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A Reader of Fictions: Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Black Hole Sun - Soundgarden

Black Hole Sun
Black Hole Sun, Book 1

Author: David Macinnis Gill

Genre: young adult, dystopia
Pages: 352
ARC Acquired From: HarperCollins booth at ALA 2010
Release Date: August 24, 2010

Brief Summary:
Location, location, location. That's what makes this dystopia original and what makes the planet Earth so desirable. Jacob Durango is a Regulator, sort of a gun for hire, living on the civilization established on Mars. He has a davos, a team, of other Regulators, of which he is the chief and a sarcastic computer in his head that gives him an edge in almost every situation. Regulators live by strict codes of conduct. One rule, to give an example, is that a chief should not have a romantic relationship with anyone in his davos, which can be difficult if your right hand 'man' is an incredibly gorgeous girl (which happens to be the case for Durango).

Mars is not a pleasant place to live at the best of times. Crime seems to run rampant, air is barely breathable and the life span is half of what it would be on Earth. To make this worse, a mysterious queen leads a group of cannibals, Draeu, in an attempt to establish dominion of the planet. Despite an awareness that doing so will likely be a death sentence, Durango agrees to bring his crew out to defend poor miners against the Draeu.

Review:
I have been all over this dystopia craze, so, when I had the chance to grab an ARC of Black Hole Sun at ALA 2010, I was all over it. The appeal mostly stemmed from the dystopia love mentioned above, but I suspected I would like the book for the literary references. The title is a reference to the Soundgarden song and the cover also includes the line "The End of the World As You Know It" (which may not actually be intended as a reference to the song by REM, but I'm pretending it is either way).

The book moved along at a good pace with a lot of action (gun fire, explosions, cannibals, snowmobile chases). The characterization is weak, but perhaps the book is meant to appeal more to a crowd that prefers the aforementioned action to knowing much about the backstories of the characters. Despite that, I did rather like the chief and his davos, even though I knew little about them. The action scenes are well-drawn, allowing me to draw a decent picture of the scene in my head, which some books do not.

The plot could have been better too, I felt. Much of the book seems to be spent running after characters who have gone sneaking off for no particular reason. This was fine the first time, but got old quickly. Another odd element was the creation of a new menace in the last few pages, some evil lurking an area never mentioned before then. I suppose this indicates that a sequel is in the works. At this point, I cannot say whether I will read it, but suspect that I may not unless I hear some really good buzz.

I recommend this one for anyone who loves battle scenes and explosions.

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