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.
“Propaganda and hearsay are elegant weapons for killing questions.”
I put off writing this review for a while, because I couldn’t figure out exactly what I wanted to say, or how to say it. This book is being advertised as “queer teens in space”, and that’s accurate, but that’s honestly the least of what this book is about , and I’d like to tell you why: for anything that any reader may like or dislike about 27 Hours, you have to acknowledge that Tristina Wright created a fantasy/sci-fi world in which white and straight are no longer the default .
No representation is going to be perfect for every single individual, because marginalized individuals are not a monolith. Queer teens are not a monolith. POC are not a monolith. I can’t say the bi rep in this book is perfect for every bi person, but I can say it’s perfect for me, just like youcannot say this rep is bad (by doing so, you are erasing real people with real experiences).
That said, Tristina put obvious, concerted efforts into covering as many bases as she could in one book’s cast:
1) Rumor Mora, who is biracial (Indian/Nigerian) and bisexual
2) Nyx Horca, who is hearing impaired, Latinx, pansexual, and chubby
3) Dahlia Adams, who is black, bisexual, and trans (with no dead name! *cheers*)
4) Jude Welton, who is gay
5) Braedon Tennant, who is asexual (and possibly panromantic?)
6) Yi-Min, who is gender neutral and uses “they” pronouns
I have never personally read a book with such a diverse and varied cast, and I loved it so much. I am one of many who has spent years saying, “When are we going to get a SF/F world without racism and homophobia?!” and here it freaking is, and I have to applaud Tristina for it. I only hope that the positive reviews outweigh the negatives well enough for publishing companies to realize how important it is that they start making book deals for books that offer such wide diversity.
“If it weren’t for the gargoyles, Sahara would be a utopia. Ironic, since they were at war with one of the indigenous species.”
In a nutshell, 27 Hours tells a story of teens who have been raised in a society that brainwashed them to believe the indigenous species of Sahara are brutal killing machines that deserve to be wiped out and forced underground at all costs. You learn very quickly – thanks to the perspective of Jude, a forest rebel who was raised in part by the chimera, otherwise termed as “gargoyles” – that this is going to be a series about these teens learning that everything is not as it seems, and that the humans are the monsters here, not the chimera.
There’s a lot of colonialism at play, and behaviors and arguments that I have heard firsthand in my own life, living in the US – at one point, a character’s excuse is, “I wasn’t even born yet!” It was sad, but moving, to see colonialism laid out in the text so openly, and really helped put into perspective what a disaster colonists have made of the actual world we live in today.
Now, for the part of the review I’ve struggled to put into words: while I enjoyed this story, and was eager to find out what happened next, I found the writing itself to be on a bit of a novice level. I mean this in the nicest way possible, but I used to write role-plays and short stories with online friends as a very young teen, and so much of the writing in this book took me back to those moments.
There were too many “convenient” moments, the romances weren’t incredibly believable at many points, and some of the characters read so similar to one another that the perspective swaps felt muddled. A lot of the banter and dialogue didn’t feel authentic. I think Tristina’s writing has incredible potential to improve and I will definitely be continuing the series, but I can’t call this a five-star read for me.
Thank you to Entangled Teen for providing me with a lovely ARC in exchange for an honest review!