Customer Reviews


114 Reviews
5 star:
 (51)
4 star:
 (35)
3 star:
 (17)
2 star:
 (6)
1 star:
 (5)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable with a beauty and power to it. Extraordinary.
The Dog Stars is not your usual type of novel, apocalyptic or otherwise. It is written almost as a stream of consciousness in sparse, broken, rarely punctuated prose. The life it portrays is that of Hig, a 40-year-old who was once a poet, husband, expectant father, living a busy life in the city, going to the cinema, shopping, reading, doing everything that you and I may...
Published 22 months ago by Kate

versus
37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enigmatic, awkward to read, yet with a poignant core
In essence this is a classic post-apocalyptic novel. The civilised world has been destroyed by plagues and climate change, and the few survivors have descended to a "kill or be killed" lack of morality, and struggle after vanishing resources.

And yet our narrator somehow manages to survive in a fragmentary existence, kept alive by his passion for flying his...
Published 23 months ago by R. F. Stevens


‹ Previous | 1 212 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable with a beauty and power to it. Extraordinary., 11 Sep 2012
By 
Kate (Oxford, Oxon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Dog Stars (Hardcover)
The Dog Stars is not your usual type of novel, apocalyptic or otherwise. It is written almost as a stream of consciousness in sparse, broken, rarely punctuated prose. The life it portrays is that of Hig, a 40-year-old who was once a poet, husband, expectant father, living a busy life in the city, going to the cinema, shopping, reading, doing everything that you and I may do. He is now a widower, hunter, survivor, existing on the edges of a great wood, marooned in a hanger along with his Cessna plane (the Beast), his beloved dog Jasper and his survivalist neighbour Bangley.

More than 99% of the population are gone, wiped out by a flu and blood virus nine years before, and the earth itself is increasingly ravaged by global warming. Deer seem to cope with the heat but the rivers are emptying of their fish and the skies of birds just as the world has emptied itself of people. The few who survive are mostly just a step away from death, courtesy of the the persistent blood virus or the guns and axes of fellow survivalists.

Hig and Bangley carry on together in a type of marriage, not really communicating, but patrolling their property, hunting deer and, in Hig's case, circling the area in his plane searching for danger approaching. That's actually not what Hig is doing. What he's really doing is searching for life - the signs of recovery, mourning his wife and unborn child but existing in each moment and finding a beauty in it, accompanied by his faithful dog, Jasper.

Hig is obsessed by a voice he once heard over the Cessna radio and when something happens to trigger a change he sets off to find its source, going beyond the point of no return, like an Amelia Earhart, and finds more than he can have expected.

The Dog Stars is beautifully done. Not just for the poetry of its prose but for the connection that it forges between the reader and Hig. He invites us in with the sparsest of language, each word carefully selected. They're not all serious either. Hig has a sense of humour and a consciousness of how ridiculously tragic it has all become. Some of the things that Hig is driven to do are simply horrible and the regret that he suffers for his pragmatism is painful to observe.

Hig's relationship with Jasper is both joyful and poignant. I must admit, my tears did flow. Even Bangley, ostensibly one of those survivalists who lives in a bunker and shoots anything that moves, is not everything he seems. Getting to know him a little better, as we and Hig do, is one of the rewards provided by The Dog Stars. There are other characters, too, that we come to know but I'll leave those for you to discover.

The novel is not all reflection by any means. Throughout are tense scenes in which Hig is forced to fight for his life. There is brutality and gore. There is also the biggest contrast between this existence and Hig's previous life, in which, for instance, he saw Avatar on a date.

The Dog Stars is one of those marmite novels. Its style is not for everyone. However, it was for me. I am a fan of apocalyptic novels but this one has a beauty and power to it that meant I read it in a single day. Despite the loss and the waste, it is sprinkled with hope, love, friendship and renewal. I miss it already. I'll not forget Hig.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enigmatic, awkward to read, yet with a poignant core, 15 Aug 2012
By 
R. F. Stevens "richard23491" (Ickenham UK) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Dog Stars (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
In essence this is a classic post-apocalyptic novel. The civilised world has been destroyed by plagues and climate change, and the few survivors have descended to a "kill or be killed" lack of morality, and struggle after vanishing resources.

And yet our narrator somehow manages to survive in a fragmentary existence, kept alive by his passion for flying his old Cessna airplane and the help of a single neighbour he forms an uneasy alliance with.

The narration is awkward. To read. Like this because. Drifts away into. Sentences are shorter than. Proper sentences sometimes happen. Lucid thoughts occasionally clarify.

See what I mean? That is not a direct quote, but an example of how his style works. It is awkward and clumsy, and that is why it took me the best part of three months to finish reading it.

There is a good story in there, but it takes some heavy weeding to get to it. I think the disconnected style is too detrimental, and for me that has definitely lost it a star.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Downbeat, but optimistic, 20 Jun 2012
By 
Mr. Christopher Lancaster "clanca1234" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Dog Stars (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
There have been many books written about events following a global catastrophe - from the grandiose and character-driven (Stephen King's The Stand) to the sparse and terrifying (The Road). The Dog Stars has more in common with the latter than the former, but stands alone in its own right as a genuinely impressive work.

Hig owns a plane, and is a survivor (along with his neighbour). They have enough food and stores to survive for as long as they want, but Hig is haunted by a voice that he heard on the radio a few years previously, and wants to find out what might have happened both to the owner of the voice, and to the world beyond his narrow confines.

The result is a fascinating and ultimately heart-warming tale, told from in the first person in a sparse style that is reminiscent of The Road. However, whereas Cormac McCarthy's novel told a tale of a dying, ash-covered earth with no hope of redemption, this is very different.

Heller has come up with a genuinely thought-provoking piece of fiction that deserves to be read by a wide audience. Highly recommended, not just for fans of post-apocalyptic fiction, but for anybody who likes a slightly challenging but ultimately satisfying read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, 24 Nov 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Dog Stars (Kindle Edition)
For me a beautiful, evocative , melancholic read. Left me wanting to know a little more of what might happen, but that feeling was probably also intended by the author. Couldn't put this down and had to pull myself away to do the daily tasks such as making meals and tending children.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The end is not what you expect, 13 July 2012
By 
B. Bello (Stourton) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Dog Stars (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This book initially really disturbed me; it made me consider how I would react to the end of everything that mattered to me. It also explores our core nature and the fragility of our culture and civilisation. The author does have a unique style that I think added to the reading experience, he makes you think rather than just experience and I have to say that the story really made me uncomfortable! What stopped me from giving it a higher rating was the ending, I thought it was very weak and a bit shallow when you compared it the experience of the rest of the book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wholly Human, 18 Jun 2012
By 
The Wolf (uk) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Dog Stars (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
'The Dog Stars' is a novel about survival in adversity where a bunch
of flowers from a child or an abandoned truck loaded with soda drinks
might mean the difference between hope or a descent into madness.

Hig is a pilot, who together with his rough and ready friend Bangley
and devoted dog Jasper, is attempting to sustain some kind of
existence in an America devastated by a flu-like epidemic. Those who
remain are divided into marauding gangs of murderous thugs and small,
barely-thriving, communities of frightened survivors, still blighted by a
deadly blood disease. With many questions unanswered we are thrust
into Hig's terrifying world as he comes to terms with the loss of almost
everything he once held dear. Author Peter Heller's narrative style
took me a while to adjust to. The terse, at times abrasive, flow dips
in and out of grief, memory and a tentative and fragile belief in some
kind of meaningful future, in compact paragraphs of startlingly poetic
intensity. In the face of disintegrating social and moral order Hig is
the kind of believable hero who you'd want on your side in a crisis.

A book with the capacity to provoke laughter and tears if you let it.
Hopeful and human to the core and unforgettable in its raw candour.

Highly Recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sparse writing style, 28 May 2012
By 
Alison "runninggirlcycling" (Derbyshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Dog Stars (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
After initially feeling somewhat irritated by the unusually sparse writing style (in particular there is no punctation denoting speech) I became accustomed to the style and got used to when characters were speaking. I quickly got hooked into the book.

The story is set about 9 years after a global catastrophe has occurred with the majority of the population wiped out and with civilisation and all its infrastructure ruined. The narrator is Hig, or Big Hig as he would like to be known. Hig lives on an airfield with his trusty dog Jasper and his 'neighbour' Bangley. Hig has a Cessna airplane and just enough fuel to do some local flights to check the 'perimeter' and make some visits to a mennonite commune nearby. Hig, Bangley and Jasper have a routine and a relatively comfortable existence, all things considered, but Hig feels an urge to go in search of a voice he heard on the radio 3 years previously.

About half of the book covers Hig and Bangley's relationship and lifestyle and the other half is about Hig's journey. With such a small cast of characters you might think this would be a slow and dull read but it is well paced with lots happening as well as a deep consideration of character and relationship.

I love post-apocalyptic fiction, but this feels a bit different to the usual. A flu virus is the basis of the catastrophe but there are no zombies or vampires here. Just desperate people in desperate times. You might need to give the book a little time as you get used to the lack of speech marks but it is worth it and you will realise why the lack of speech marks works so well.

I loved this book and highly recommend it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this if you loved The Road!, 24 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Dog Stars (Paperback)
Awesome only marginally less nihillistic and with slightly more hope than the The Road this is one of those books that I read in a couple of sittings.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of a kind!, 18 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Dog Stars (Kindle Edition)
My personal favourite book. It is extremely emotional and very well written, not your every day post apocalyptic story. The way you Peter Heller expresses Higs thoughts and emotions is truly extraordinary as it makes you feel a real empathy for the character as if you were right next to him the whole time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tough start but worth finishing, 30 Jan 2014
By 
Mrs. S. Payne (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Dog Stars (Kindle Edition)
I picked up this book as I like post-apocalyptic novels, they interest me and I have read all the usual ones, so naturally thought I’d like this one too but this one is a bit different.

The story follows Hig, a 40-year-old who was once a husband and expectant father living a perfectly normal life but due to a flu and blood virus that wiped out 99% or the world’s population 9 years earlier, he is now a widower and hunter. He lives out his days living in an airplane hangar along with his Cessna plane, his beloved dog Jasper and his survivalist neighbour Bangley. They have enough food and stores to survive for as long as they want, with Hig doing the occasional ‘shopping’ trip in the plane, but Hig is haunted by a voice that he heard on the radio a few years previously. This leads him to want to find out who the owner of the voice is, what might have happened to them, and to the world beyond his narrow confines. One day, Hig decides to venture out in the plane to a point of no return to see what else has survived in the world. He knows that he may run out of fuel and never make it back to Bangley but he wants to make the trip.

The story is told from in the first person in a sparse style and as previous reviewers have said, the narration of the book takes some getting used to. It took me to until about 30% through the book before I really started to enjoy it. I had thoughts of giving up (which I hate to do) but I am so glad that I persevered. This really becomes a heart-warming story with moments of sadness and humour and once you get through the first 3rd of the book, it hooks you in.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 212 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Dog Stars
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller (Paperback - 9 May 2013)
6.29
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews