Black Hole Sun Hardcover – Aug 24 2010
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School Library Journal Best Book“Rockets readers to new frontiers . . . action-packed.” (Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games)
“Great story, great characters, and nonstop action. David Gill takes you to a rugged, fast, tough world.” (Chris Crutcher, author of Deadline and Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes)
“Black Hole Sun grabbed me by the throat and didn’t let go until the last page. In the best tradition of Heinlein and Firefly, Black Hole Sun is for readers who like their books fast-paced, intense, and relentless. Buy it, read it, pass it on!” (Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Wintergirls and Speak)
“Readers will have a hard time turning the pages fast enough as the body count rises to the climactic, satisfying ending, which will leave new fans hopeful for more adventures.” (Booklist (starred review))
“Action, adventure, sci-fi, and horror buffs will all find this an almost perfect mix of all of the genres, and the addition of a soupçon of romance and hints of painful family drama results in a book that’s got appeal to just about any potential speculative-fiction fan.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
“Science-fiction fans will cheer Durango on in his exploits and enjoy the twists in the novel’s satisfying conclusion. ” (School Library Journal (starred review))
“Fast-paced, compulsively readable, and outright funny.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
About the Author
David Macinnis Gill lives with his family in Wilmington, North Carolina. He is the author of Black Hole Sun, Invisible Sun, and Shadow on the Sun, as well as Soul Enchilada.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The characters here are well developed and engaging. Durango is quite the hero. He struggles with moral dilemmas, knows his own fallibility and still manages to be one tough dude. Vienne is excellent as his second, and the supporting characters of miners and bad guys are all memorable. I truly hope this becomes a series. Durango and Vienne make quite a duo and I am eager to learn what kind of trouble they get into next and also where their relationship might be headed. This is a solid recommend for teens grade 8 and up. There's quite a bit of violence and death. Fans of the Hunger Games will find much to like here, although this one is a bit more hard core sci-fi. Very well written.
The premise of the book starts off fairly well: mercenary Durango and his team of rag-tag misfits accept a mission for far below their usual pay to defend a mining outpost on Mars from a band of cannibals who demand children of the miners. Of course, it takes several chapters to get to this point, because we have to meet Durango during his previous mission, where he rescues a moneyed girl and her brother in a convoluted side plot (view spoiler).
Another reviewer on Goodreads suggested that the plot (and the main character, and the Chinese and Japanese epithets) were borrowed heavily from Joss Whedon's Firefly series, and I'd agree. With another helping of child soldiers trained in battle academy from Ender's Game, an artificial intelligence aiding and abetting the main character from William Gibson's Count Zero, and the oddly-painted artistocracy a cross between Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games Capitol and Gibson's Idoru. I'm willing to bet there are others I've missed.
In other words, you'll feel a lot like you've read this one before.
While there are moments when the story shines, so much of it feels derivative of other, better-known sci-fi novels, and the teens in the book feel so much older than their alleged 17 years, that it ultimately fails as both a young adult novel as well as a sci-fi novel. Most sci-fi fans will have read the books (and seen the series), and I'm not sure younger readers will connect with these preternaturally aged characters. Even Ender was, at heart, at child. Durango is a middle-aged man before his time.
This review appeared previously on Goodreads.
Gill's Mars was intriguing, a unique culture that I can easily see as an extension and believable amalgamation of our own. The exploration of individual values versus established Tenets, between what's acceptable, accepted, and exceptional principles, provided a tense setup internally as Durango searched for balance in what it means to be a leader.
I appreciated the first half of the book for its crisply written, fairly straightforward, uncomplicated plot which was enhanced by a manageable and memorable cast. The second half though... suddenly exploded with subplots and flashbacks and extraneous plot devices that left me scratching my head on more than one occasion. I wondered if I had missed not only a couple of chapters but an entire prequel. Some incidents were random, like the little girl who magically appeared in the middle of a battle scene wanting to play with Jenkins. The rugrat was charming, yes, but heretofore un-introduced and never seen again thereafter. The beginning of several plot lines seemed to have been left on the cutting room floor.
The author seemed to take a bit of a scattershot perspective as he attempted the unenviable task of worldbuilding on an alien planet and establishing the foundation for sequels while sacrificing some of the momentum and background necessary for this book. Understand too that if I had to choose between an author who erred by excessively telling versus excessively showing I'd immediately pick up the former, as happened here. Without question, Gill is speaking to his audience's intelligence and not the lowest common denominator.
All told, I'd roundly recommend "Black Hole Sun" to anyone for it's explosive action and deft characterization. I enjoyed the ride so much that I'll easily forgive its flaws and eagerly anticipate the sequel.
Other than the action and the humor, though, the rest of the book is fairly lackluster. There's not too much characterization. All of the characters don't exactly have a past. Only Durango has a decent history, but even then, it's lacking. If the author explained Durango's dad (and mom, she's never mentioned) and Mimi a lot more, it would add so much more to the book. Mimi, while I love her sarcasm and humor, has a past that just seems randomly thrown into the book just to make her have a past. Also, the plot twists are really...lame. All I can say were that the plot twists were done "last-minute." I believe that the plot twist wasn't planned in advance by the author. I'm pretty sure that when the author reached that part of the book, he was like "Hey, it'll be a great idea if I do this!" There were two plot twists, and both times they seemed hastily done. The plot and characterization could have been much better.
All in all, the book was pretty well done. I expected a lot of action from the beginning, and I got a lot of action. The humor was an added surprise. Again, though, I was extremely disappointed in the plot and characterization. The ending was pleasing. It brought a sense of closure, but it left room open for a sequel (which this book desperately needs to have more characterization). This book has enough action to become a movie, but I'm not sure the plot is good enough. It definitely isn't a classic, though. All in all, while this isn't exactly my most favorite book of all time, I did not regret reading it.
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