The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

Book: The Dog Stars
Author: Peter Heller
Why I Read It: I love a good apocalyptic dytopian novel, the astronomy nerd in me liked the cover design, and after I read a few lines I was addicted.
First Line: I keep the Beast running. I keep the 100 low lead on tap, I forsee attacks.
First Impression: I am surprised that there are no quotation marks around conversations. I love the laid back narration; usually apocalyptic novels are rather action-driven.
Last Impression: Wow. That was amazing. I am left with a quiet sense of satisfaction.

Overall – 5 Heart Racing The end of the world dystopian novel has been written many, many times but this is the first time it's been such a quiet, reflective world. There is death and strife and hardship, but there is a underlying search for humanity and peace.
Characters – 5 There are few characters, which is understandable considering it's the end of the world. The dynamic is honest and believable; it's the end of the world, you might not like who you are left with but it's better than being alone.
Story – 4 The action in the book is secondary to the internal musings of Hig, the main character. While the events are engaging, it is the characters that truly captivate.
Narration – 5 Poetic and addicting. The novel is set in the Colorado wilderness and each step seen through Hig's eyes is rich and descriptive. The reader forgets the space and gets lost in the flu-destroyed world Hig is left to wander.

Read Again? Absolutely! I checked this copy out from the library, but this is definitely a book I will have to purchase for my library.
Tell Others to Read? Yes. It's accessible, it's part of the currently popular dystopian genre, it has great characters, phenomenal writing and beautiful descriptions. Definitely read this book. And then read it again.

Excerpt: Jasper used to be able to jump up into a cockpit now he can't. In the fourth year we had an argument. I took out the front passenger seat for weight and cargo and put down a flannel sleeping bag with a pattern of a man shooting a pheasant over and over, his dog on three legs, pointing, out in front. Not sure why I didn't do that before. The dog doesn't look like Jasper, still. I carried him. Lay him on the pattern of the man and the dog.

You and me in another life I tell him.

He likes to fly. Anyway I wouldn't leave him alone with Bangley.

When I took out the seat he got depressed. He couldn't sit up and look out. He knows to stay back of the rudder pedals. Once in a shear he skidded into them and nearly killed us. After that I fashioned like a four inch wood fence but scrapped it after he inspected it and jumped out of the plane and like refused to fly, no shit. It insulted him. The whole thing. I used to worry about the engine roar and prop blast, I wear the headset even though there is no one to talk to on the radio because ti dampens the noise, but I worried about Jasper, even tried to make him his own hearing protector, this helmet kind of thing, it wouldn't stay on. Probably why he's mostly deaf now.

When I picked up oil etc I moved the quilt to the top of the stack so he could look out.

See? I said. At least it's good half the time. Better than most of us can expect.

He still thought it was lame I could tell. Not half as excited. So now when I'm not picking up, just flying, which is most of the time, I bolt the seat back in, it just takes a few minutes. Not like we don't have time. First time he sat up straight again and glanced at me like What took you so long? then looked forward real serious, brow furrowed like a copilot. His mood it lifted palpable as weather.

He's getting old. I don't count the years. I don't multiply by seven.

They breed dogs for everything else, even diving for fish, why didn't they breed them to live longer, to live as long as a man?

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This work by H.E. Saunders is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.