A Review of The Relentless Moon – A Lady Astronaut Novel, by Mary Robinette Kowal

Book 3 in the Lady Astronaut series. 

If I had read the book blurb, I would have known this – but really, I was just so excited there was another release int he series, I grabbed it up, without that blurb reading…. So:

Initially, I was put off, and surprised by the change of narrator in book 3 – to Nicole, instead of the usual Elma. However, the book starts at approximately half way through the timeline of book 2. While I eventually got used to the Narrator change – It still caught me off guard from time to time when I’d pick up the book a day later, and not remember. It made sense, obviously, as filling in this part of the story was good, but I like Elma’s Narration better. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A little recap: In books 1 & 2; we see an Alt history unfold, where near the beginning of our own space exploration era of the 1950’s; the story takes a hard swerve to the left – and a meteorite hits the earth, decimating most of the east coast of the United States. It is quickly discovered by some very smart scientists , and our main characters Elma and Nathaniel; that the coming climate change incurred from the event will lead to an extinction event of the earths citizens in the very near future. The critical race is on to travel to the moon, to set up a base for colonizing and exploration. Then, to travel to Mars; to begin colonizing. They must do this, in order for humanity to have a chance of surviving these events as the earth is not going to be habitable. It is complicated by the situation that humanity has not yet even travelled to the moon. And of course, there are many people who don’t believe that the extinction event is real, because things have not yet perceivably changed. Must be a Hoax. Additionally there are many people who are afraid this will only benefit the rich – and not all of humanity will be saved. 

Book one focuses on the space race to the moon. Mixing up history to the alt of it being equally occupied by women astronauts – and the struggle they face against the sexism of the time to transition from positions such as ‘computers’ to actually piloting, and being active participants in the space missions.

Book 2 is focused on the Astronauts journey to Mars, mostly set in the spacecraft. Along with the many challenges of new space travel, at such an accelerated time frame. All while things heat up on earth, and the widening divide between the people trying to find success in the space programs, and the people who are fighting it to the degree of sabotaging space ships, causing deaths, and generally derailing progress, to a massive detriment of all humanity. 

Book 3 picks up in the middle of important chaotic events on earth, that were eluded to during book 2 – and brings us into the loop on events we were not privy to the details of, from the space side. Things are heating up with the conflicts on earth. The Mars astronauts were not given the full story, but for good reason. No need to worry them about things they can not help… But now, we’re thrown into the thick of the turmoils on earth, the traumas, and losses. 

 This one is at its core, a murder mystery, with constant action, issues, problems to solve, and crime to solve. Hopefully – while saving the lunar colony and its people. This book is non-stop action. There is a LOT going on! Twists, turns, tragedy, and triumph. So much happens! I spent it’s entirety trying to solve the mysteries, figure out who was behind the crimes – on earth as well as on the moon colony. 

Like the preceding 2 books – we see many of the same characters, and some new. All are wonderfully developed, and have much nuance and personality. They have their own needs and goals – not always in line with the ‘public’ direction of things. There are so many threads woven together here – many plot lines, with many characters. All beautifully woven for a rich, diverse, interesting story! You will not be bored, or disappointed. 

The novel is smart, and well written. It had a well developed plot, that in the end, tied up all the loose ends. And then, hinted at the next books’ direction. Which, I can not wait to dive into… in a couple years when it is released. 

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