Saturday, March 9, 2013

{Review} 172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

Title: 172 Hours on the Moon
Author: Johan Harstad
Format: Library Hardcover
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release date: April 17, 2012
Date Read: March 1, 2013 - March 9, 2013
Rating: ✭✭✭✭

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.(less)

172 HOURS ON THE MOON is frightening. The hold-me-I'm-shaking-I'll-never-look-at-the-universe-the-same-way-again type of frightening. Call it whatever you'd like: nightmare-inducing, chilling, fear on paper. Whatever you do call it, 172 HOURS ON THE MOON is bound to scare the living daylights out of you.

I mean, unless you're one of them.

172 HOURS ON THE MOON is 355 pages of pure terror written by Johan Harstad, a Norwegian man who obviously must've gone to the moon and experienced these things to write about them so... gorgeously.

It tells the tale of three teens from around the world that have won the NASA lottery for a chance to go to the moon. Each teenager has their own reasons for wanting to get away: Mia, from Norway, who wants to publicize her band; Midori, from Japan, who longs to escape from her controlled life in Japan; and Antoine, from France, who just wants to GET AWAY FROM HIS EX-GIRLFRIEND that is so French I can't even omg

But they're not the only ones on the moon, and when you're being hunted 238,900 miles away from the Earth, no one's coming to save you.


"We don't belong here. Not at all."

First of all, this book gave me all the feels. And by feels I mean waking up in cold sweat, being afraid to go out at night and see the moon, and constantly wanting to talk to my best friend about it because I NEEDED TO LET IT OUT.

It's not very hard to figure out what's stalking the group on the moon, but it's how Johan tells it that ultimately won me over. As my best friend said to me: it seems like the stupidest thing in the world, but while you're reading it it's tremendously scary.

As horrifying as it was, it was also really confusing. If you've read this or do eventually read it, I think you'll know what I mean. There seem to be gaps in the books were the reader required information, and I'm not sure if it's because the book was translated into English from Norwegian, or just because Johan’s weak spot is the 'hey let's make it clear for the reader to understand' part.

Johan's writing was pretty awesome, though I'm sure that in its native form it would've been much better. The dark and eery writing style, third-person omniscient, with multiple points of view, suited the book extremely well. It wasn't overly descriptive with figurative language and insisted on being more of the quiet, whispery-type of writing. While not often humorous, 172 Hours on the Moon wasn't meant to be. 

The characters seemed, at times, to lack in development, but other times every single character was so carefully constructed it was unbelievable. Their reactions, their tendencies, and their voices tended to either be real and genuine or totally ridiculous.

I liked Mia enough. She had hopes and dreams like every other teenager, and she really was kick-butt when it came down to it. I really despised Midori at first, because she was annoying, assuming brat. Eventually I warmed up to her, though. Antoine cracked me up every time he made an appearance because he was just so... French.

"He gave the two girls a gloomy look. "If either of you wants to have your very own room on the moon right now, you're very welcome to mine. It isn't exactly how I . . . envisioned it."

Mia took the hint and gave him a wry smile. "Okay, Antoine. Come on. Your girls will look after the poor little Frenchman who's afraid of being alone."

Antoine threw up his arms and looked around as if to say, Can you blame me? and followed them into the room."
Want to get away from the ex-girlfriend? LET'S GO THE MOTHERFUCKING MOON, YO.

There's all the stereotypes about the French being perverted and creepily romantic and crazy, but having been raised in a French environment, I know it's not all lies. For a small country, France is completely nuts and we're proud of it.

Obviously, so is Antoine.

That ending was fucking mind-blowing. It's one of those cliffhanger endings where you feverishly wish for a sequel, but don't at the same time.

172 HOURS ON THE MOON was a chilling and immersive read that I'd definitely pick up again. It was my first horror-science fiction novel - I mean, something this scary couldn't possibly be science-horror fiction - and it was fantastic.

Oceana is a French-blooded teenager who enjoys stalking British boys and asking them to marry her. She was diagnosed with severe fangirl disorder in 2011. Able to curse like a sailor with an angelic voice.


  1. I found the first half of the book totally boring! But I liked the mystery and the tension. I think the end hints to a second book?

    1. Yeah, the first half was much slower compared to the rest. To be honest, I don't think he's going to have a sequel. It was a perfect, terrifying ending that shouldn't be ruined by a follow-up.