Book Review – 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

Gravity meets Goosebumps.

172 Hours onthe Moon Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction, Horror

No. of pages: 355

From Goodreads:

It’s been decades since anyone set foot on the moon. Now three ordinary teenagers, the winners of NASA’s unprecedented, worldwide lottery, are about to become the first young people in space–and change their lives forever. Mia, from Norway, hopes this will be her punk band’s ticket to fame and fortune. Midori believes it’s her way out of her restrained life in Japan. Antoine, from France, just wants to get as far away from his ex-girlfriend as possible.
It’s the opportunity of a lifetime, but little do the teenagers know that something sinister is waiting for them on the desolate surface of the moon. And in the black vacuum of space… no one is coming to save them.
In this chilling adventure set in the most brutal landscape known to man, highly acclaimed Norwegian novelist Johan Harstad creates a vivid and frightening world of possibilities we can only hope never come true. 

Page border by Casey Carlisle

I’d seen this title bouncing about on friends reviews and it has popped up on my recommendations, it’s sci-fi, horror and YA, so there was no reason not to add this to my reading list. With no prior knowledge, other than some teens getting the chance to visit the moon, I cracked the spine expecting a momentous space adventure fraught with peril. Well it was that, but just not in a way I expected.

‘172 Hours on the Moon’ is a much sinister read. Less on the science fiction, and more on the scare factor.

172 Hours onthe Moon Book Review Pic 03 by Casey CarlisleThere is a lot of switching of perspective in this book, which was interesting in learning about the cast and their backgrounds and culture. But I wasn’t sure what that had to do with the actual plot…

Additionally some of the more interesting facts and parts of space travel and being on the moon were glossed over or intentionally omitted. I feel some more of the technical aspects of the setting would have added credence to what they faced on the lunar surface. It is a stark and dangerous landscape and just how vulnerable to the elements and death was right there, but the author missed so much of it. Although, what was included really helped set the tone of being alone and helpless in the vastness of space and the lunar landscape… but with an added threat. If the continual worry of something going wrong and suffocating by vacuum wasn’t enough.

There were several parts in the novel where the hairs on my arms stood up… and not many books do that. It wasn’t an outright fear response, but rather that creepy feeling that you know something is not quite right and should be used as a portent for real evil.

The characters were likable, although the insta-love between Etienne and Mia felt irrelevant to the story.

I read this on and off over a week while travelling… only near the end did I wish I had more time to indulge as the pacing was slow in the first half. The narrative is interesting though.

Love the desolate picture that this book portrays of the landscape – it could have been used to escalate the bleakness and justify some of the characters attitudes towards the conclusion.

On the whole, this felt like a fable – a story you tell children at bed time or around the campfire to give them a little scare. It story fell a little flat. I wanted more of that creep factor. Maybe some of the issues could have been put down to the fact it was translated from Norwegian, but the big thing that got to me was the amount of information we were given that did not drive the plot forward, and the amount of information which should have been included to add dimension to the story that was omitted.

Cool concept, great creep factor, a so-so read…

Overall feeling: If I don’t move maybe it won’t see me…

172 Hours onthe Moon Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

172 Hours onthe Moon Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle


© Casey Carlisle 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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