The blog of the highly opinionated Sgt. Octopus

172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

355 pages / April 2012 / Add on Goodreads

172 Hours on the Moon was absolutely the craziest and scariest young adult book I have ever read, at least since 8th grade. It’s really hard to say what exactly I liked about it without spoiling it.

I’m going to shy away from critiquing the language of the book as it was a translation and I feel like there were a few parts that weren’t translated in a way that makes sense in english, however it does not effect the imagery of this novel. Especially the suspense, Johan Harstad definitely knows how to build up suspense. I remember at several points I had been reading the book at night and just couldn’t sleep because of this book.

To give a bit of a comparison for the atmosphere it definitely reminded me of 2001: A Space Odyssey, it had the same sort of 60s sort of creepy foreign vibe to it and was what really made the book for me. There were also some plot choices that reminded me of the movie as well, they’re still each uniquely their own but it would be easy to recommend one to someone who liked the other.

There were some things that kind of disappointed me about this book, however. Namely the organization of the novel was a bit haphazard, I felt like there was a lot of things that just seemed more random than purposeful but at the same time gave off a feeling of having a purpose while reading. By the end of the book it just felt like most of the scarier parts of the build up were just there to scare, not to build up a plot.

However this haphazard type of organization also provided a way to introduce us to multiple characters without having a specific main character. I loved this. It was such a breathe of fresh air, as this sort of narration seems to be getting rare in fiction. It also allowed for the ending to have happened the way it did without it being revealed until the right moment.

Which brings me to my last point, I wish there was more to this novel. It was such an enjoyable story that just seemed way too vague for the amounts of epic it contained. I would have loved to hear more about the horrors they found on the moon.


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