“It’s the end of the world, and I have the best seat in the house.”
A Red Raven Reads Review of “Luna” by Garon Whited
The book begins with an introduction to protagonist Maxwell Hardy, an astronaut in the post-apocalyptic aftermath of World War III, and his fellow crew members aboard the titular space shuttle “Luna.” They are voyaging toward the moon when they learn that the world as we know it has, in effect, ended. We follow Max and the crew on their journey to the moon, but mostly their life on the moon when they land shortly thereafter— decisions about repopulating the planet, searching for other survivors, and characters discovering themselves amidst an existential crisis unlike any other. “Luna” is a strange combination of lunar-borne science fiction, subpar romance, humor, action, and… murder. BUM BUM BUMMMMM.
“Luna” has a LOT of good things going for it. The realistic descriptions of lunar life are phenomenally presented and well-researched. The writing itself is vivid, spunky, and alive. Further, it is literally laugh-out-loud funny. However, the reason why I read this book throughout the problems I will discuss below is Maxwell himself. Is he realistic? No, not really. But he’s so gosh darn likable that no negativity I could give about his character even matters. He can be impulsive and immature, but he’s also down-to-earth, witty, carefree, and childish in a way that made me smile right along with the 6’5” goofball. I love Max. I really do.
It is exceedingly clear that a lot of love and heart went into this book, and that Mr. Whited is a gifted writer and character-creator. However, despite the immense amount of positivity I can discuss, as a reviewer it is also my job to be the bearer of bad news.
It seems fairly obvious to me that this book was plotted out sparingly, if at all. The scenes mesh together like bricks and Elmer’s glue— that is to say, they don’t. The book is all over the place. There is a lot of sharp wit to this book that I appreciate but it’s hard to appreciate when EARTH IS BASICALLY DEAD. The light-heartedness about the affair is so contradictory to a necessary but absent sense of realism concerning the very serious subject matter.
There is an abundance of typographical errors, which didn’t bother me much when I was reading the book, though I know that is a deal-breaker for some. The romance was poorly done and it made little to no sense at all. Maxwell is a very likable character, so why in the world does he choose to propose to Kathy, a veritable jealous psychopath, less than halfway through the book?
I think my biggest complaint is the lack of realistic human emotion. Stop making jokes about how badly every woman wants you, bro. And the sex jokes were absolutely the worst. I actually couldn’t tell if they were supposed to be jokes or a form of seduction half the time. Don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure there was a joke about Max’s penis “lifting off” that Kathy tried to say seductively. You had one job, and it was to not go… there.
Despite all this, I liked what I read. The writing style is very fun to read— it bounces along and sparks and sizzles and bites. Maxwell is likeable— his “delightfully skewed way he looks at the world” is beyond refreshing. Further, I’ve said it once and I will say it again- PHENOMENAL. RESEARCH. I didn’t understand half of the technical jargon but I was super into it. Say more big words I don’t understand, please. -insert heart-eyes emoticon here-
While this would be a great book for the right person and it definitely deserves a chance, the bad almost drowned out the good for me. And it kills me to type that, because with a solid plot, with more character development, with a concise theme and direction, this book has the potential to be GREAT, and I truly mean that. I think Mr. Whited is a unique voice, a breath of fresh air, and a writer with boundless potential. However, amidst the poor plotting, unrealistic characters, lack of direction, and a rushed and unfulfilling romance that I would love to see removed from the book entirely, I can only say I liked it, but I disliked it a little more.
However, from a solely objective point of view, I would rate this book 3/5 stars, and would certainly recommend giving it a shot (especially for only $3 on Amazon) if the problems I’ve mentioned aren’t deal-breakers and you’d like to read something witty and lighthearted. This book WILL make you laugh, guaranteed. It wasn’t my cup of tea, but hey, I’m a coffee person.