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Before Mars

(Planetfall #3)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  2,034 ratings  ·  339 reviews
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 fi
Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published April 17th 2018 by Ace
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Brian's Book Blog I'm pretty sure that these are all standalone books in the same "world". I started with this one today - and I don't feel lost or confused.

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Average rating 4.07  · 
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 ·  2,034 ratings  ·  339 reviews

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Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019-shelf, sci-fi
Sometimes it's quite hard reviewing books for which you KNOW are rather groundbreaking but do so in a quiet manner and stretch the quality across a span of books.

It's never just one thing. It's a whole slew of wonderful worldbuilding quirks, a dedication to deep mystery, and extremely complicated characters often riddled with mental health issues and/or very real plot complications.

In this third book, related only by its housing in the greater worldbuilding and future history shared with the oth
☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~  ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣
Oh, gosh. All the 'ze', 'hir' nonbinary designations? Weird but fun.
Lovely Martian setting, evil gov-corps doing horrible stuff and so on... Goshy-gosh! Scary and powerful stuff.

Living with injustice is one of the hardest things in the world. (c)
This need to prove that we are not the worst of ourselves can sometimes make us better people. (c)
“Just because something is possible, it doesn’t make it plausible... What is the most plausible explanation here?” (c)
This isn’t what happened to my
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-sff-faves
*I was sent this for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

I am SO glad I read this. It's officially my new favourite for the year, and that's becuase it made me cry. I am the sort of person who cries easily at films, but when it comes to books, I very rarely do unless the characters I love are threatened (looking at you Ms. Hobb) or the topic is so emotionally heartfelt it hits where it hurts (yep, this book falls into that category). For me, this one had a bit of both, but i
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-read, audiobook
A deeply personal book that makes for a compelling read. As was the case in the previous two Planetfall books, Planetfall and After Atlas, Newman sketches the portrait of a deeply flawed main character struggling to survive and present as "normal".

After Atlas gave us a glimpse of a future Earth, ruled by corporate governments, horrifying contracts, and profit. Before Mars continues in the same vein, and provides a bleak look at a world that seems less implausible now than it used to.

The main c
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

By now, the Planetfall books are starting to establish a pattern: each book in the series stands alone, following a different character as he or she travels their own journey across this complex and unforgiving universe. Yet every installment also adds to what we know about the world-building, exploring the ripples of effect caused by greater, overarching events taking place in the background.

Although it is the third book
Jun 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Emma Newman is fast becoming one of my ‘go to’ authors! Her previous two books in this Planetfall universe have been favourites of mine too, each combining popular genres, such as scifi and crime thriller, with deeply psychological subjects.

In this instance, she crafts a mystery that might be paranoia while shining a light on something that society still has problems with - depression (postpartum) and the deeply ingrained belief that parental/filial love comes by effortlessly. Anna’s narration
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
The third of the Planetfall books is probably the least self-contained of the three, but builds on the themes of mental health and abuse along with underlying social problems in this plausible dystopic future.

Anna Kubrin is a geologist and artist who's come to Mars partly for science, but mostly to make unique paintings using Martian materials that will make her sponsor a lot of money. She also has a husband and a young daughter that she's left on Earth, both of whom she has difficult relationsh
May 03, 2018 rated it liked it
6.8 out of 10 at:

Before Mars is the third standalone novel set in Emma Newman’s Planetfall universe, though the events of all three are loosely connected and having read the other two is helpful, if not necessary. In this one, geologist and artist Anna Kubrin takes a position at a research station on Mars, but when she arrives, she makes two startling discoveries: that her wedding ring has somehow been replaced with a fake, and among her possessions is a
May 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Emma Newman continues her Planetfall series with a 2018 release that is not quite a sequel to After Atlas but almost contemporaneous to it.

Fans of the series know how After Atlas ends and this book references that ending. The story is told obliquely, and about a troubled colony on Mars in the same world building as the rest of her Planetfall universe. Using some of the same characters, Newman expands her already brilliant vision into a humanistic, hard science fiction novel.

Dr. Anna Kubrin has s
Feb 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
*4.5 stars* (because something in the last chapters didn't sit quite right with me)

Even though this book can be read as a standalone I strongly recommend to read "After Atlas", before diving into it. This way the reader has background information the characters haven't and this made the emotional impact of the story so much stronger for me.

Again Newman excels at combining a deeply relatable character study of a mentally difficult character with a suspenseful narration. This time she goes for a m
May 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.5 Stars

Half of the book is a very dull monologue of Anna's thoughts about her painful past. This is a 100 page book stretched into 350. Perhaps this is publisher greed and pressure on the author? 😥

Starts okay, then a surprise twist and a great mystery.... Then it gets ever more absurd and dull with every page. The reader is being abused just as much as Anna. There's not a single sympathetic character in the book until the final quarter. This would have made a more interesting short story.

Liz Barnsley
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This series is incredible and now I've read all 4 available, granted out of order but it doesn't matter, I really can't wait for more. Subtle and intelligent I'm beginning to see the bigger picture and it's all so intriguingly gorgeous.

Bring on more Planetfall books. Totally fantastic.
The Captain
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
Ahoy there mateys! This is the second companion novel to the wonderful sci-fi novel planetfall which continues to linger in me thoughts as being a super pleasurable previous read. As a companion novel, the books can be read in any order even though personally I am glad I read them in publishing order. Planetfall showed the story of a human colony on a remote alien planet far far from Earth. Book two, after atlas, is a sci-fi murder mystery novel set on Earth forty years after Atlas has left the ...more
May 06, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
DNF at 116 pages. I'm just not interested.
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Thanks to Netgalley for providing a copy of this book for review.

I've been tremendously enjoying Emma Newman's Planetfall trilogy, and it's possible that this is my favorite book by her so far. The themes of how our mental well-being is influenced by our world, how technology connects us and how far to trust it, and how end-stage capitalism might work all carry through in this novel.

OCD and anxiety were part of her main characters' mindset in the books earlier in the series. This time, we get t
May 17, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Before Mars is part futuristic mystery set on a Mars base and part character portrait of the main protagonist. Though I found it quite riveting toward the beginning, I ultimately found it unsatisfying since the intriguing characterization and concepts aren't explored in enough depth for my taste.

Full Review on My Website
Apr 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This one is a big "meh". It's loosely tied to the previous two books, but if you haven't read them you won't be lost or missing out on anything. I wasn't really interested in any of the characters and only hung in there to see what the big mystery was. The reveal, when it finally happened was pretty underwhelming. IMO, you can safely skip this one
Britta Böhler
Not as good as the first two books in the series unfortunately.
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
4.5 Stars
Newman is quickly becoming one of my new favorite authors. In each of her stories, she blends together irresistible mysteries and thought-provoking narratives into futuristic, yet recognizable, settings. Like her previous work, this novel was well written with a deeply immersive narrative.

The main character in this novel was well developed as a complex and imperfect woman. The narrative of this detached mother suffering from post-partum depression felt incredibly raw and honest. This
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was ok
Happy Martian Clouds

This was not a good book.

In my progress review i said if this was a simulation story i will be very angry. I was angry!
Anna, a geologist and part time painter, spent six months alone on a spaceship and just landed on Mars...or did she?

Anna was sent to Mars do some geological stuff and was commissioned to paint Martian landscapes for this billionaire guy. What?
Anna a mother, wife, and daughter is struggling with the guilt of leaving her family behind on Earth. She is suffering
Mar 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
I was excited to find a sci-fi book written by a female author that looked really good based on the blurb - and the core idea is really intriguing. But the execution is terrible.

For the record, I don't think that Emma Newman is a bad writer. In spite of this book's shortcomings, it was apparent that the author has some strengths. Even though the plot development is unbelievably slow (especially for a sci-fi thriller), I found the story engaging enough that I kept reading despite the criticisms t
Anna Kubrin leaves behind her loving husband and infant daughter in order to paint on Mars. It's the opportunity of a lifetime, but when she arrives after a long arduous journey alone in her little spaceshuttle, little is what she hoped for or expected. Her new crewmembers react to her with surprising vehemence. She took along the wrong number of canvases. And when she finally fulfills a lifelong dream and sees the surface of Mars in person, it feels oddly anticlimactic.

(view spoiler)
May 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
I will start by saying I did not read the other two in the series. This was recommended to me on Net Galley, and so I was unfamiliar with the world or, if they showed up in former books, the characters.
The plot synopsis sounded interesting.
The writing was engaging.

It's missing three stars for a few reasons.
1) Anna (our MC) spends an inordinate amount of time talking about how she didn't want to be a mother, didn't really like her husband, and all the associated guilt that went with that. This wo
Brian Clegg
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps the most impressive thing with a good piece of writing is when careful plotting brings together disparate pieces of information that the reader has absorbed (in this case over two previous books) to provide a lucid whole. In Before Mars, Emma Newman powerfully combines a truly engaging mystery, based on a small Mars base, with the unfolding drama that took place on Earth in the previous novel After Atlas.

While it's not essential to have read the earlier book first, it's highly recommende
Chris Vogel
Mar 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
After reading Planetfall ( which I quite liked) and After Atlas (which was barely ok) I felt like I was invested enough in the series to read book #3. This book was flawed from the get go. First problem, the mystery was given away in the first chapter. This was a bit of a problem in "After Atlas" as well. The mystery was obvious from the first. Ms Newman isn't about the subtle hints. Since the book is told from a first person perspective you are left with a long drawn out slog of "why is this pe ...more
Outstanding - thought-provoking, character-driven science fiction. Such a clever book although my response to it was largely emotional. I'm really hoping for a fourth book. This sets one up perfectly. This does stand alone very well but there is a progression through the books that really adds something. I'm so glad I read Planetfall first, which means I must read After Atlas as soon as possible. Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights.
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've read it as a kind of companion novel to After Atlas and it worked beautifully as such - there was suspense, and more nuance to the already fascinating worldbuilding, and an ending that was at once shocking and logical, hopeless and hopeful.
Judy Lesley
I enjoyed this space adventure even without having read the two previous books in the Planetfall series. Normally the first person narrative is not my favorite style of novel but in this case it was necessary so readers can follow the thought processes as Dr. Anna Kubrin works her way through her feelings for those she left behind on Earth and her new associations with the crew of Mars Principia. The travel time between Earth and Mars is months long and Anna was alone. She spent much of her time ...more
Emma Newman might just be my favourite modern Sci-Fi writer. I really just love everything about how she writes (except almost all of her endings feel very rushed). Her characters are so wonderful human, deeply flawed, and aware of it, but their blind-spots are so damn human and relateable.
Her commentary on, understanding of, and extrapolation of AI and Social Media are the perfect mix of fascinating, exciting and utterly terrifying.

This woman writes some great Sci-Fi.

I cannot wait to see how
Luke Burrage
Full review on my podcast, SFBRP #421

Luke and Juliane enthuse over Emma Newman's writing achievements in Berfore Mars, and compare storytelling from neurotypical vs neuroatypical viewpoint characters.

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Emma Newman writes dark short stories and science fiction and urban fantasy novels.

'Between Two Thorns', the first book in Emma's Split Worlds urban fantasy series, was shortlisted for the BFS Best Novel and Best Newcomer awards.

Emma's latest book, Planetfall, is a standalone science fiction novel published by Roc.

Emma is a professional audiobook narrator and also co-writes and hosts the Hugo-no

Other books in the series

Planetfall (4 books)
  • Planetfall (Planetfall, #1)
  • After Atlas (Planetfall, #2)
  • Atlas Alone (Planetfall #4)

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