By: Hugh Howey
# of pages: 245
Challenges: A to Z, Full House (# in title)
Quote: “Crying isn’t simply about opening the floodgates to some private trauma and letting it out – crying is just as much about letting those around you know you’re hurting. Our tears are trying to serve a purpose, but we rarely let them. I don’t know how we got started with subverting that purpose . . . I just know that it takes a bit of courage to unlearn that shame. . .” -p. 201
For centuries, men and women have manned lighthouses to ensure the safe passage of ships. It is a lonely job, and a thankless one for the most part. Until something goes wrong. Until a ship is in distress.
In the 23rd century, this job has moved into outer space. A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at many times the speed of light. These beacons are built to be robust. They never break down. They never fail.
At least, they aren’t supposed to.
My opinion: Here’s another book I read on the Kindle. It’s weird to say this, but the Kindle is growing on me! I’m trying to use my free one month Kindle Unlimited subscription before it runs out, but after that I’ll be back to my old fashioned library books…or checking out Kindle books from the library. Sometimes it’s nice having the Kindle…I can read in the dark and I can prop it up easier and not have to hold it open. Just weird because I’ve never been into the idea of tablet books before.
I very much enjoyed this book by Hugh Howey. I loved the Silo series and enjoyed Sand. I’ve been meaning to read this for years, but it wasn’t available at my library. I’m glad I finally read it, because it was amazing. It was beautifully written and had a beautiful message.
The story is about a war hero who retired from the military and the endless war with an alien species called the Ryph. He now runs a beacon (lighthouse) on the edge of the galaxy, which gives him plenty of time to wallow in grief and regret since he is completely alone with little contact with the rest of the galaxy. He wants to be left in “peace,” but that’s not how his plan works out.
After a long series of bad luck turns his solitary life upside down, he realizes that he still has a purpose. All of the months of thinking and remembering and the new encounters he’s had have changed him and his point of view. What seems like a simple sci-fi at the beginning turns into a story of peace and forgiveness. That sounds cliche, but as you will find out, the cost of peace is anything but easy and thoughtless.
I found myself highlighting several passages throughout the novel thanks to the highlight feature on Kindle. I often related to the protagonist’s feelings. Extreme depression has been a part of my life for years and I ached while reading about the main character’s similar feelings. I also felt hope at the end of the book just as the character experiences the same thing, so I’d call this a successful story.
Why I gave this book 5/5 stars: Beautifully written, a serious message delivered in both serious and humorous ways, interesting characters that are easy to relate to.