Book Review of 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

Posted April 26, 2013 by Kara in Lyn / 10 Comments

Publisher: ATOM
Release Date: April 5th, 2012
Pages: 368
Genre: Young Adult-Science Fiction
Source: Gift for the Kindle

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Description 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.

Review:  I wanted to love this novel with all of my heart. It was an awesome-sounding book: a Norwegian author writing a story with a setting on the moon! Everything was aligned, the mood was set, and love at first sight threatened to fill my heart and make me blow up with rainbows! Sadly, it fell apart early on in the book, and by the end, I was thrilled to just be done with this novel. So many people were rabidly in lust with 172 Hours on the Moon, and I wished I had been one of those many, many people.

The first issue with the book was the lack of any remotely likeable characters. The two female leads never stirred my interest, the male protagonist was bland, and the rest of the cast never made any type of connection for me. It seemed that, in this novel, the world is filled with bratty, selfish people who can’t see past their own nose to care about any of the surrounding people. The emotions were throughly scrubbed away from the whole storyline. The insta-love, and I do mean INSTANT, was a joke as well. I think the “romance” in the book was the final nail in the coffin for the entire thing. No, just no. It wasn’t even remotely plausible.

The storyline made no sense. The threads never came together. Nothing was ever explained, and the “AH HA!” moment never happened. In fact, I felt that the author just stopped writing when the end of the book hit, leaving me feeling like I was kicked to the curb unceremoniously. The shocking ending could be seen from a mile away, but I suppose if you watched the animated Justice League, you knew from the start what was going to happen.

Last, it ruffled me how nothing was ever properly explained. I am going to chalk this up to translation. I honestly believe something was missing from converting the book from Norwegian to English. Even to the end, the characters would vaguely explain what was happening, the other characters reacted as if everything was perfectly clear, and I was left blinking at the screen thinking “What the hell….how do they KNOW what is going on?!” I would have liked some scientific or half-assed attempt to EXPLAIN the enemies in the book, instead of reading a hundred times “This is what is sorta happening, now panic and run for your lives!”

The disappointment was high with this book, and I feel somewhat cheated by this novel. It wasn’t a terrible book, but I was expecting so much more from this fan-girl coverting novel.

2/5 Stars

10 responses to “Book Review of 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

  1. I think I ended up giving this 3 stars. Yep, looking back at the goodreads machine I did. Like you, I didn’t really feel all that connected with the characters. OH and it totally did take forever just to get to the moon. I think that personally, I didn’t think to hard about how/why things were happening and was willing to give the plot holes a pass.

    Anyways, I kind of wonder if maybe some of that has been lost in translation, because 172 Hours is a translated book. Hmmmm.

    Anyways, solid review!

  2. Amy

    This book really seemed like it would be so awesome, but I have heard a lot of not so great reviews for it. The cover is really cool at least. Sorry you didn’t like it more.

  3. I agree with you with most of the points you provided. I, for one, enjoyed this enough to give it four stars, but I guess those merely came from the entertainment value. The characters were definitely bland, selfish, and annoying to the bone, so I guess in a way I was kind of glad that they all… you know… the ending. LOL.

    What I didn’t get was why anyone didn’t stop to question the fact they’re sending teenagers to the moon. It’s like logic just went right outside the window! :/

    Great review 😀

    Faye @ The Social Potato

    • Thanks!

      Yeah, maybe that was the author’s intent – so we wouldn’t get too attached to anyone. Mia pissed me off the most. I wish the rocket had blown up in space when she traveled.

  4. It’s really hard to like a book when you don’t connect with the characters and I often wonder if translation also makes an impact on how the book is interpreted. Great review.

  5. LOL! I recently finished this book, and I think this review is pretty much spot on. All three of the main characters were so flat and stale for me, and it was really hard for me to feel bad for them because they were so cardboardy. I would have liked to get some more explanation on what was going on as well—your comment on the translation is probably spot on, really.

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