No Way returns us to Mars, following Frank in the aftermath of the thrilling and terrifying novel, One Way. The astronauts are on their way and Frank is alone, trying not to go crazy, trying to keep his daily life going. At the helm is the evil XO corporation, goading him into going along with their horrible schemes. It all seems to be business as usual until an absolutely mind-blowing occurrence throws a wrench into everyone’s plans. As No Way blends hard science and thrills, everyone’s lives are at stake. Horrors await on the other side of the canyon and the question remains—will anyone survive?
Morden’s narrative leaves much to think about: the loneliness of being the only man on Mars, the anxiety behind pretending to be someone you’re not, the excitement of science on a distant planet, and the terror when people begin disappearing again. I was impressed at how different this second entry in the series was. I had expected much of the same but honestly, the thrills were multiplied tenfold and I found myself jumping at small noises around the house as I kept reading. Hard science is still key to the plot, giving the new astronauts a very realistic feel as they go about their business.
At the forefront, the extremely shady XO corporation pulls the strings and does anything to cover their asses. They were terrible in book one, and in No Way, they reach an entirely new level. Be prepared to get legitimately pissed at their actions. Extreme greed is on display and it makes you wonder how likely such a scenario would be in the future. Both novels make it pretty plausible.
Overall, No Way is a fitting sequel to One Way, taking us further into the drama of Frank and his time on Mars. Morden’s mastery of hard science and the science-fiction thriller gives us a well-done addition to both genres. You’ll continue your fascination with Mars and, at the same time, shudder at the discoveries lurking around every corner.
NOTE: I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.
By S.J. Morden
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