Why I read it: It exploded on social media and after I heard the description, I had to read it. I got lucky and scored an e-ARC from Net Galley!
Who I’d recommend it to: YA sci-fi fans, especially if you’re looking for diverse reads. Must love puns.
My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ (3.5 stars…maybe?)
What it’s about:
Rumor Mora fears two things: hellhounds too strong for him to kill, and failure. Jude Welton has two dreams: for humans to stop killing monsters, and for his strange abilities to vanish.
But in no reality should a boy raised to love monsters fall for a boy raised to kill them.
Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with Dahlia, her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from his mother’s shadow, and to unlearn Epsilon’s darkest secret.
They’ll both have to commit treason to find the truth.
During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left.
27 Hours is a sweeping, thrilling story featuring a stellar cast of queer teenagers battling to save their homes and possibly every human on Sahara as the clock ticks down to zero.
I want to start by saying that I really liked this book. It was one of my most anticipated 2017 releases, and I literally screamed and danced around when I was approved for an ARC.
At the end of the review, I’ve included some links to other blogs, including one from Tristina.
Wright’s writing is fantastic. With every scene, every character, every place, I felt like I was there and could see and hear it all. The descriptions were great. Every character really stood out, too. I never had the issue of confusing two of them, like I’ve experienced with some other books with such a huge cast. I’m really hoping that in the next book we’ll have more time with more chimeras, because I’m so freaking interested! I want to know everything about them and the different kinds. A couple were explained in 27 Hours, but there’s so much more to learn about them, and the moon. Oh. My. Gods. The moon, you guys! I don’t want to say much so I don’t spoil something, but holy crap it’s awesome and I want to know more! There are other things I really want to know more about that involve at least two of the characters and the moon and the chimeras, but I don’t want to talk about that because ~spoilers.~ But I’m really hoping it’s addressed more in the next book, because I need answers! (It’s not really a plot-hole kind of lack-of-answers, it’s just a really good thing to not fully explain in book one so it can be explored more later in the series.)
The diversity in this book is the best I’ve ever encountered, and I want a thousand more books with rep like this or better. We have multiple main POC characters, a bisexual deaf character, a couple of gay characters (if I remember right), a pansexual trans character, an asexual character, a lesbian couple and a gender neutral (I think, so please correct me if I’m wrong) character. There were probably more, but I stupidly didn’t take many notes about anything because I read this in like a day and didn’t think about it. So, A+ for diversity, I think. (But definitely check out other reviews from people whose voices count more than mine for things like the POC, deafness, ace, trans, and gender-neutral reps, because I really can’t make any comments or judgments about those. I’ve been seeing some not so positive comments about some of these reps since I read the book.) I can’t speak for most of the rep, but omg the pansexual character. My ❤ I had to take short breaks a couple of times because I related so much to what she was going through. What she experienced captured so well how I felt for a while in high school and shortly after, and it felt so good to finally see some pan rep in a book. I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life for this, and I wish this book had existed when I was in high school.
The romances were so. freaking. cute. I’m usually thinking something like, “Ok, ok, I get it, they like each other, blah blah blah, can we get back to the story, now?” when I read a book with a romance sub-plot. Not so with 27 Hours. Honestly, I loved the romances. The puns from one character almost killed me, though. (I related to that, too.) From the very beginning, I was rooting for the couples as well as the individual characters. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted book characters to get together and be happy as much as I did while reading this book.
This book is action packed. Like, from the first couple of pages, it barely lets up until the very end. This is about a 400 page book and I almost read it in one sitting. (I read it during a read-a-thon, but that’s still not normal for me.) There are constant threats of danger, fight scenes, escape scenes, just…so much action. I was literally on the edge of my seat for a while, my eyes flying over the words as fast as they could to find out if everyone made it out of whatever situation they were in. It was intense, but awesome.
And the not so good…
All that said, I have been sitting, thinking about this book and how to review it for a couple of weeks because I had mixed feelings.
When I first started this book, I liked it. Very soon, I loved it. But, the whole time I was reading it, I kept thinking something was a little “off,” or at least something made me feel a little weird. The idea was a confused, insubstantial thing in the back of my mind until I came across a couple of reviews that put it into words far more eloquently, I’m sure, than I can. This is a story of, essentially, human settlers vs the native beings (called “chimeras,” or, the derogatory term “gargoyles”) of a moon far, far from Earth, and the war they’ve been fighting for a few decades. I remember thinking it reminded me of something, while I was reading, but I read it so fast I didn’t really process it until later. It reminds me of European “settlers” fighting with and stealing land from indigenous people all over the place here on Earth.
Looking back, it kind of bothers me that all the perspectives in the book are human characters, and there are no chapters from the chimeras’s POV. That might not be the case with the next books, I don’t know. I just wish there’d been at least a few chapters from a chimera’s, or multiple chimeras’s, POV. At no point, that I remember, does it come across that the actions of humans against chimeras are justified or anything like that, though. The issues of the colonization are addressed in the book, pretty directly, I think. It might not be perfect, but it’s not brushed aside or ignored.
Another thing that just confused me was how all the people seem to have gone from varied cultures from all over Earth to being very Westernized and speaking one language (“the human language”), as far as I remember. This is set in the future, but I don’t remember there being any indication of how far in the future it’s set. There are mentions of where people’s families came from on Earth, and what things are left that their ancestors brought with them, and I just think it’s a little weird that they would have all adopted one language and forgotten their old ones and their customs and traditions and stuff. (There were a couple of words that weren’t in English, like one character referring to her “abuela,” so some things from Earth and the other languages still exist, apparently, but not everything.)
I also don’t remember race (with humans) really being addressed much, other than indicating POC or white characters. So…is racism and all the other nasty prejudices on Earth right now, no longer part of this universe? Because of the human-chimera relations, prejudices obviously still exist. But there’s never any mention of racism, homophobia, etc. with humans. Did we actually manage to eventually, in however many years in the future this is set, get past it? Is it just that way with the settlers on that moon? Maybe I’m over-thinking all of this, idk, but I have questions. (It’s also possible that I missed some explanations in my binge read.)
Lastly, while I thought the world-building was very good, there were times when I was really confused for a while. I think I eventually caught up because things were explained later, but the characters are, in my opinion, more developed and stronger than the world-building. That didn’t bother me too much because I usually prefer character driven stories, and I struggle with extensive world-building sometimes (I can’t keep track of everything, etc.), and I didn’t feel the world was under developed by the end. It’s just been left open enough for going deeper in subsequent books.
I really, really liked this book, and I’ve been talking about it a lot. Is it perfect? No, but what book is? I think Tristina Wright did the best possible job she could, and it’s pretty clear that she put in the work for the reps in this book. You can’t please everyone or capture everyone’s identity in one book, because everyone’s experience is very different. I personally felt a connection to a couple of characters in this book at various points, but that doesn’t mean everyone will have the same experience.
I’m torn between 3 & 4 stars, but I’m leaving it at 4 for now, I think. Maybe I’ll say 3.5 stars.
I will most likely read the next book, and probably count down days to release day after we get an official date. (It’s going to be a while, I’m sure, since this one just came out on the 3rd.)
This was probably the hardest review I’ve ever written, and I’m still not sure I managed to say what I mean. I tried, and all I can do now is direct you to other posts from people who can talk about the things I can’t.
Aimal’s review (colonialism, racial rep, etc. is discussed at length; great review, give it a read)
Laura’s review (has links and stuff to things people had issues with)
Tristina Wright’s statement/apology issued about race and queer IDs
Ann Elise’s review (ace/aro rep discussion)
Avery’s review (ace rep, gender rep)
There are probably many more blog posts out there that talk about these important subjects, from people more qualified than I am, but these were the ones I found shortly after reading the book, while trying to figure out how to put into words what I thought of everything.