Break the Dark by Cheryl Lawson

book cover of Break the Dark

I enjoyed the first two books in this trilogy, the first more than the second, but nonetheless I appreciated the way it drew on realistic science to build its depiction of a struggling Martian colony. This one… well, I wish I liked it better than I did.

I feel like I might have enjoyed it better if I’d read it a bit sooner after part two, even though it started with a summary of what had happened up to this point, because I’d forgotten many of the characters. The machinations happening back on Earth, in particular, took some time for me to wrap my head around.

But then the other factor that impeded my enjoyment was just the writing style. Both the previous books have done a bit more “telling” than “showing” than I would’ve liked, but this one did that, and also just… somehow felt over-long and rushed all at the same time. As in, a lot of the dialogue was just too much, while a lot of the plot developments seemed to happen too quickly.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say I disliked this book, and in fact I think it deserves some extra credit for featuring an uprising that actually consists of the working class choosing to set aside their divisions to go on a general strike and resorting to armed resurrection when forced – sooooo much better than the Hollywood-style “small cabal of heroes substituting themselves for the masses” thing (and such an uncommon depiction!). It’s just that overall, I found it rather meh. I really do think it’d have helped if I’d read it shortly after part two, though.

Books in the Rubicon Saga

  1. We Are Mars
  2. Storm at Dawn
  3. Break the Dark (you are here)


a cartoony avatar of Jessica Smith is a socialist and a feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.