Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Arabella of Mars (Adventures of Arabella Ashby, #1)” as Want to Read:
Arabella of Mars (Adventures of Arabella Ashby, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Arabella of Mars

(Adventures of Arabella Ashby #1)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  2,112 ratings  ·  496 reviews
Ever since Newton witnessed a bubble rising from his bathtub, mankind has sought the stars. When William III of England commissioned Capt. William Kidd to command the first expedition to Mars in the late 1600s, they proved that space travel was both possible and profitable.

Now, one century later, a plantation in the flourishing British colony on Mars is home to Arabella A
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published July 12th 2016 by Tor
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Arabella of Mars, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Theresa Miller It is harder to describe than to read. It does not fit tidily into any category but it is a delightful fun book to read.
It is harder to describe than to read. It does not fit tidily into any category but it is a delightful fun book to read.
David Levine Both! I wrote it as Young Adult with crossover potential. Tor chose to bring it out as an adult title but also marketed it through the TorTeen Tumblr.…moreBoth! I wrote it as Young Adult with crossover potential. Tor chose to bring it out as an adult title but also marketed it through the TorTeen Tumblr. Powell's has it shelved as YA in the main and Hawthorne stores, but both YA and SF at the Cedar Hills store. I have certainly heard from plenty of adults AND teens who loved it. It has no sex or swearing, so should be suitable for all ages. Give it a try! :-)(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,112 ratings  ·  496 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Arabella of Mars (Adventures of Arabella Ashby, #1)
3.5ish stars.

This is a very fun YA steampunk that intelligently circumvents some of the most annoying tropes of YA in a way that makes it feel appropriate for both younger young adults as well as non-young-adult adults. :)

In a clever alternate 1800s history when space travel takes place in airships that sail between planets there lives a respectable, intrepid heroine named Arabella, born to English parents on Mars. We get to follow the story across several settings including the Red Planet, Eng
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

What if Isaac Newton, instead of watching an apple fall from a tree and being inspired to develop a new theory of gravity, had observed a bubble rising from his bathtub and begun to meditate on space travel? Well, in the world of Arabella of Mars, a delightful and unique blend of a Regency-era nautical adventure and the pioneering science fiction of Jules Verne or Edgar Rice Burroughs, it resulted in Captain Kidd commanding the first voyage to Mar
Mogsy (MMOGC)
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Meet Arabella Ashby of Mars. The year is 1812 and already humans have been capable of space travel for centuries, thanks to the advances in automata and airship technology made in the 1600s. Our titular heroine is Martian-born and Martian-bred, having been raised on her family’s frontier colonial plantation until the year she turned sixteen, when her mother deemed the red planet too unsuitable for the enrichment of prope
Hannah Greendale
DNF at page 176.

Steampunk. Victorian era. Sci Fi set on Mars. This has all the makings of a stellar, genre bending mashup, but instead it reads like Treasure Planet on sleeping pills.
Jul 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi, review-freebie
Originally reviewed at Bookwraiths.

Set on an alternate earth where Isaac Newton discovered the means for man to reach the stars in the late 1600s, Arabella of Mars captures the romantic, optimistic feel of classic science fiction. The environment of 1800s English society adding an elegant veneer to a thoroughly spacefaring journey of self-discovery by our heroine, Arabella Ashby of Mars!

When human’s venture forth into space, Mars is naturally the first planet explored. Mankind discovering that
Jun 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Here is my non-spoiler video review:

Sherwood Smith
Jul 12, 2016 added it
Shelves: fantasy, sf
I read this book in draft, and loved it before the professional editors got to it and gave it its extra polish.

Intrepid Arabella spent enough time running about with her Martian friends on Great Britain's Martian colony to feel the constraint of female social expectations when she is shipped off to England to be prepared for the marriage hunt. While staying with her obnoxious aunt and cousins, she overhears something from a one of those cousins to make her believe that her brother--heir to the e
Jun 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Read an advance copy and loved it enough to provide the following blurb:

Levine has created a wonderful alternate 19th century, with interplanetary airships, space pirates, automatons, Martians, and a young woman determined to save her family. This book reminded me how much fun reading can be, and makes me want to take an airship to Mars.

Right now.
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
A clever mash-up of a Regency England period piece with the sort of solar system imagined by early writers in SF. We get sailing ships in space plying the trade routes between Earth and Mars during the Napoleonic Wars along with a Mars with Martian natives and canals. (Also a Venus with swamps and jungles and lizardmen, but unseen here). And all of this with our viewpoint character, the wonderfully capable Arabella, raised on Mars where the native women are warriors and chafing under the restric ...more
12/11/19 $2.99 for Kindle. If you enjoy Steampunk-y-ish Adventures with plucky heroines and a dash of romance SNAG IT.

Enjoyed every minute of it.

For some reason I'd thought this was a Middle Grade book, but it's not, it's YA. Although it's perfectly appropriate for younger readers who read above their grade level.

And if you enjoy this (like I did), I think you'd also enjoy Airborn.
3 - 3.5 stars. A light, fun adventure story that had me thinking of Jules Verne and Horatio Hornblower, but with a resourceful, determined female main character, Arabella Ashby. There is a lot of action, and the story moves quickly from the Ashby plantation on Mars, to England, then back to Mars. There are a number of elements to the story that I enjoyed: girl masquerading as a boy, airship battle, on board politics, automata, scheming relatives. One other interesting aspect of the book I was ac ...more
cross posted from fox and fiction

I knew two things going into this book: one, that the laws of the universe had been drastically altered to allow for sailing ships to float into space and the atmosphere outside of Earth to be breathable, in the year 1813, and two, that the main character disguises herself to board one of those ships bound for Mars. Despite how fun both of those things sound, this book was a colossal disappointment. While I love the trope of women in history passing as men, among
 Simply Sam ツ
This book should really be titled: Arabella, The Hero of Everything.


Maneuver through zero gravity on the ship better than the seasoned airmen? Yep.

Take down the big bully almost unscathed? No biggee.

Talk down a mutiny? On my afternoon break.

Save the ship from crash landing? Please. Amateur hour over here.

END A WAR ON MARS??? Well, what do you think? I am basically THE best.

It was pretty ridiculous how Arabella single-handedly overcame all obstacles and was the best at all
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it

I want to preface by saying that I know David a bit, as he's a prominent figure in the local book scene, however I doubt he could pick me out of a lineup. I'm a huge fan of his short fiction - I really have legitimately enjoyed pretty much all works from him I've ever read. Knowing that, I was more than excited to get my hands on his full novel, especially once the details on the plot and setting came out.

Arabella Ashby is a Martian. Actually, le
Feb 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Arabella of Mars is a steampunk adventure set in Regency England. It is a well written and largely enjoyable tale that finds the titular heroine racing from London to her family plantation on Mars to save her beloved brother from a murderous fate.
The novel unfortunately falls into the nostalgia trap, wherein the author attempts to idealize the imagined past while acknowledging its social and cultural evils - in this case colonialism, slavery and oppression. This kind of balancing act is always u
The Shayne-Train
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was such a wonderful, pleasing alt-history/steampunk-ish action adventure story!

Why do I do this to myself? Why do I read a book that looks like it's going to be awesome before the next book in the series is out? Because guess what? IT WAS AWESOME! And now I have to wait until July for the next one to be out! Grrrrrarrrrgh!!

So, the breakdown: Way back when, instead of a falling apple inspiring Newton to law-ify gravity, a floating soap bubble inspired the science of air travel instead. Fast
Jul 31, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a fun, light read!

I enjoyed this. I wasn't over the moon about it, but I definitely had a fun time!

The writing felt like accessible regency-era writing. Levine definitely gets the flavor and flair of it right, but I was able to read this much quicker than I would an actual Regency-era book.

At times I had some issues with the plot. I just was't particularly gripped by it. But at the end of the day, I still had fun.

I appreciated that Arabella's successes are attributed to both masculine
Trigger warnings: death of a parent, explosions, war, violence. I think that's all?

3.5 stars.

So here's the thing: everything about this book is up my alley. It's steampunk. With space travel. About a badass teenage girl who disguises herself as a boy and gets a job on a ship bound for Mars to try and save her brother from her douchey cousin. With kind of Hornblower-y feelings about it. Uh, Y.E.S.

And for the most part, I really enjoyed it. Certainly, the beginning and the end were action packe
This is a joyous throwback to SF adventure tales of old, with an exciting plot and a dashing heroine whose resourcefulness, courage, and intelligence drive the narrative as much as the extremely novel alternate-world science (sure, why wouldn't traveling the solar winds between planets be like sailing a vast space sea?). So much love. It's like the SF equivalent to Uprooted for me, right now.

Read-alikes: Uprooted, by Naomi Novik; Etiquette & Espionage, by Gail Carriger; Airborn, by Kenneth Oppel
Beth Cato
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this as part of the Norton finalist packet.

What a fantastic read! Levine's book combines Victorian sensibilities with space-faring airships, all seen through the viewpoint of the courageous and smart Arabella who masquerades as a cabin boy to get a freighter ride back home to Mars before her cousin can commit dastardly acts. Levine utilizes many tropes of steampunk and 19th century literature, such as a mutiny aboard ship and the inevitable exposure of Arabella's true gender, but twists e
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Arabella of Mars has that classic adventure romp feel — something a little bit Jules Verne-y, I guess, though what I thought of was Martha Wells’ Emilie & The Hollow World. I was told it’d be a fun read, and it didn’t disappoint: I finished it in one hour and forty minutes, when I should’ve been sleeping. The action ticks along at speed; Arabella is a fun character, if not perhaps unique in as a character in her unique independence for her world, and I especially appreciated the fact that althou ...more
Thomas Wagner
Jul 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written review coming. Video review here. Also, my interview with David D. Levine. ...more
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: action-adventure

The concept here is wonderful. British colonization of Mars!? As blurbs the back cover, it's Jane Austen meets Jules Verne! Yes, please!

In reality, the book fell a little short of expectations for me. It is divided primarily into three sections. In the beginning, we have Arabella on Mars only briefly before she is forced to return to England with her mother and sisters so that she can finally become a proper young lady. We have a few chapters in England, primarily to set up the main con
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I re-read this in preparation for finally reading the second book and I still enjoyed it at least as much as the first time. The book is fun, well written and super readable. Arabella is a really great main character, super well developed and believable. I enjoyed the story, the setting, the characters, the everything. Excited to see what the rest of the series has to offer!
Mar 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
*4.5 Stars*
I read this for book club and I forgot to post an update for it! I enjoyed this book. I like the world building and the story. It has steampunk elements to it, which I loved. I'm anxious to continue on with this series.
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. I thought this was a great first sci-fi novel! It did get a little slow in the middle, but not much at all! So many aspects of this story I adore! Definitely check it out!
Dec 11, 2015 rated it liked it
A fun Regency England-meets-space exploration romp. Arabella is a charming and tomboyish heroine who isn't afraid to take on dastardly cousins, space pirates, and Napoleon Bonaparte.

A perfect novel for anyone who loves Naomi Novik!
If I could give this book a star for everything it has in it that's My Favorite, it would have, like...thirty stars.

At least.

It has interplanetary travel, (air)ships with sails, cannon-firing drills, a naval battle with full guns but in space. It has a plucky lady protagonist who ignores the accepted mores of her Regency/Victorian times and is intelligent and rebellious, but does all the socially unacceptable things to save her family. It has a distant but warm captain who is poised and co
Arabella of Mars is an exciting, fun, steampunk sci-fi with a great heroine. What it lacks in realism it makes up for in entertainment value. It’s one of those novels where you have to ignore the implausibility of the mechanics of the universe (in this case, Victorian technology able to traverse in space, as well as some other stuff), and if you can do so, you’ll enjoy it. I liked the idea behind the space travel (as implausible as it was) because it was so much fun. This novel is basically just ...more
3 stars - Metaphorosis Reviews
Forced to leave her home on Mars for a proper upbringing in Regency England, teenaged Arabella struggles against the role society has chosen for her, and rapidly finds herself destitute and masquerading as a boy on an interplanetary freighter, headed back to Mars on a mission of life and death.

Arabella of Mars is very much a nod in the direction of Heinlein's Podkayne of Mars - plucky teen girl crossing between Mars and Earth. It's been a while since I read Podkayne

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: Arabella of Mars by David Levine - 4 stars (steampunk/scifi) 1 10 Sep 05, 2016 08:37PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • A Comfortable Alliance
  • Fit (Fit Trilogy #1)
  • Miss Grimsley's Oxford Career
  • Awake at Widmore Manor (Once Upon a Regency #5)
  • Miss Lacey's Last Fling
  • Bound by Your Touch
  • The Alien's Handler (Virgin Warriors of Kar’Kal #1)
  • Love Potion For the Alpha
  • The Guns Above (Signal Airship #1)
  • All That I Am: A Victorian Historical Romance (Hesitant Husbands, #1)
  • The Fairy Stepmother Inc.
  • Calculated Risks (InCryptid, #10)
  • The Matchmaker's Billionaire (Billionaire Bachelor Mountain Cove)
  • The Perilous Gard
  • The Scoundrel's Daughter (The Brides of Bellaire Gardens, #1)
  • Agatha H and the Airship City (Girl Genius Novels, #1)
  • Creating a Life with God: The Call of Ancient Prayer Practices
  • The Essential Enneagram
See similar books…
David D. Levine is the author of novel Arabella of Mars (Tor 2016) and over fifty SF and fantasy stories. His story "Tk'Tk'Tk" won the Hugo Award, and he has been shortlisted for awards including the Hugo, Nebula, Campbell, and Sturgeon. Stories have appeared in Asimov's, Analog, F&SF, and five Year's Best anthologies as well as award-winning collection Space Magic from Wheatland Press.

David is a

Other books in the series

Adventures of Arabella Ashby (3 books)
  • Arabella and the Battle of Venus (Adventures of Arabella Ashby #2)
  • Arabella The Traitor of Mars (Adventures of Arabella Ashby, #3)

Related Articles

  Few things compare to the electric anticipation of the next entry in a series you're obsessed with–you get to drop back into worlds your...
63 likes · 17 comments