Book Review: 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

Posted April 17, 2012 by Melissa in Book Review | 6 Comments


172 Hours on the Moon
Author:  Johan Harstad
Reading level: Young Adult
Genre:  Science Fiction/Horror
Size: 368 pages
Release Date:  April 17th 2012
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

First Line:  “Gentlemen, it’s time,” Dr. (Blacked out) said, eyeing the seven men in suits seated around the large conference table.

Summary (from GoodReads):
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—a place that no one but top government officials even knew existed until now. The three winners, Antoine, Midori, and Mia, come from all over the world.

But just before the scheduled launch, the teenagers each experience strange, inexplicable events. Little do they know that there was a reason NASA never sent anyone back there until now—a sinister reason. But the countdown has already begun.

My Thoughts:

I was absolutely thrilled to get my hands on this ARC and I’ll start by saying that happily it almost lived up to my expectations. (They were probably too high).

I loved how the author slowly introduced each of the teens and their perspectives over the beginning third of the novel…and then built up to the take off in the middle of the book.  At times it may have seemed a bit slow paced while I was reading it, but in retrospect Johan Harstad did an excellent job of building up to the actual space flight and time on the moon.  I think it was that build up and anticipation which made the latter part of the book so thrilling.

One does, as with any science fiction story, need to suspend disbelief otherwise you will never be able to get over the initial hurdle which is that the US government and the teens’ parents are all ready to send random lottery drawn kids with only 2 months of “training” into space. If you can  simply focus on the teens experiences and feeling throughout their individual journeys…you’ll get to the heart of any good thriller–the character development. (Sadly though…these characters are not long for this world–or any other.)

I also loved the little pictures and diagrams that at times accompanied the text.  It made the story feel that much more “real.”  And despite being a translation the writing style flowed easily and seemed to fit well with the content of the book.

The ending was one that I did not in any way expect.  And I would imagine that most readers were also blindsided as I was.  And that takes me to my one complaint about the novel.  The wonderful twist at the end which unfortunately is  complete puzzlement.

Usually after a twist such as this one…the reader can look back and see some small sign or clue that could lead to the ending…or if not a clue…there will be some sort of time gap where one can surmise that an event occurred which the reader was not privy to.  Not so in this case.  I can find no clue nor gap in storytelling to allow for surprise at the end.  And that did sadly leave me with a bit of a disappointment in an otherwise excellent read.

Was it worth my Time?


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6 responses to “Book Review: 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

  1. I definitely agree with you on the disbelief part – I haven’t read the book yet but I’m sure I’d have to concentrate on forgetting how easily the government sends these people out there. Other than that, it sounds like a gripping story! And I just LOVE books that include diagrams and illustrations 🙂

  2. I have to say, you have me very curious about the end! I hadn’t heard of this one for some reason and I’m not sure it’s one I’d pick up on my own but now my curiosity has taken hold so maybe I’ll watch for it at the library in the future. Awesome review!

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