Saturday, 12 May 2012

Review for 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad
Publisher: Atom
Release Date: 5th April 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Dystopian, Horror, Thriller
Rating: 4/5 stars
Source: Received from the publisher for review

Amazon Summary:
"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..."

Despite 172 Hours on the Moon being a futuristic novel instead of being set way in the future like other books in the ever popular dystopian genre this book begins in 2010 with NASA setting in motion plans for a huge global event with three teenagers from around the world being sent on a life changing trip to the moon in 2019 to spark an interest in space in a younger generation and to attract media attention for publicity and much needed funding. And so jumping ahead to the year 2018 a global lottery is held and three lucky teens Mia, Antoine, and Midori are chosen to be the youngest people ever to venture into space after a years worth of training with NASA marking a historic and life changing event.

However there’s a reason why nobody has been sent back to the moon before now. Something evil and destructive awaits them that has the potential to change life as we know it. As soon as they land strange and increasingly disturbing situations start taking place and so begins one of the most terrifying books in YA. On a fight for their lives and a race against time the groups only chance of survival is to get off this planet. In a group of eight with five trained astronauts, and three teenagers only one will make it back to earth alive…

This book was a total thrill ride of a read that read like part sci-fi part horror story. Imagine being stranded on the moon so far from home with people who are barely more than strangers with dwindling oxygen and supplies and worst of all an evil and horrifying presence determined that you’ll never make it home? Yeah pretty scary stuff! I was so gripped by this book and needed to know what on earth (or should I say moon?) was going on and what would happen next so badly that it was a total case of thinking “okay just one more chapter” “okay just one more” after that to looking up and realising hours had gone by this book was that terrifying, exciting, thrilling and claustrophobic to read.

The book has an alternating narrative told between the three teen winners Mia, Antoine and Midori and occasionally other secondary characters in the book like the astronauts and perhaps most interestingly of all an old man in a retirement home who used to work for NASA and seems to know the horrors of what’s awaiting the group on the moon. The book begins a whole year before the launch with the teens entering this lottery and going into their different reasons for entering. There’s a lot of story before the space journey even begins where you get to know the characters personalities and lives on earth and then their reactions to winning the trip and intensive training with NASA in preparation for a week in space. Although not as action orientated and compulsive as the second half of this book I still really enjoyed learning about the reasons behind them wanting to leave earth and the training and science that goes into a journey such as this one. I also really enjoyed the pictures throughout documenting the trip. It really gives you more of an idea what the group are experiencing which really added to the book.

This book has an insane ending that left me wanting more. I would love it if there was a sequel but in a way it makes a good, if terrifying ending if it’s a standalone too. 172 Hours on the Moon is very different to anything else I’ve ever read before and despite the overflowing genre of dystopians it still brings something fresh and unique to the table. I thoroughly enjoyed this breakneck journey into space although a word of warning: if you haven’t got the time don’t start this book because it will take over your life and I mean that in the best possible way.


  1. Hmm. I have this book on my pile to read. I even started it once but wasn't sure if it was just a bit slow to start with or if I just wasn't in the mood for it. After your review I think I shall give it another chance!

    1. It's definitely slow to start off with then the pace just builds and builds until it's completely gripping! So glad your going to give it another go :)


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