Review by Alyssa
April 2012 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Amazon + Good Reads
"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."
Me, the first half of this book:
But seriously, this book started so slowly. So. Damn. Slow. 172 Hours on the Moon came with incredibly high recommendations and the synopsis is exciting - three teens sent to the moon where the government knows that something sinister, dangerous, evil is waiting for them? Sign me the hell up... but the actual execution? Meh.
The first half of the book is spent introducing us to the three teens (Mia, Midori, and Antoine), and following their lives leading up to the space expedition. It was slow, it wasn't particularly interesting, and I felt like I was trudging through waiting for the good stuff. I don't think that it was necessary to spend so much time building up to the action... but I know that horror stories are typically incredibly slow before diving into a ridiculous amount of action but God. I nearly DNF-ed it.
However, the story was saved when the crew finally gets to the moon. First of all, the idea of space travel is terrifying to me. It's enormous, no one can help you if something goes wrong, and oh yeah, you can't breathe up there. Across the Universe? Terrifying. 172 Hours on the Moon? This is what my nightmares are made of. And thank you, Johan Harstad - you've only made it worse for me. Not only does Harstad describe the moon as a completely desolate and isolated place, he tints everything with a feeling of horror. Does that make sense? I don't know. Every single sentence has a sinister and eerie feeling to it and... UGH. It really freaked me out!
Now, to talk about what is on the moon waiting for the crew would be an enormous spoiler - so I'm going to say, read it... or look for a spoiler-y review on Good Reads. But I have never, ever read a book that uses that paranormal creature. It was an entirely new concept to me which was very interesting... because let's be honest - it's difficult to write a YA book with a paranormal creature that hasn't already been done. But Harstad, you did it and you scared the crap of out me.
I'm not sure who I'd recommend this book to. If you like sci-fi, yeah, you'd probably like this. If you're a fan of horror, sure - give it a read. But know that it starts very slowly, picks up with incredible speed, and the action only lasts for small part of the book. 172 Hours on the Moon was a solid three stars for me... but at least it freaked me out, right?