Author: T.A Creech
Publisher: JMS Books
Characters: John and Jason
POV: expanded 3rd person (mentioned more in the review)
When contact is lost with Mission Control, Commander John Dennington isn’t overly concerned. Such hiccups in communication are common. The first inkling of the larger problem occurs when he sees the very shape of the world change before his eyes.
John must ease his crew into a new mission and keep the Station together by any means necessary. The crew jeopardizes their chances by fighting his orders, but Jason Weiss, his mission specialist and the light of his life, makes John’s situation more bearable.
The smallest malfunction to Station or crew would spell the end for six astronauts trapped high above a ruined Earth. It’s their mission to carry on. Random chance of the universe hasn’t operated in their favor so far, but John is determined to see them all safely home.
Once catastrophe strikes at home, John, Jason, and the rest of the crew aboard a Space Station orbiting the Earth are powerless to do anything but watch. But as the dust clears, they come up with a plan, but they’ve got to survive long enough to execute it.
Dusk started strong, pushing all the right buttons for me. About half the cast members are a people of color, it’s science fiction and I assumed, at first, a romance. But things quickly lost their luster.
There are a lot of things Dusk does very well, building this world and upping the initial tension of the situation John and his crew face. However, there are things that stick out that made my excitement for this book dwindle to the point that it was hard to finish. Character descriptions are tropey, which I always expect, to an extent and isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when it comes to describing the ethnicities of some of the characters, they’re racially ignorant at best and downright offensive at worst. Some of the issues could have been fixed with a bit of research beforehand (regarding some ideas about darker skinned people, surrounding John) and others are a bigger problem that maybe Creech might not have been aware of (descriptions of the Japanese and Native American characters come immediately to mind). On top of which, some of these descriptions are inconsistent which created a problem for me in imagining what the characters look like aside from maybe John and Jason, and there are issues there as well. The one that bothered me most was how John refers to Jason as the “pinnacle of male perfection” with emphasis on all his pale skinned, blonde haired, green eyed glory. As a nonwhite person the paleness of my white friends isn’t something I tend to focus on. Granted, it could be seen as John just viewing Jason through the rosy lens of their relationship, but with everything else I mentioned, it feels like another step in the wrong direction. There are many ways this could have been illustrated and I wish one of those had been chosen.
While the thorough descriptions were welcome in the beginning, shaping the world, they later feel like too much when I wanted more movement. They felt less like they were fleshing things out rather than stalling. The book is very slow paced, though it picks up in the last few chapters, I had trouble reading that long. There just isn’t a lot that happens after the initial conflict. Maybe if there had been some foreshadowing of what was to come, but instead if focused more on John and Jason in a way that wasn’t too interesting to me.
Another point of contention I had while reading was the way Creech handled the all male cast. Taking out of the equation that it seems a little odd that the only people who could be on the station for this job were six men (I know it’s for the purpose of staying in the m/m genre and having other couples for different books, hence, why I’m ignoring it) it just got confusing. There’s a paragraph where 3 different characters are mentioned, first by name, but are then reduced to he and his and it gets hard to tell which he is being mentioned. This happens several times throughout the book and sometimes requires another read to tell who is who, or you could just skip over it which is where I ended up in the end. This is made worse by the “expanded third person” for lack of another name for it. It’s not quite omniscient, as it doesn’t go into the heads of all characters involved, only Jason and John. This switches often without warning and it’s unclear when it switched or who is talking.
John and Jason have an established relationship, so there’s no falling in love vibes here, but more that they’re trying to make it work given the circumstances. I dig that. Not every book has to have the growing pains of a fledgling relationship. There are few steamy scenes in this, and while the first one is pretty solid, the second one had me scratching my head, trying to figure out exactly what was going on. It takes place in zero gravity so that certainly didn’t help things. But I appreciate Creech making an attempt.
Overall, this book was a mixed bag for me. I liked most of the base story, but the things I mentioned, especially the weird elements regarding race and backgrounds, kept me from getting more into it and rating it higher. This feels very much like an introductory book, but I needed more of a hook to want to continue this story.
(Please note: I’m not calling Creech a racist. I do not know this author and have no opinions on them whatsoever. That doesn’t change how the book reads, however.)
Reviewed By: Jet
Click HERE to purchase Dusk