Review: 172 Hours on the Moon

172H

Author: Johan Harstad | Pages: 355 | Series: Standalone/NA | Rating: 3 – 4 stars

Synopsis: 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.

This book threw me for a loop, and I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about it. For the first two-thirds or so, this was a 3-star read for me, sometimes even 2.5. A good bit of the book was spent getting to know the characters, which I guess I can understand, but the flip side was that in the first half of the book or so nothing much happened. I had a hard time connecting to the characters, as well, which made it difficult to want to continue. I did appreciate the cultural diversity in his three teenage characters, though.

Things got a little better once they finally got to the moon. The plot picked up a little, and things actually started to happen. And boy, once things started happening, they never stopped. I was still a little frustrated, though, because it felt like Harstad just kept throwing mentions of crazy things happening without ever actually giving any answers.

It was the ending that made me so conflicted about the rating I wanted to give this book. I really don’t know how much I can say without giving anything away, but I was somehow both expecting it and totally not expecting it.

My main problem after the ending is that it really just added onto my already long list of unanswered questions, some of which can be found below under ‘SPOILERS’.

All in all, I’d give this book somewhere around 3.5 stars. Parts were “HOLY CRAP, did that just happen?” and parts were just “Bleh”.

Three_and_half

SPOILERS BENEATH THE CUT

A few of my many unanswered questions: Where did the doppelgängers come from? How did Coleman, who told them how to recognize the doppelgängers, not notice that ‘Midori’ was one? How did Mia not realize she was dead? For that matter, how did ‘Mia’ not realize she was a doppelgänger? How did the doppelgänger so seamlessly take over her mentality from the moment the airlock opened, and in a suit and everything? Why was the other doppelgänger so frantic to get into the pod if there was already one going? What happened on Earth when the doppelgänger arrived? We never find out, just that there was a DP7 incident or whatever. Have the doppelgängers taken over? Were they killed? If so, how? We’ve already seen that stabbing has no effect. Why do the doppelgängers have to kill?

I’m so confused.

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