 27, 2015 Cherei rated it really liked it
I bought this book on a whim. Caught up in the Martian fever. I did enjoy the story line. But, I did have some issues with some of the science. Most do not seem to know that it does get above freezing (32F) during the day at some locations on Mars. As for the water.. there is a great deal of water.. I didn't quite buy into humans, third generation or not.. not "wasting" tears. We're humans. That's biological and would not be something I'd see humans discarding in only two generations.

Now, as to
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Other Books in the Series

Saving Mars (6 books)
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  • Mars Rising (Saving Mars #6)

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