“We’ve made this moon our home against all odds because of strategic planning, but the attack tonight is unlike anything we’ve seen since the Crater. If we don’t deescalate things, it could be the end of humanity on this moon.”
Thank you very much to Entangled Publishing for providing an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
27 Hours is a fast-paced queer sci-fi with fascinating world building that made my inner sci-fi geek squeal. While there was a lot of unnecessary exposition, and the plot dragged at certain parts, I mostly enjoyed the novel and can’t wait for the sequel.
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.
By far the best element of 27 Hours is the incredibly diverse cast. Every single character is on the LGBTQ spectrum, and I actually believe that their society as a whole is intersectional and queer. It is very obvious that Wright did her research in regards to positive representation for sexualities and identities, and it still shocks me, in the best of ways, that a book like 27 Hours – a sci-fi fantasy book with bisexual, gay, pansexual, asexual, trans, POC, and deaf characters – even exists. It really shows how far publishing has come.
The main characters, although diverse, did not have especially distinctive voices and were actually a little bland. Rumor’s POV had a tendency to feature the action/fight scenes, and so everything moved incredibly fast and the reader had less time to connect with him, as opposed to the other characters. I still liked him, but I found his POV chapters rushed, which meant I struggled to pay attention and found myself skimming his chapters. Rumor is Nigerian, Portuguese and Indian, and bisexual; and he crushes on Jude, a boy who has been raised with the chimera – or gargoyles as the humans know them.
Jude was protective and loving to both humans and the chimera. The best way to describe him would be ‘soft’, and I don’t mean that in a negative way. He has a big heart and loves deeply. I was a little irked by the speed in which he falls for Rumor – they only know each other for perhaps an hour or two before they both begin to have romantic feelings – but I guess this was necessary considering the entire novel takes place over just 27 hours. I did really enjoy their relationship towards the end of the novel, but the pacing was a little off simply due to time constraints. That can actually be said for a lot of the issues with the book.
Nyx was by far my favourite character and I loved her from her very first POV chapter. She’s chubby, Cuban, deaf and pansexual, and has been in love with her best friend, Dahlia, for almost a year. She’s one of the novel’s strongest characters and frequently puts herself in harm’s way to protect those she loves.
Dahlia, a black Latinx bisexual trans girl, was just as protective as Nyx was, and is probably my second favourite character of the group. Although she didn’t have a POV, the reader interacts with Dahlia through both Nyx and Rumor’s chapters, as Rumor and Dahlia used to date. I just adored the relationship between Nyx and Dahlia and was glued to the page each time they interacted. Nyx could be a little jealous of Rumor and Dahlia’s bond, but she eventually comes to realise that what she and Dahlia have is just as important. Dahlia and Nyx’s growing romance is just beautiful to see develop and I can’t wait to read about them in the next book.
Braeden, one of the novel’s best characters, was asexual. He was loyal, selfless and willing to sacrifice himself if need be. He was the son of the city’s commander and often feels as though he had to live up to his mother’s legacy. Braeden was also cast the group’s joker, although there were many occasions the reader saw his vulnerable side. He used humour as a coping mechanism and a way to keep his true emotions hidden. I really enjoyed his relationships with both Nyx and Dahlia, and it was refreshing to see that this book doesn’t just focus on romantic relationships, but platonic as well.
I thought the world-building was fascinating, although it takes quite a while before everything is explained fully to the reader. Usually, I don’t mind this, but in 27 Hours there were a few occasions where an unfamiliar term was dropped into the text with no explanation until many chapters later.
There are undoubtedly issues with the novel’s world building history (which is explained further at the end of the review), and I have to say I was uncomfortable by the level of prejudice shown to the chimera. One could say this was the author’s intent – especially in today’s climate where there is decidedly an us vs. them mentality – but several characters go through eye-opening experiences as they begin to realise that their deep-seated prejudices are unfounded.
The novel tries to open a dialogue about these significant issues: your ancestors landed on this world centuries ago, to the chagrin of the indigenous species, but you believe it’s your land now too. How do we balance this? What happens now? These are the questions 27 Hours attempts to answer, but in reality only scratches the surface. It would be remiss of me to not say the question that is on everyone’s mind: is Tristina Wright, a white author, even qualified to answer these questions? Remember what happened with Laurie Forest? I myself am not qualified to answer these questions. I just think this is something many readers should be aware of before they read this book.
It is also probably important to note that for the humans, issues of culture and ethnicity no longer exist between them. That has been left behind on Earth, as Nyx frequently explains, and the most humans ever talk about it is to find out where they come from, because they’re simply interested.
27 Hours is an interesting novel, but all in all I found it quite average. There are important issues the novel attempts to address, but ultimately doesn’t. The representation was amazing, but I still felt a few characters to be bland and similar to each other. If you’re interested in queer sci-fi, definitely check this book out. Just make yourself aware of the problems beforehand.
I am not someone who can adequately talk about the issues surrounding this novel, so here are a few people who can:
- Aimal from Bookshelves and Paperbacks has written an eloquent review on the issues surrounding colonialism from an #OwnVoices perspective. Read her review here.
- Gabby wrote a short review on Twitter about the issues of allyship, and is allegedly being harassed. Read the review here.
- Avery at The Book Deviant has written an eloquent review about the gender and ace rep. Read their review here.
- Ann Elise at A Bookish Bi has also written a great review that discusses the art/ace rep. Read her review here.
And of course I don’t think anyone has missed the subsequent backlash that has developed as a result of the negative reviews. Ashia makes some great points about reading critically, which is what books are for in the first place. Here’s Ashia’s important twitter thread on people criticising POC reviewers:
But what I feel like I can say is this: I find it incredibly hypocritical that the people who were labelling books like The Black Witch and The Continent as racist, offensive, homophobic, etc., etc., are the very same people giving this novel 5 stars. Why is 27 Hours exempt from backlash? Why is it okay for one white author to write a discourse on racism from the perspective of the oppressors, and white people saving and educating indigenous people, but not for another? Is it because some reviewers are friends with the author? Is it because this book features queer characters, and somehow that makes it okay? This whole controversy smells fishy to me.
Tristina Wright has offered an apology on the issues many people found in her book. Read it here.