Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Book: Young Moon by H S St Ours

Book 1 of the Water Worlds Series.

I was given a copy of Young Moon (along with books 2 and 3 of Water Worlds) by the author, H S St Ours, in exchange for a review.

Young Moon is the daughter of a Chinese-Korean scientist who has the aim in life to make Venus and Mars habitable. Starting in Korea, Young Moon's family escapes to China, where her father heads a group of scientists and engineers who were supposed to do something about a potential asteroid collision with earth, a team on which her mother also has a place. When the intervention goes wrong, Young Moon's family sneaks into Vietnam, and from there enters America to set up new lives away from the responsibility that the Chinese government is placing on Young Moon's father. This is where they witness the end of the world, and their trip to escape from it.

My description above does not do this book justice, the blurb doesn't do this book justice. I didn't want to put this book down, from the very first page it grabbed me and dragged me into Young Moon's world. I will admit that at the beginning I was slightly confused as to why they were in Korea when I was certain somewhere in America/Canada had been mentioned, but as soon as I figured out that it was all to do with Young Moon's memories that problem was solved.

Though the book was told through Young Moon's memories, it didn't feel like the kind of narrative that goes 'I remember this...I remember that...' it was a complete story. Ingrained within the memories was quite a lot of astronomical knowledge and explanations, though I can't quite comment as a lay person (I studied Astronomy at GCSE level, in England that's the qualifications we take at 15/16, so I had a fairly decent knowledge of what Young Moon's father was talking about), but to me the explanations seemed to get the right balance between being understandable to someone who doesn't know a thing about astronomy, and seeming specific enough that it doesn't seem over simplified.

I also liked the way that St Ours wrote about how people reacted to both the threat of disaster and the actual disaster itself. No one alive now can say that they didn't notice how the world reacted to the end of the Mayan calender last year, it was all conspiracy theories and the-world-is-going-to-end talk, St Ours incorporates this into his writing, which I believe shows a good understanding of the human race. Similarly, the people's reaction to the disaster itself; though I have not witnessed a worldwide disaster (and fingers crossed I won't), I have seen the responses that people have had to smaller ones (think back over the disasters in the past 10 years, they include 911, tsunamis, hurricanes etc) and people always panic, despite being told not to, and they bulk buy food and water, even if there is just a severe weather warning. Again, St Ours has taken all this into account when he wrote his book and included it in his writing.

The character of Young Moon seemed very mature at every age, though I think that this could have been due to the fact that she is a lot older and is looking back at the memories, so she is more eloquent in her recollections than a real 8 year old will be. With the other characters there wasn't so much depth, it wasn't possible to truly understand her father's motives as Young Moon herself didn't know them, and though her brother was present in most of the scenes in the book the most notable thing about him was probably that he was there. The one character I didn't really get at all was Young Moon's mother, there seemed to be a lot of affection from Young Moon towards her, yet no real indication of where it came from, I am therefore going to assume that it came from the 10 years that they survived the end of the world together, and perhaps something off screen that we didn't see happening.

Overall this is a very good read, it really draws you in, and feels like an accurate suggestion of how mankind would react in this situation, which is a little bit worrying I must say! I'd recommend you read this one, and I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series!