Book Review: 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

Title: 172 Hours On the Moon
Author: Johan Harstad, translated by Tara F. Chase
Published: 2012
Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi Horror

Synopsis: Three teenagers are going on the trip of a lifetime. Only one is coming back. It’s been more than forty years since NASA sent the first men to the moon, and to grab some much-needed funding and attention, they decide to launch an historic international lottery in which three lucky teenagers can win a week-long trip to moon base DARLAH 2.

My Rating: Red-StarRed-Star (DNF)

This book had the unfortunate role of being read as my big life change happened – I changed jobs. It’s been a crazy 6 days, 6 days that I have attempted to read this book in the mist of a horrible head-cold and training etc.

I went back and forth for a while as I read the text when things had calmed down but I still could not read more than 10-15 pages at a time. I want to say that I’m EXTREMELY UNHAPPY that I did not enjoy this book. This was one of my most anticipated reads of 2016 and here we are. Now, I want to make it clear that I’ve only read and can only rate the translated text. I got to 68% of the book when I realized that at the rate I was going it would take me another 6 days to finish it while disliking it more and more with each page.

The problem with this book was 3 things that I felt gave it the death knell:  unlikable characters, terrible pacing, sloppy writing. Yikes, sounds worse when written.

  1. Unlikable characters: Our three main characters are Mia, a 16 year old with a teen attitude, horribly annoying parents and a rock band who is forced to enter the contest of going to the moon and of course wins. Antoine, a love-sick French teen who longs to get back at his ex-girlfriend and ends up winning. Midori, a 16 year old Japanese teen who doesn’t fit in and would love to live in New York and finds the way out to win this contest and achieve her move. I must say that these are some of the most underdeveloped, stereotypical teens I’ve met to date and it painfully felt like teens written by adults, if it makes sense.

    One of the worst things I found was that the author decided to not show many of the vital moments that would make the reader feel their connection to one another but instead told us about it later making it feel as if I was reading a fairytale told from the future versus a high-tension thriller that made me fear for the teens lives. At 68% of the story I was ready for all of them to die. Also, one of the worst plotted out romances between Mia and Antoine – they had 2 VERY short conversations before Mia told the reader in a rather absurdly detached way that she loved him, the connection is lost to the reader and I was left scratching my head wondering when that happened.

  2. Terrible pacing: If you look at my timeline in goodreads I keep saying 38% we’re still not in the moon, 46% wait-how did this happen so fast?? The pacing was bad, guys. Half the book is a dry long droll and the other half starts to unravel the moon situation but it’s done in a choppy dry manner, not allowing you to care or form emotional connection the characters that are dying.
  3. Sloppy writing: What I mean by this is that instead of getting into the grit of things, giving those details you need to visualize a round world we are given oddly worded sentences that consist mostly of action. Now, I want to say that perhaps this might be a translation issue but I shall never know. Either way, it reads like stereo instructions.

Very disappointed, I’m not slumpy I’m just very busy between this stupid cold that I have acquired and the new job that has kept me swamped I’ve had little time for reading but I am starting the next book in the Winner’s Trilogy so I’m excited about that.

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