What I thought of… The Dog Stars

The Dog Stars NovelThe dog stars by Peter Heller is a post-apocalyptic novel about hope and what keeps a man going when everything that he has ever known or loved is dead or dying.
The Dog Stars
Hig is a normal guy, or at least he was. Now he lives with his dog Jasper and a misanthropic gun nut called Bagley. They live on a small airfield and their lives consist mostly of checking the perimeter, maintaining their camp and killing anyone and anything that tries to encroach on their land. While they have everything they need to see out the rest of their lives in relative comfort, it is hope more than anything that sustains Hig in this bleak future. It is this hope that causes Hig to take his life into his hands and go out in search of a mysterious voice that calls out to him one day over his plane’s radio.
My thoughts
It may sound clichéd when summed up in a few sentences and maybe it is, I haven’t read enough post-apocalyptic novels to know. It is however very good. It’s not the sort of book I’d normally go for but it was given to me as a gift to read while I was on holiday and I have to say, it is one of the best gifts I have received in a while (well, one of the best gifts that I hadn’t specifically asked for).
I really like the way the book is written. It switches between moments of short, staccato sentences and flowery, poetic musings on the wonder of the world. I can imagine that the changes between the two could be a bit too much for some people. For me however it just made it better. It reads like I think.
The story itself is very entertaining. The world and the setting are really engaging (if slightly clichéd in places). The story is a great mix of exciting edge of your seat drama and beautiful, touching interactions between the inhabitants of this dark future.
My only complaint is that the love story is a bit too thin and slightly out of place. It feels more like something out of a romantic comedy than a gritty post-apocalyptic novel. Luckily it doesn’t take up too much time in the book. Undoubtedly the best part of the book is Hig’s relationship with his dog Jasper. It is brilliantly written and truly touching.
As a role playing adventure
This book would make a great roleplaying adventure (well parts anyway). A group of people thrown together through necessity working together to survive in their own small world. With limited resources they are forced to fight off constant attacks from those that would steal those resources from them or kill them outright. You’d need to introduce mechanics around making sure that the players ate, drank and slept as much as they needed whilst also fighting off would be attackers, but I think it would make for a really interesting game.
Final thoughts
I really love this book. It will almost certainly be adapted into a film in the not too distant future and I hope they do it justice. It is one of the best books that I have read in a very long time. I encourage everyone to read it. Whatever style of novel you’re into, give this book a try I implore you.

9/10 – One of the best books I have read in a long time. Highly recommended.
If you have read the book and would like to give your thoughts on it, take part in our forum discussion. The next book in our ICE book club will be ‘Nod’ by Adrian Barnes and will be reviewed in August. If you would like to give your thoughts on Nod before the next review, you can do so in the forum.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *