27 Hours by Tristina WrightThe Nightside Saga #1
Published on October 3, 2017 by Entangled Teen
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
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.
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I struggled to write this review, probably more than I have in a while for a book. Part of this is because I’ve seen backlash on lower rated reviews for 27 Hours and there are SO MANY higher ratings that I thought that I was crazy for not enjoying this one as much as other readers have. And before I say anything more I want to add in a few disclaimers.
First, this review is not a reflection on the author as a person. I don’t follow them or keep up with what’s going on in regards to their work or this book. I received 27 Hours for review and that’s it. Second, I cannot say whether the rep featured in this book is good or not because I am not a part of any of the groups mentioned so comments on the rep should be considered with that in mind. And finally, I read for entertainment. A book can be beautifully diverse and not entertain me, and that’s where I sit with this one.
I generally like to start off with the characters. 27 Hours bounces between four different points of view. Each character is not only culturally and racially unique, but they also feature a wide variety of sexualities. It’s honestly amazing. We need more of this in fiction, especially SFF. Again, I can’t speak to the rep but I can say that I think the character diversity was my favorite part of this book.
But while you could write a detailed character bio for each one, I never cared about them. For all the diversity, the characters fell flat for me. I see this happen a lot when a book features multiple PoVs, especially right off the bat (compared to series that introduce more as the story progresses). I guess I never really understood why we needed this many perspectives, especially when none featured a character from the other side of the story’s colonist vibe. Furthermore, this book seemed to be so focused on the diversity that it lost the story, the world, everything else that I would look for as a reader.
Now, you probably think I’m crazy. Too much diversity? No, that’s not what I’m saying here. My point is that it felt like the characters became their respective diverse representations but that’s where the development of their personalities and backgrounds stopped. I saw this with Sal in Mask of Shadows as well. To offer a contrasting title, Marie Lu’s Warcross is not only beautifully diverse but it was written in a way that the story is fully fleshed out and engaging, and the various representations are as much a part of the book as the story and world. Nothing is sacrificed there.
Characters aside, I had issues with the world-building and the pacing. I’m picky about my science fiction. I want to feel that this world is real. Humans colonizing a new planet in the next couple centuries then forgetting where they came from? Unrealistic to me. The fact that we teach history in school NOW, for starters, makes me question if the timeline for this story should have been more removed into the future. Yet the writing style, the language used, it gave me the sense we were in the present day, not the future. I felt like this world was a lot of surface with little depth.
As for the pacing, we’re thrown right into the action from Chapter 1. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there wasn’t enough time spent on introducing the opening character (Rumor) so all of these things are happening but as a reader, I’m not invested in the character to care whether they make it out of the conflict or not. This became a reoccurring problem when the chapters moved between characters so quickly that I never latched on to even one of them to invest in their future. No matter how good or bad a story is, the characters make it or break it for me. If I can’t get behind the characters, I can’t get into the book.
So. In short, 27 Hours did a great job at bringing diversity to YA SFF but the execution of the story left me wanting more. I think this book had the potential to be amazing but didn’t quite reach it. I’ll reiterate once more: this is a reflection of the book, not the author. I was reading for enjoyment and I didn’t get that, unfortunately.