172 Hours on the Moon

Author: Johan Harstad
Rating: 2.5 / 5 stars
Verdict: Bury

Okay, I am sorry, but these are the three most annoying, ungrateful kids in the entire world.  Do you know what I would give to go into space?  My friend made it to the second to last round of selection to be an astronaut, and that’s probably as close as I will ever come to traveling into space, even if private ventures start manned trips back into space in my lifetime.  These three teenagers, out of the billions of people on the planet, are selected to join a small group of NASA astronauts on a 172 hours visit to the moon.  And what are the reactions we see from them?  They are just worried about having homework over the summer, and pissed that their friends will be living their regular lives of fun and sun in the summer while they are away training and, oh yeah, in SPACE.  Please.  I am so disgusted with these characters this book is almost unbearable to read.

My annoyance with the characters is not the only issue I have with this novel.  Plot holes come into play as well.  For instance, how in the world could they have gotten all the equipment for DARLAH 2 up into space without people realizing they built a station on the moon?  And how could no one have seen it from Earth with a telescope?  The layout of the station looked massive, and I cannot even begin to imagine the payload that would have had to be sent into space in order to build it.  It would have required numerous trips to the moon with various shuttles, and yet it seems to have just passed by the entire general public?

After characters and plot holes, we arrive at the plot itself.  There is a small portion of this novel that is actually a little interesting, but it is short.  The plot takes a long time to build up, and all the interesting parts for me of preparing for a trip to the moon (the training, the take off, the landing, the flight itself, etc) are all pretty much skimmed over, instead focusing on these three teenagers primarily, who are not that interesting.

And then we arrive at the heart of the story, the mystery of the secret mission, and the strange letters and the incidents on the moon… well, that is just too far removed for me.  It’s sci-fi for sure, but it’s more paranormal than anything else, as the author comes out and flat out says that it isn’t what you would expect for a sci-fi novel.  And the ending is a little predictable, and also incredibly unfulfilling and deflating.  For an award winning novel that has been translated into other languages, overall I am pretty disappointed with it.

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