Rummanah Aasi
  It seems as if mankind has always been curious about outer space. To walk or travel to the moon has been on many people's wishlist. What would we find if we go there? What if we could settle there and make it our second home? Johan Harstad's science fiction/horror novel, 172 Hours on the Moon, explores these questions. Please note that this review is based on an advanced reader's copy of the book provided by Little, Brown (thank you!) which no way influenced my review.

Description (from back of the book): 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.

Review:  I was expecting a science fiction/horror book, which is how this book is marketed but unfortunately, it felt flat for me in both ways. Though the book's premise and cover captures a truly creepy idea that immediately makes us think of movies of its kind such as James Cameron's 1986 movie Aliens or Johnny Depp's The Astronaut's Wife.
  There are several laughable moments such as when the evil government head has an epiphany and suggests sending teens up in space. You really have to suspend your disbelief in order to read the book and ignore the many plot holes that might arguably be as big as black holes. All the buildup to the moon launch only exists to establish the various one dimensional characters, who really felt cardboard cutouts that didn't leave any impression at all. All that we know of the teens selected is how and why they applied to NASA's lottery. I had hoped that once these teens were selected and were on the moon they would get some depth alas there was an unemotional romance between the two characters that seemed to be tacked on to the story. Once the 'suspense' starts, you can practically identify every cliche found in sci-fi horror movies is here. You already know how the book will end, making the book boring and a chore to finish.

 Don't get me wrong, the book had great potential. We are never told what happened to the first mission. Perhaps if the characters had found some kind of captain's log from that mission we could have learned more or maybe if the one person who knew anything wasn't an Alzheimer's patient and could actually remember something? Maybe if we got to actually and get emotionally attached to the characters we could actually feel their terror instead of making it all happen off screen. 
 Overall, this book did absolutely nothing for me and to be completely honest, I'm not really sure who to recommend it to. Maybe those who enjoy a B-rated horror movie or who are excited to see Prometheus.  

Rating: 1 star

Words of Caution: There is strong language and disturbing, violent images. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, BZRK by Michael Grant, Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
7 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    OH NO!!! I'm reading this one next week! Shoot, I was hoping it was going to be creepy and interesting and a fun sci-fi read. Maybe if I'm prepared for the flat characters going in it won't be as much of a problem for me. Thanks for the honest review Rummanah, I'm glad I read it before picking this book up:)

  2. Doesn't really sound like something I'd be interested in, which is really too bad because the cover is really cool. LOL, "the evil government head has an epiphany and suggests sending teens up in space." WTF? That is so random. Who all of the sudden decides that teens should go up into space. It doesn't even make sense. Those are the kind of plot holes you cannot cover up lightly.

  3. EEEEEEEEEEK! Well, that is false advertising if I've ever seen it. Based on the cover you would expect something truly horrific. Bum deal that it didn't exactly deliver. Even with the warning that you have to suspend believe, I know the unrealistic premise and plot holes would annoy me.

    But thanks for reminding me to see if I could put The Astronaut's Wife in my netflix queue!

  4. Always disappointing when a book doesn't work. I could tell from the summary that I wouldn't like this one, but it's too bad it didn't work for someone who wanted to like it. I hate when I end up laughing at the book instead of with the book.

  5. This didn't sound like my book to begin with but your review certainly didn't help matters. I'll skip the flat characters and plot full of holes, thank you very much :)

  6. Rummanah- Are you saying that the books you're suggesting if someone likes this book are as bad as it is or is just similar to it. Cause I thought Relic was one of the most tense books I've ever read. Just sayin'.

    As for this one, no thanks! I have little patience for Science Fiction, but this just sounds bad. Too many great books out there to read a bad one. Kudos to you for finishing it! I probably wouldn't have.


  7. @Heather: Just stories that sound alike or would fit the suspense/sci fi/horror aspect of this book.

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