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Black Hole Sun by David McInnis Gill - Review by Saul, Teen Blogger

Black Hole Sun- book coverSetting a book in a sci-fi world can be difficult, especially when looking at how to be consistent with the science and technology. This is even more difficult when trying to set a story on Mars, a planet we know a fair amount about. Black Hole Sun does an excellent job of this however, becoming an interesting and action packed novel without any of the problems that often plague the genre (such as suddenly having a gadget for every situation or being inconsistent with the science throughout the novel). The author does a great job, creating an amazing world and filling it with powerful, realistic characters.

The story is set on Mars in an unknown time period in the future, and it follows the adventures of a boy named Durango and his companion Vienne. I will start out by saying that the world building that has been done around this novel is fantastic. It is done in a way that doesn’t force it down the throat of the reader, but is revealed subtly and within the context of the story. Slowly I was able to piece together the world: from the barbarian hordes of cannibals that prowled the outer regions, to the elite order of super soldiers who seemed to take inspiration from Viking warriors. It is truly one of the best examples of creating a believable world I have ever read in a sci-fi novel.

There are many characters in the story and most of them interesting and dynamic. The main character has plenty of inner struggles as well as outer ones. Praise should go also to the great cast of side characters though. Many of them experience transitions, some I hated but I ended up loving by the end and others the opposite. Each character is revealed through their actions and words, instead of a lengthy description, using the action to develop them.

Even though the action scenes are good from a character perspective, they do pose a major problem. My primary complaint with the book is that these sections are often hard to follow and confusing. I sometimes had to read parts twice before getting an idea of what was happening in relation to everything else. The issue here was that every little thing was described in acute detail, not really leaving anything up to the reader’s imagination.

I would be woe to not mention that the thing that impressed me the most in this story was how spot on the science is. Everything from terraforming Mars with greenhouse gasses to the effects of a lack of sunlight on miners is described and accurate. Sci-fi novels often skip over these things because they are seen as not important in an advanced world, but here we see how the technology really affects people. Even the ages of characters are displayed in Mars years instead of Earth years. In a world in which having very advanced technology can give what are effectively super powers, the gap is very large between the rich who can afford it and the poor who can’t.

Overall this novel was an amazing read. A fascinating world full of interesting and dynamic characters; I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys sci-fi stories.


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