Monday, November 21, 2016

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

I'm so torn on this book. First, I listened to the audiobook and the narrator was quite good. The storyline was quite good. The writing....oh....

If you read Cormac McCarthy, you will recognize the attempt at his writing in The Dog Stars. McCarthy has a flow, so even though the writing is fragmented and somewhat staccato, there IS a flow to McCarthy's writing and you can easily get into it. Heller has the same writing style (at least in this book - I've not read anything else by him) and I could not, for the life of me, get into his flow. Maybe it was because it was an audiobook but the fragments and pauses made it hard for me to get lost in the story.

So let's talk about the story.

We're in a bit of an apocalypse when we meet Hig, Jasper and Bangley. A flu has killed a good majority (probably high 90%) of the population and the survivors are 9 years past the major fallout. Hig and Jasper, the dog of Dog Stars, end up in a town near Denver, Colorado with Bangley, a bit of a gun nut, a bit of a damn good survivor. Bangley is really the reason the poetry-loving Hig is still alive. There are 3 books to this novel and the first introduces us to their current situation. Scouting for food, using Hig's airplane to keep a watch on the roads, killing people who attempt to break into their homes, and just surviving.

Book 2 takes us on a journey with Hig to try and find a voice on the radio that he heard while flying three years prior. This book made me angry. One, 3 years ago you heard a radio transmission and NOW you are going to try and find it. Two, you are leaving Bangley alone to defend your homes. Three, when you did find other people, Hig, you were a jackass. I was rooting for you to be shot. You seem to have forgotten how you distrusted people approaching YOUR home and how easily you and Bangley killed invaders. Then you waltz up to another home and add like a son-of-a-bitch, expecting the woman to disrobe for you the minute she saw you. Ugh.

Book 3 takes us back to Bangley and the airport outside of Denver. A good deal more happens in book three that makes you want to slap Hig again, but it wraps up the storyline fairly well.

The story was a good one. The characters were good, especially if the point was to make you want to punch Hig on a regular basis. If you can get past the fragmented writing, it's worth the read.

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