Series : The Nightside Saga #1
Publisher : Entangled Teen
Genre : Young Adult | Science Fiction
Page Count: 404
Synopsis : 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. (From Goodreads)
CW: Violence, gore, war, colonialism.
I know I’ve probably said this before about other book reviews but this is honestly the hardest review I’ve had to write since I started this blog, which is almost two years ago. I feel so torn and conficted about it because, if you follow me of Twitter you might’ve noticed that this was one of my most anticipated releases of the year so imagine how thrilled I was when I got sent an eArc but… but I couldn’t help but be disappointed. This is one of the hardest reviews to write because as much as I couldn’t fully love it, I couldn’t fully hate it either and that for reasons that I’m sure you’ve seen discussed before. Or most of them at least. But I’m still going to give you my two cents about it.
I really liked the writing in this one. It’s simple, quick to read and yet still gorgeous. I love when I don’t need extra efforts to get a sense of the general feeling of a scene and Wright has a way of making that effortless. I could feel every emotions characters felt effortlessly, sadness, fear, love, heartbreak, happiness (eventhough there wasn’t much of it) which made not getting attached to the characters really hard -and I ultimately failed. Speaking of characters, 27 hours is written from the perspectives of four different characters, all of which I loved. Rumor, Nyx, Jude and Breaden and surprise, surprise, they’re all hella queer. Their voices are all different and I had no trouble figuring out who was saying what and when. Another character that to me was as proeminent as the others but doesn’t get a POV is Dahlia.
I’m only going to be talking about every character briefly because otherwise, this review will be way way too long, and we don’t want that. All I can say is that they’re very well crafted, not only as individuals but also their relationships with each other and with the side characters. Rumor is an angry bisexual boy I couldn’t help but want to protect at all cost. Nyx is a delicate pansexual girl who can kick your ass, she’s also Deaf and definitely my favorite out of the bunch because of how raw her emotions are. Dahlia is a caring bisexual trans girl who’d do anything for the people she loves. Jude is gay and passionate about what he believes in. Last but not least is Breadan, who is very cocky and very asexual. And here start my problems with the book.
My issue is how Breaden’s romantic orientation was handled. Because it wasn’t. It’s not acknowledged anywhere inside the pages of the book and as someone who’s demiromantic that was quite the bummer. Breaden is heavily coded as aroace. He is said to be disinterested in sex AND in relationships but not once is his romantic orientations explicitely stated. It seemed to me like it was lumped with his sexual attraction as one and the same which isn’t the case.
You may also have noticed that I didn’t mention the characters’ race/ethinicity and no I haven’t forgotten. 2/4 of the POV characters are POC. Rumor is brown and Indian/Nigerian, and Nyx is latina and although I, personally, wouldn’t say that rep was necessarily bad, but it was forgettable. There wasn’t much effort put into it. I appreciate the fact that characters do not have to worry about being discriminated about due to their skin color and that they’re not defined by it, I would’ve loved for it to be more to it than just one mention of their ethnicity or skin color a couple times.
The worldbuilding is good. I had a little trouble picturing some things and grasping some concepts at first, as I read on, that problem got solved and my reading flowed better. The plot as a whole was promising and it was really well written. Fast paced, thrilling and really well constructed. The action scenes are detailed and I could easily follow what was happening and when it was happening, the descriptions are vivid and make everything come to life. But here’s the thing, the premise the book is built on is my biggest problem and the reason why I couldn’t enjoy it like I had hoped. By now, everyone knows it, but the book is built on colonization.
The whole premise is humans colonising a moon called Sahara (and that name in on itself is problematic to me which I’ll tackle a bit later) and being at war with the indigenous species called chimeras, for which “gargoyles” is a slur. And I don’t know if you know this but I live in a formerly colonized country and I’m still trying to decolonize myself on a daily (which I’ll maybe write a post about someday) so I did not cope well with this whole premise. And before anyone comments on this review, if you’ve gone through similar experiences and loved this book, good for you, that does not invalidate my thoughts and feelings.
To make it easier for you and for me in this review, I’ll sum up my problems with this whole colonization business in bullet points and would highly recommend checking out Aimal’s review who is way more articulate about it than I’ll ever be.
- The chimera are the enemy for a major part of the story which made me very uncomfortable considering that that made it impossible for me to sympathize with anything happening to the characters because everytime someone, especially Rumor, thought “They took away X and Y from me” I couldn’t help but think “but you colonized them and killed their people”.
- The chimera had to basically prove themselves and their “humanity” to be deemed worthy of empathy and that their deaths were actual losses which is understandable knowing how four of the five characters were endoctrinated all their lives but since the chimera are intelligent, caring, etc etc… I don’t get why one of them didn’t get a point of view, especially since Jude who co-habitates with them gets one. I think that would’ve made for a better, more wholesome view of the colonism issue.
- Although the prejudice is slowly desconstructed throughout the novel, the core issue which is the fact that the moon was colonised is never explicitely addressed. Instead, the colonist’s guilt is what’s continuously brought up and discussed, the war is lived, continuously brought up and discussed but never anything beyond that, and again, I think this issue could’ve been solved with a chimera point of view.
- This last point, I’ve never seen brought up -which is understandable because it’s more personal to me as a Moroccan- is the fact that a colonized moon was called Sahara. Why, you ask? A quick Google search would show that Western Sahara which a chunk of runs under Morocco (and is claimed as moroccan soil but… it’s complicated) is subject of a decades long conflict that stems from… Colonization!!!! I’m not gonna go into details because I won’t turn this review into a political rant but if you’re curious, look it up. So, even if unintentional, that name choice came off as really insensitive to me.
Don’t get me wrong, colonization is never excused in the book but it’s never discussed properly either and I think that if you choose such a heavy topic to build a book on, it should be tackled fully or not at all. Eventhough this book represents many people, it also hurts many others and as someone who felt simultaneously represented and hurt, it was a difficult book to get through (it took me a month to read) and I often considered not finishing it but that little part of me that is starving for representation and got attached to the characters kept pushing through and the result is this jumbled thoughts of a review.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read 27 Hours? If so, what did you think of it?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.