Book reviews / Fiction

Book review: The Disasters

I should probably be a bit more careful when picking books, as I didn’t realise this was Young Adult when I bought it. In the end this book was broadly fine, it wasn’t offensive or boring, but it was also immediately forgettable.

The main cast of characters are all young, diverse teenagers who have, for one reason or another, failed out of a space academy programme, in the first day or week. Waiting for their shuttle back to earth, they see the arrival of a team of soldiers that take over the station they are on, but manage to escape in a shuttle. They are then labelled as terrorists and are on the run.

This is the back cover description of the book. Sounds fine.

I think where it falls down is that nothing really happens. 90% of the book is Nax Hall (the main character and pilot flunk out), stressing out about the situation in or crushing on two of the other characters. All of the important plotting out of what they are going to do, effectively happens offstage. Another character (Asra) who the group meet on one of the colony words just does everything through ‘hacking’. So the scene shifts are enormous and relatively unexplained. It’s basically the sort of book you should read while jet lagged as it’s just easy to consume and you don’t have to pay attention to hard.

The thing that makes it a bit worse is that some of the concepts are very lazy, and again, unexplained. The ultimate baddies are ridiculous and so is their plan to unleash devastation on the colonies. Absolutely stupid and not well explained. The other thing which was so annoying as that they ship names started with current car company names, including the very badly named Ford Galaxy (which is a bloody van right now). Would these random cars now exist as space craft manufacturers? Unlikely. Just don’t refer to Honda or Ford, the name’s of the ships were fine on their own.

Anyway, I probably won’t remember much about this book in about a month. I think if you’re into anxiety teenagers being anxious about both massive trauma and also who they fancy, then go for it. But I think there are probably much better books out there.

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