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Saturday, 15 October 2016

United as One by Pittacus Lore (Lorien Legacies, #7) - Book Review

4.5/5 Stars

The time has come for the Garde to make their final stand...


Edition: Kindle
Pages: 349
Chapters: 30 (Plus a look forward.)
Publisher: Penguin Books

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Amazon
                      Author's Website (I think, at least in relation to the series.)

Review

United as One signals the end of the fantastical sci-fi series that is the Lorien Legacies, and it's a bittersweet farewell.

For a while now the Lorien Legacies has been a collection that hasn't let me down; one that's been reliable and riveting, blending genres and themes in a way that I just can't get enough of. I'm a little sad. There are still several novellas, side entries I've yet to read, but for all intents and purposes, I've reached the end of an incredible journey.

So why 4.5 and not 5 out of 5 Stars?

United as One is a tremendous tale that, more or less, wraps up the series with spectacular success. But it is a little slow to get going, which is surprising. I know final novels have to build to their finales, but the story has been building for a long, long time, and it doesn't need the slower pace in the first half. 

But, don't be disheartened, this concluding instalment has a climactic battle we've all been waiting for, and it's more than satisfactory.

Synopsis

The Mogadorian invasion has come to Earth, and they have all but won the battle for our planet. Their warships loom over our most populous cities - like New York City, Tokyo, Moscow, Beijing, and New Delhi - and no army will risk making a move against them. The Garde are all that stand in their way...but they are no longer alone in this fight. Human teens from across the globe, like John Smith's best friend, Sam Goode, have begun to develop Legacies of their own.

The Garde have always known there is power in numbers. If they can find these new allies and join forces with them, they just might be able to win this war.

The time has come for the Garde to make their final stand.

Plot - 4.5/5 Stars

United as One takes a pondering approach to begin with. The story and the cast both deal with the finale and twists that The Fate of Ten left them with, and the brief reprieve from fighting acts as both a positive and a negative. After six books of mostly balanced action and exposition, the slower approach can be a little annoying. Especially considering this is the last entry to the series.

But it's not wasted. Character development is focused on, as are more subtle acts of battle. For the first half of the novel we experience some touching emotion, but that pales in comparison to the terrific tension and the group's scenes of strategy. Psychological warfare is predominant, and the author does a great job of creating chaos without throwing our characters into a big battle.

Then again, big battles do come, and they are everything I wanted and more. United as One pulls all its lore and collects it for consecutive epic fights. Action is glorious as the author unleashes every superpower possible into stunning scenes. The final battle showcases what this series has always been about: Unity. It definitely touches your heart, and with darker themes, United as One is a fitting conclusion.

There is a look forward. After we conclude the series' arc, the author gives us a glimpse one year into the future. It ties things fine, but I'm not in love with it. It's a little rushed.

Pace - 4/5 Stars

As I said, we begin slow. It's a little jarring, considering the series is mostly fast-paced and unrelenting, but it is worth it despite being unnecessary.

The standard flow returns with a vengeance, though, and it all coalesces tightly.

Characters - 4.5/5 Stars

The Lorien Legacies has always done fantastic work with its characters, and United as One is no different. I'll happily repeat myself by saying you do, 100%, feel like you're with these diverse individuals, rather than someone watching from afar. Development is darker, which fits in line with the story's atmosphere. We've reached the precipice, and our characters know it's time to jump.

John, our protagonist (mostly), is especially great. The war between his dark side and his sense of right is invigorating. He's always been the moral compass; capable of making the hard decisions, but always making them with others in mind. United as One keeps this framework, but there's an undercurrent of unpredictability to the character, an undercurrent that's not lost on the people around him who are dealing with their own progressions.

Writing - 4.5/5 Stars

Pittacus Lore has to be given props for the range of emotions that this series effortlessly elicits. This entry balances light and dark, and the heroics compliment the heartbreak that the reader is helpless to experience. Scenes are simple, but expansive, with an efficient use of detail. 

The first-person narrative also gives us invaluable insight into the minds of our cast, complimenting the story with genuine personal journeys. And despite my continued moaning about the slow start, the present tense doesn't make it a bumpy ride.

And let's not forget the comedy. United as One has some standout humour that had me near tears. It doesn't always hit the mark, but there are moments when you have to stop and let the wit roll through you.

Overall - 4.5/5 Stars

I urge anyone who loves young adult novels that thrive on science-fiction and alien invasions to give this series a shot. Even if you don't, give this series a shot. It's a strong collection of epic tales that upkeep a solid quality. 


Previous Instalment: The Fate of Ten


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