I have had this book on my TBR from the moment it was announced. I’m sad to say that it took me far longer than it should have to finish it because … well… it was a struggle.
Short recap: Five teenagers fight against rebel gargoyles who are trying to take back the planet that humans “stole” from them.
You read that correctly. GARGOYLES. That’s the big take away, right? That’s the part I was hung up on. Gar. Goyles. Even though there is a very diverse cast of characters, I couldn’t get past the mythical creatures from folktales that sit upon rooftops and steal children in the night. This book was entertaining yet bad at the same time. There was so much potential but I feel the story fell short of what it could have been.
First, the characters. When I say there is a diverse cast of characters, I mean diverse. Almost to the point that it felt like too much. There were several bisexual teens, a pansexual, an asexual, a deaf character, and probably more that I missed. In a way, it felt like Wright was going above and beyond to include as much diversity as she could, like she was checking boxes on a list. These teen characters also told the story, meaning there were four different points of view – three boys and a girl. It was hard to connect with any of them as they were driven by their hormones more than anything. The three boys, Rumor, Jude, and Breadon, were the voices. Rumor was bi, Jude was gay, and Braedon was asexual. They all made it a big deal to discuss several times what their sexual preferences were. I still fail to see how that added to the overall story. I didn’t care who was trying to get it on with who in a dark alley between battles. Let’s not forget the females – Nyx and Dahlia. Nyx was the deaf pansexual and Dahlia was the bi. Nyx was the female POV throughout the story. She would not stop going on about her instalove with Dahlia. That took away from the story in my eyes. I was in this for the dystopia battle for a planet, not hormonal teenagers. OH! Did I fail to mention that within this band of merry characters, three of which possessed special gifts? That’s right! I won’t ruin what they are but know on top of everything else, you had to keep straight who could do what. Confused yet? I know I still am. The way each of these characters were written and the way the POV switched so quickly and so often made me not connect with anyone. Plus, they felt flat and underdeveloped for me. Soon I couldn’t tell who was narrating the story.
The world building. Now when it comes to a sci-fi dystopian action story, world building is key. This is the foundation in which a story is made or broken. In this case, broken. 27 Hours is set about 200 years-ish in the future and everyone lives on “a moon”. On this moon there are 27 hours of light, and 27 hours of day. Not that far of a stretch but ok. Humans colonized this “moon” many centuries ago while it was already inhabited by a race of gargoyles. Still with me? The humans simply took over the planet and killed a huge chunk of the gargoyle population. Hence the battle that takes place. While the humans continue to thrive it is noted several times that there is no race, no discrimination, one common language, and everyone works in harmony. What did not jive with me is that even though this group of humans is only two or three generations removed from living on Earth, they suddenly all forget their heritage? They all forget where their ancestors came from? You want me to believe that they all forgot their entire family history while living on Earth? Get out of here with that noise. Instead of these teens knowing where they come from, they are noted as being “Half Nigerian and Half Portuguese”. Well, isn’t that convenient. How can they still be “half and half” when their parents were clearly born on “the moon”? I’m so lost.
On top of that, Wright expects me to just buy into the fact that this race of humans that took over a planet just overlooked the cruelty they inflicted on another race? The humans blocked a river to created a giant lake which caused several tunnels to flood and killed countless gargoyles. You can’t really expect me to believe the humans didn’t know what they were doing. The gargoyle population was on that moon eons before humans showed up so why not try to make peace with them instead of teaching kids “shoot gargoyles on sight”?
The last thing that I had issue with was pacing. Holy moly was the pacing off. The big massive battle that starts the war within the story starts within the first five pages of the book. No lie. I don’t mind action starting early but not that quickly. I would have prefered some lead up or character/story explanation before jumping right into battle. All I knew was that Rumor was forced to fight a gargoyle to save his life and the life of his dad. I didn’t know anything about the history of the planet, the characters, the weapons being used nothing. BAM! Fight scenes, blood, death, and destruction. Books that start with action right out of the gate usually cannot keep that pace going and that is what happened. There was so much hurry up and wait. All of the back and forth with the pacing caused me to lose whatever connection I had with the story. I will also admit to you, my lovely readers, that I skimmed a good majority of this story. If it was a descriptive or internal monologue paragraph (or five), I skimmed until I found dialogue. Let me tell you this – it worked. I didn’t miss anything by skimming/skipping those paragraphs. It’s the only thing that got me to the end.
Overall, I wanted so much more from this story. It did set up for book 2 but it didn’t set it up in a way that I will be foaming at the mouth to read. If it comes available from the library then I may give it a chance. I will not actively seek this series out. It had so much potential but it was just too much. Too many things were going on and it became overly crowded. I couldn’t figure out where I needed to give my attention: the hormonal teenagers without adult supervision, GARGOYLES, humans living on the moon, what? I get how some readers consider it an important and necessary book because of the diversity of the characters. Know that I am not dismissing this book on that basis alone, I’m saying do not base your entire want of reading this story on that notion alone. Borrow the book from a friend or the library before spending your money on this one.