What: 27 Hours (The Nightside Saga #1) by Tristina Wright
Who: Entangled: Teen
When: October 3rd 2017
How: A copy of this novel was provided by Entangled Publishing for review via Net Galley.
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 had been excited for 27 Hours from the moment I found out about it early last year. I saw “queer teens in space” and I wanted it. I found out that many under-represented queer identities were going to show up in this book, as well as intersectional diversity. I thought this book was kind of written for me.
And then I became aware of criticisms of some aspects of the book (mainly from this review, which I suggest you read). The points that Aimal makes are all incredibly valid, and also very… concerning. When I read the book I went in knowing these problematic aspects, and while I don’t know if I would have been as aware of them if I hadn’t read Aimal’s review beforehand I’m very glad I did.
In this world racism between humans doesn’t exist – so much so that a white person explains racism to a POC. This… did not sit well with me. Even if this conversation had to happen in the story, surely choosing a white character to explain racism to someone with Nigerian/Portuguese and Indian heritage is just… wrong. I can’t think of another word. But having a white person explain racism to a POC just comes off inherently wrong.
The colonialist themes in 27 Hours were uncomfortable to read about. Every POV character in the book is a human and all except one has extreme prejudice against the indigenous species of the planet – Chimera. All of the humans use a slur to describe and talk about the Chimera – ‘gargoyles’ – and believe they’re all the same… even when they look different (I’ll leave you to ponder on that one). And we’re supposed to care about the humans when they’ve, you know, invaded a planet that wasn’t theirs, killed the Chimera that lived there, taken their resources, started a war. I’m sorry but I just don’t sympathise with that. I just didn’t care when the characters were talking about how horrible it was for them. The planet already had its own inhabitants. I’m sorry if I’m not sympathising with your terrible actions and continued destruction of a planet that isn’t yours and the killing of a species that just wants their home back.
Beyond these things that made reading 27 Hours uncomfortable and the themes inherently problematic and harmful I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would, anyway. It was so long, and there was so much going on, and there were so many POV characters to keep track of. I didn’t feel fully invested in anyone’s storyline and I can honestly say I only really cared about two or so human characters in the book.
The best thing about 27 Hours was the queer rep. All of the POV characters were queer: Rumor is bi (and of Nigerian/Portuguese and Indian heritage), Jude is gay, Braeden is ace (though I felt at times that it was being conflated with aro-ness), and Nyx is pan (and also Deaf and of Cuban heritage). However, there is discussion regarding this important queer rep and how it seems to be prioritised over the treatment of POC characters and the fumbled handling of colonial themes. I accepted this book for review before I read Aimal’s thoughts and criticisms so I don’t know if I would have read it had I not felt obligated. I can only say that we should not prioritise one marginalised community over another. We should not ignore harmful aspects in books just because we’ve found positives in that same text.
All in all 27 Hours was not what I expected – in more ways than one.
© 2017, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.
trigger warning colonialist themes, war themes, multiple deaths, depictions of gore, ableism, use of ableist language, graphic fight scenes, fires, explosions, reference to death via drowning, reference to death of parents via cave collapse, reference to death of mother, death of father, absent parents, panic attacks, PTSD, death of a friend, and multiple physical injuries
colonialist themes, war themes, multiple deaths, depictions of gore, ableism, use of ableist language, graphic fight scenes, fires, explosions, reference to death via drowning, reference to death of parents via cave collapse, reference to death of mother, death of father, absent parents, panic attacks, PTSD, death of a friend, and multiple physical injuries