Following a pact with the Morrors, a species from Mars, humanity agrees they can inhabit the Polar regions under an assurance that they will reverse global warming. The agreement is more than fulfilled, however, as the earth enters an ice-age. This is the world that protagonist Alice Dare inhabits. Alice is the daughter to a famous war hero mother and so is at risk of attack by the Morrors. For this reason she is chosen as one of a group of children – selected variously for their intellect, their lineage or by chance – to colonise Mars, which remains in the process of being terra-formed.
The narrative is wry in its wit and social observation, however the book does feel a little disjointed at times, flitting between cli-fi, boarding school drama and colonialism. Fascinating subjects are seeded throughout – the impact of migration upon self and development and the global political backdrop surrounding who is chosen to be evacuated. In this first novel, the reader is tantalisingly never provided with a rationale for why the alien settlers become aggressors, which feels a frustrating oversight given the key role this plays within the narrative. Sassy and thought-provoking, Mars Evacuees is, for the most part, a solid start for a series to look out for.