MARTians, Blyth Woolston


Last girl Zoë Zindleman, numerical ID 009-99-9999, has just been graduated. Early. Her options: wait for her home to be foreclosed and stripped of anything valuable now that AnnaMom has moved away, or move to the Warren, an abandoned strip-mall-turned-refuge for other left-behinds—a safe place, and close to AllMART, Zoë’s new employer, where “your smile is AllMART’s welcome mat.” Zoë may be the last girl, but her name means “life,” and Zoë isn’t ready to disappear into the AllMART abyss. Zoë wants to live.

It’s not often I get annoyed at books. Oh, I get angry at them, I often shout at them. I cant hate them, love them- but be annoyed?

So this book is all about a future were corpoeration owns everything. If you dont have the money to shop, you spend your life sellin products, meaningless, stupid products no one ever actually wants.

Schools get shut down to make way for new factories. People are thrown out of their houses and houses torn down- so they have to turn to places like AllMART for help, so the supermarket owns them.

This book…it had a good premise. It could have been a brilliant, dark and creepy dystopian where, well, our lives was the big evil enemy.

It had promise.

But it fell so short.

Zoe was almost a non-character. Again, she had promise, and I got flashes of it. Right at the start, when she was talking about maths. But then that was forgotten- and I know maybe it was because AllMART was turning her into another ‘slave’ but you have to have personality.

There were obvious ‘plot twists’ that I think were meant to have you gasping in shock, but they just fell flat. Because they were so obvious, I had guessed right at the start about one of them.

And the end- it just…stopped. There was no…nothing. The book just finished, and I wasnt left wanting more, but I also wasnt left not wanting more. It was sudden, but almost a relief.

And all of that annoyed me.

Because honestly, this book could have been amazing. If they had stuck with the dark ‘people disappear when they stand up to AllMART.’ line. If they had stuck with What happened if you gave in and asked for help- how people disappeared and the only time they were ever seen were on ad breaks. If they had stuck with the idea of someone trying to break out of this life- how they would have survived in a world were they couldnt live anywhere, buy anything, be anoyone, because without AllMART they were nothing. That would have been great.

If there had been more world building, more…anything.

It could have been so good. But it just wasn’t.

And that annoys me more than anything else, because I read the whole thinghoping and got nothing.