Review: 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

Rating: **** / 4 out of 5
Genres: Young Adult, Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Science Fiction
Published April 5, 2012 by ATOM

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.
———————-
In space, no one can hear you scream.

*shiver*

Thirty minutes after finishing this novel, I still feel the chills running down my spine. I’ve always loved space, y’know? I grew up in the countryside where I could get a clear view of the stars, and I would oftentimes spot a meteorite here and there, flashing brightly for a second or two before it disappears in the void that we call the outer space. Endless hours of star gazing has made me a bit ambitious. I’ve dreamt of traveling the cosmos and partaking in intergalactic travel, exploring new planets that could harbour life and meeting intelligent extraterrestrial beings with technology far advanced than ours. Maybe you could blame my addiction to the game series Star Ocean for that, but I don’t deny that the universe and anything beyond our world fascinate me.

Now, after reading 172 Hours on the Moon, I actually feel a bit scared. Guh, I just want to get my blanket and hide under the covers! *looks around*

So. This book. Despite its flaws, it was a compelling and haunting read. I don’t think I’ve read a sci-fi horror thriller that made me feel this way for a long time. Throughout the book, it has kept me at the edge of my seat, gripping page after page after page. It has even made me so excited to get out of my Philosophy of Religion class in order to finish it (and I love my Philosophy class!). Damn, son! I think that whenever I will look at the moon now, I’ll see that silver luminescent celestial body of cheese in an entirely new perspective: hell.

Basically, the book goes like this: there’s the moon, there’s NASA, and there’s this terrible, horrifying secret they don’t want the world to know. But like old capitalist folks who live off of profits that we know too well, they want money, publicity, and more funding. But nobody cares about the moon now. It has been a while since any mission was sent there, and there’s a reason for such, although let’s not get to that, shall we? So what does NASA do? They send the whole world into spiral by announcing they will select three teens via a lottery to join a mission to the moon, making them the youngest people ever to step foot on that big ball of cheese (okay, that’s really old now) rock void of atmosphere. Apparently, in the 70s, the NASA and the Government of the USA set up a research space station over at the Sea of Tranquility in hopes of getting more information on Tantalum Seventy-Three, a rare mineral. So, yeah, gotta have teens to get the world interested, right?

Of course, this premise alone is enough to roll your eyes out of pure and utter disbelief. Teenagers?! In outer space? On the frickin’ moon?

Logic just got thrown right out of the window.

But well, in fiction, I guess logic doesn’t always exist. Oftentimes, you’ll find yourself encountering so many illogical and laughable situations in this book that you’ll grow numb to them. But the thing is, the tension and build-up in this novel were just written so great and hauntingly that you won’t mind them. At all. Sure, an eyeball here and a facepalm there, but in general, you’ll be in suspense with a restless heart, wanting to know more about what happens next. You’ll find yourself being more scared of the moon, no… of what lies on the moon, than anything else. Damn you, book.

So who are our band of heroes? We have Mia, a Norwegian singer who hopes to skyrocket her rock band to fame. We have Midori, a young Japanese cosplayer who aspires to escape her constrained life in Japan. And we also have Antoine, a heartbroken French dude who wants to get away from his ex-girlfriend as far as possible (this guy’s situation just made me laugh).

If you’re looking for character depth or growth, you won’t find it here. But despite having none, I thought they were a pleasure to read, although their overall situation has left me with worry and frustration for their wellbeing. They all have their agendas to follow in joining this space mission, agendas that would become the least of their priorities once they find out the horrors the moon is hiding from them, and will soon reveal. And when you get to that point, you’ll just be, “Wow. That did not just happen.”

It really was a great, fast-paced read that will keep you wanting for more. This space horror will not let you go until you get to the final page. I’m not sure about what’s conventional in horror literature, but the ending here totally blew me away. I did not expect that at all and it was a total mindfuck. Doesn’t mean I liked it, though :( It was a cool, creepy ending, but yeah… ;___;

A 3.5-4/5 stars. Very solid! Would definitely read it again in the future.

The following two tabs change content below.
Faye

Faye

A 21 years old Filipina who loves books, games, languages, and most especially, food. Secretly wishes to be an astronaut so she can explore the stars. Has a love-hate relationship with Philippine politics. To get in her good graces, offer her Foie Gras, Or shrimp. Or a JRPG. A YA sci-fi book works, too. You can follow her on twitter here: @kawaiileena

Comments

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.

    CommentLuv badge