The mysterious Builders have brought humanity to the edge of extinction; can they be reasoned with, or must they be destroyed? Aki Shiraishi is a high school student working in the astronomy club and one of the few witnesses to an amazing event—someone is building a tower on the planet Mercury. Soon, the Builders have constructed a ring around the sun, threatening the ecology of Earth with an immense shadow. Aki is inspired to pursue a career in science, and the truth. She must determine the purpose of the ring and the plans of its creators, as the survival of both species—humanity and the alien Builders—hang in the balance.
This is a new book in Japan Foundation Library. Knowing nothing at all about the book was not an excuse for me to not borrow it…in fact, being new book as the main reason I borrowed it. It looks like a good book and I haven’t yet read sci-fi by Japanese author.
Usurper of The Sun had interesting story but has a VERY slow pace. The incredibly slow pace almost made me abandon the book…but my curiosity got the better of me. I continued reading with a lot of skimming.
Aki Shiraishi was a high school student when she first spotted a tower on Mercury. Her discovery made a lot of scientist interested with it and the tower made Aki became obsesses with it. Over the years, the tower grew into a massive ring around Mercury. Being so close to the sun, the ring caused sun blocking. The earth with its lack of sunlight was facing human extinction.
The scientist tried a lot of method to destroy the ring but the ring had its own defend mechanism. The world created UNSDF (United Nation Space Defend Force) which then sent a ship with four crews to figure out a way to destroy the ring. Aki was chosen as the Ringologist. But destroying the ring didn’t solve the problem because the Builders (the alien who made the ring) were coming to our solar system.
Like I have said above, the story is very interesting but Housuke Nojiri wrote it in a boring way with too many scientific phrases. I like detailed sci-fi story like Crichton often wrote, but Crichton has a way to make science interesting… Kousuke Nojiri lacks of ability to keep the science interesting. Although I skimmed more than half of the book, but I still managed to follow the story. He needs to learn to make a more gripping story where each page is important to be read.
The characters are also thin. The story stretch from year 2006 to 2014 and yet I still couldn’t grasp Aki as a human being. I have no attachment at all toward the characters in the book. A book where there are no interesting characters makes it a bit boring.
The power of the book lied solely on its interesting idea of Alien Invasion. It was very fresh. The Aliens had no concept of presence, they were not bad at all. If only the pace of the story was a bit faster, it would make a wonderful book.
My favorite quote (page 270)
Aki felt certain that humanity would never choose such a lonely existence, especially after having seen what a relentless quest for pure intellect had done to the Builder.