IN SHORT: On Mars, four misfit teen mercenaries are called in to save a group of miners from vicious cannibals.
WHAT IT IS: With clean prose and plenty of action, Black Hole Sun zooms along at a brisk pace. The second half in particular is one fun action scene after another. It’s also laugh-out-loud hilarious at times.
WHAT IT ISN’T: Don’t expect much in the way of complex motivations, character arcs, or a deep fictional world. We are dealing with a simple action story here.
WHAT I THOUGHT: Black Hole Sun is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, it’s fast, funny, and action-packed. All good things, and it does those things very well. On the other hand, it’s predictable and lacks depth.
Let’s start with the good. David Macinnis Gill writes very clean, almost brutally streamline prose. It’s the first thing I noticed about the book. I really appreciate an author that doesn’t waste my time with a lot of extra words. His action is fluid and easy to visualize.
The heroes are a fun group of characters to follow around. There’s even a very gung ho character named Leroy Jenkins. The constant banter between main character Durango and his onboard AI Mimi keeps things light and carefree. All in all, we have the ingredients for an entertaining action romp. Which Black Hole Sun is, don’t get me wrong.
The story is a simple one, almost to a fault. This is a tale where the good guys are good and the bad guys are bad. We know this because the evil queen has her cannibal underlings eat people who fail her. And yes, there’s an evil queen in this book.
A lot of details get thrown out about the world, but at no point did I feel the book painted a coherent picture. The characters, while quirky and fun, don’t evolve. The story is like the prose: very streamline.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I found myself craving more information about the world, and I wanted to see those characters grow. I didn’t get either. In particularly the relationship between the main character and the female sniper could have been much more interesting.
All in all, Black Hole Sun was a fun read. It has plenty of action and comedy, and delivers both very well. If that’s what you’re craving, you will be satisfied. Personally, I wished it had been a more engrossing read.