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3.9 out of 5 stars69
3.9 out of 5 stars
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 26 September 2013
This is a short book. I managed to finish it in a single sitting around the pool on holiday, with only a break for lunch. It's one of those books that keeps you turning the pages until you get to the end. It's a bit like watching a film inside your head. This isn't a sprawling plot with complicated twists and turns. It's very linear, but filled with lots of imagination and enough intrigue to keep you engaged.

The plot is similar to other stories that have come before it ("Lord of the Flies" springs to mind), but the author has put enough of his own stamp to make it unique and worthwhile. I found myself invested in the central characters and their plight and wanting to know more about the mysterious circumstances that triggered the events. However, some of the tricks-of-the-trade were a little obvious at times. There is a cliffhanger at the end of most chapters, for example, and it some of the plot progression was there to give me a guided tour of the world that the author has created.

I would argue that this is a solid book, well worth a recommendation. If you've just finished the Wool series, and are coming to this book expecting more of the same, then you may be disappointed. This is a different book with a equally different, but engaging, style of writing. Another home run from Mr Howey.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 19 April 2014
I read this after reading the wool series and sand. I found the wool series brilliant, real page turners, I then read Sand and was left feeling let down so I decided to try Half Way home. It wasn't anywhere as good as the wool series but it was better than Sand.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 October 2014
I really really loved the Wool series and so was looking forward to reading this book. Felt very disappointed. IT was supposed to be written from a teenager's perspective but it didn't come across like this and I did not connect with any of the characters. Conversely, the book didn't have the depth or strong narrative pull of his wool series and I wondered if he had actually written this when he was a lot younger himself (and only decided to publish it after the success he has had). Perhaps the change of gear in the style of writing was supposed to make it more accessible to the younger market but I just found it lacked flow and lacked energy. I really didn't understand the whole sexual identity crisis of the main character. I felt this wasn't even interesting and just detracted from the story. The weird thing was that none of these teenagers seemed to even have sex - how unbelievable is that!!? I thought the premise was good and then it all went off in a very strange direction. I really did not get what was so exciting about big trees, caterpillar type animals and falling fruit.
**SPOILER HERE***And the idea of a creature that defecates gold was just laughable!
The beginning when the children were getting out of their "incubators" was the most exciting bit and it just went downhill after that. Sorry Hugh. I'll still try more of his work but think he should have left this one in the bin.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 7 September 2012
Half way home is set in the future, colonies of humans grown in lab conditions are sent out establish themselves on viable planets. The training in their assigned roles is taught to them as the sleep during the journey.

Those that land on non-viable are exterminated.

The ship lands prematurely and only half their education is complete - but the exterminations process starts leaving the main character Porter his friends Kelvin and Tarsi and the remaining survivors stranded. They try to set up as best they can.

The colony fractures and splinter groups escape the regimented daily tasks to explore. They come across different creatures good and bad and discover things about themselves and about life.

The plot drives the novel forward with engaging characters and imaginative scenes. Many issues are covered as the child-like adult survivors tackle their emotions with barely any experience of interacting with others.

Can they survive ? Is the planet too harsh to establish a colony ? Why was the abort process not fully completed ?

You can't second guess it ... you have to read it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 2012
This was quite an enjoyable read - an interesting take on how other worlds might be colonised, explained clearly and well. It is written in the first person, which I like, and well written. As the survivors are all teenagers, you can predict a 'Lord of the Flies' situation might be in the offing - and it does a little bit. But it is an AI in charge, so the degeneration of society isn't quite the same, and you are spared a repeat there.

It's a fairly 'contemplative' story, not so much action-adventure, and the description of the new world is kept simple. (not like your Neal Asher complex alien ecosystems). The story rolls along enough to keep you interested, but doesn't have the same grip as Wool by the same author does, and it perhaps meanders a bit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 September 2014
This is a decent enough read but more a sketch of a novel than a full-blown one. Nothing wrong with that, many slender novels can pack a punch but unfortunately this one doesn't and falls well short of the bar Howey has set for himself with Wool in particular.

The characters are paper thin and a bit contrived for example- it's almost a grade school roll call of political correctness, introducing a confused, gay main protagonist, vegetarians etc which is great and holds a lot of potential in a contemporary SF novel, but they come across more as cardboard cut-outs than real people. To be fair, I think this book is perhaps more aimed at the Young Adult market than the more 'mature' SF one, but all the same you can't help felling an opportunity is lost here as a very good premise never really gets off the ground in any substantial way- even the world the pioneers land on comes across as bland and dying on it's feet with boredom.

Having said that it was a pleasant enough, un-taxing read but I think Hugh needs to move up a gear. I'm sure he will and when he does, I'm certain there are plenty of SF classics in him. This one however I feel, will be filed away under 'the formative years.'
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on 26 October 2013
I enjoyed this book for the most part. An enjoyable look at one way colonisation could occur in the future. The plot cliffhangers at every chapter gave motivation to read further, but also frustrated because you expected them after a few chapters.

Although also short on descriptions, it made up for firing your imagination - what was the colony really like? What did the modules look like? And what about the appearance of the vinnies?

Slight spoiler below:

The only thing that struck me as odd was the inclusion of homosexuality. I am not being anti- or phobic here, but I didn't simply get it. It seemed tacked-on, added as if to justify some form of social commentary, and seemed completely at odds with the behaviour of the character in question. The end notes also thanked several gay friends, and this further caused me confusion... Was this book about homosexuality, or not? I read it as if it were not, as I did not see any mention until almost the very end - and it made no sense to me. Did I miss something here?

That said, it was a gripping adventure, well-paced, with a good narrative structure and well-written from a first-person perspective (usually something I loathe, and the only other first person narrative I've liked is Neal Stephenson's Anathem). The author's details to human contact is prevalent and well-described throughout, and I read it through in a couple of days.

I nice escapist read, but with minor flaws and quirks I was able to skip past for most. It was good enough to consider other works by this author.
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VINE VOICEon 18 July 2014
The premise of Half Way Home is fantastic - a colonisation effort gone spectacularly wrong winds up with fifty teenagers trying to colonise a new planet as opposed to five hundred well-trained adults.

Things I loved about it: the narrator (an empathetic young man struggling with his sexuality). he is flawed and confused and makes mistakes and is extremely relatable. I loved the action, too - the first third of the book starts to feel a bit Lord of the Flies, and it was great to move away from that and into exploration /mystery solving mode. I also liked the method used to keep the characters' values current - by cutting off their training halfway through the twentieth century they remain more relatable.

the thing I didn't like was that at times it felt like a pro-life screed. I have no idea if that was the author's intention, but with the emphasis on the term used to cancel a colonisation effort ('abort') and the discussion of potential lives snuffed out, that's the territory is strayed into for me. it is also pretty short and simple, and outside the main characters, characterisation is fairly flat and, in places, outright ridiculous (oliver was particularly odd). there is a note at the end that this book was written for nanowrimo, and I wasn't surprised.

still, those issues aside I *did* like it. if you're a fan of howey I'd definitely give it a shot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 May 2013
I bought this after reading his trilogy - well, that's a misnomer (three novellas do not make a novel) - but which nonetheless I truly enjoyed. But this? There is nothing here except for a well-conceived other world. Maybe it was not intended for me but rather for young adolescents. If so the Kindle review(s) did not mention it. Even so I think characterization is almost non-existent and the same can be said for the plot, which I thought was at about the level of a good short story. Very disappointing...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 January 2014
Wow, it's not often you finish a book wanting more so strongly. This book is such an interesting depiction of the future, and the colonisation of other planets. The story is well written and unlike some books you really get to know and understand the characters, and like them as if they were real.
My only regret is that I don't think this book will be a series and it comes to the end of a journey, but you'll have to read it, and I recommend you do, to reach the end by yourself
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