Paperback, 368 pages
Published April 5th 2012 by ATOM
(first published 2008)
The Blurb: (Via Goodreads)
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.
I am very selective and wary about giving anything five stars. (Especially when that said something has such a mixed review going for it) But the way 172 Hours on the Moon captured my attention and imagination, it leaves me little choice. However, I just wanted to start with getting one niggle out of the way. Throughout the story the whole concept of NASA sending teenagers to the moon seemed way over the top and unbelievable. If you can get past this and just accept the fiction as it is, then this is definitely a book worth the reading.
Whilst browsing my local discount book shop, they had one of those "three for a fiver" offers and 172 Hours appeared semi- interesting. I thought the cover work was very well done and after reading the story even more so. The image of a girl looking down at clasped hands with her reflection looking at the audience with somewhat of a scowl, is very intriguing. Offering that the girl is not all what she appears to be.
I really enjoyed how the book was put together; using imagery from space missions and floor plans of the space station on the moon. As a reader, I can sometimes find conjuring up places in my mind quite difficult, often forgetting the layout and where characters are placed, so this was really helpful to me personally.
though some people have written that they felt the characters weren't very well written, i would have to disagree. The book introduced characters and backgrounds thoroughly and systematically.too much more and it would have been tedious. I felt the teens were really well described at the time of life they were experiencing. Their thoughts, emotion and reactions to situations were believable. The romance between characters was somewhat predictable, but also fit very well into the plot.
When I began reading, I have to admit that I was in two minds as to whether this book was going to be for me, but I really enjoyed the style of writing and the flow of the story unfolding.
Mia in particular stood out for me. More or less our heroine of the hour, but when I first started reading about her, I really didn’t like her. She was whining and selfish. Self-obsessed and down right irritating. But there were also strengths in her that the other characters needed and responded to.
I didn’t expect the level of horror in the book. But the moon proves to be the perfect setting. Dark and desolate. The intensity of the mood as the author adds more layers is perfect for growing fear. Perhaps I was too closed mined when I first started reading, I mean; what else could a writer possibly bring to the table about Space other than little green men chasing the characters around the moon? I can’t go into much detail here in fear of spoiling it for other readers, but the horror in this story is woven into the plot very well. They definitely find something up there and you really don’t want "that" making its way down here... It’s chilling. I think what was very interesting about Harstand as a writer, is the way he built his work of fiction around snippets of fact. It gives the story... for want of better words... another level.
What really gives this book five stars for me personally, was that it took me back to reading horror for the first time as a young reader. I was totally absorbed in the story and couldn’t put it down.
Quote: Page 167 (Mia) “...This was followed by a thought – she had no idea where it had come from – but if forced its way into her consciousness and scared her to death: In space, no one can hear you scream.”
As a reader it is hard to find a book that gives a satisfying ending. With 172 Hours on the Moon, I was thrilled with the plot twists and and the finishing touches that Harstand provides his readers. I would say to anyone, give it a go. It might just surprise you. It did me!