Red Hope is an interesting story and like others before in the genre, tantalizes the reader with the evidence of intelligent life having existed ..Show More » on Mars at some distant past time. Ben Bova's series of Mars stories deals with the same issues as for those interested in Mars related fiction that haven't read his books they are a worthy read. Red Hope has that bang up to date contemporary feel of a recently written book and so paints a picture of everyday life that people will feel familiar with.
The narrator is a new one to me and is competent and fluid in his rendering of the story. In the early stages of the book though, I did think his reading of narrative sections was a little too fast. He is able to portray a range of accents but when not having to differentiate characters in that way and dealing with those of the same sex, I did find that, for example, the male Americans pretty much sounded the same as did the female Americans. Only those with a Russian or Texas twang had more distinct voices. I also felt that the narrator, though very good on the whole, didn't have the gravitas in his voice to convey the danger, mystery and wonder of some of the book that I felt was needed. I smiled to myself thinking at one point how his youthful and enthusiastic voice would lend itself to a character in a Scooby Do cartoon or something similarly lightweight. That's not to say that the narrator was in any way a poor one, just perhaps not the best for this type of material. Still, he gave the prose a flowing and natural reading without any pauses or other unneeded breaks in the rhythm.
The author did manage to give the reader a series of unpredictable occurrences and I was surprised at how things turned out so full marks for that. I did, however, feel that not enough time was spent painting a picture of life on Mars so that the reader was immersed in the inherent dangers of the alien environment. This is where I think Bova did a better job in bringing Mars to the reader. This Mars novel seems more to be a story platform rather than the setting.
Red Hope is the first of a two part series and so we are left with a cliff hanger of sorts that will make anyone who liked this story want to get the concluding part. I am also left wondering just how much the red planet will figure in the follow up to this story given the circumstances leading to the end of this book..
Red Hope shows its more contemporary feel in the way it places its key characters in more dire situations than perhaps those in Ben Bova's Mars books but I'd have to say that I prefer Bova's series because it places the reader onto that alien planet in a more immersive way and spends more of his books in that environment than this one does which gets the reader there in perhaps the final third.