Sunday, 25 September 2016

The Last Star by Rick Yancey (The 5th Wave, #3) - Book Review

4/5 Stars



Edition: Paperback
Pages: 338
Chapters: 98
Publisher: Penguin Books

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Website


I love The 5th Wave, the first entry to this alien-invasion trilogy; I even semi-love parts of The Infinite Sea, book number two, which, at least for me, isn't as immersive and cohesive as its predecessor. The Last Star is almost an amalgamation of the two. There are parts to this finale that blow me away with frightening ferocity; and then there are parts that annoy me to the point of willing the novel to combust in my hands.

Is The Last Star a satisfactory concluding tale? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes! Despite its tendency to repeat itself and run in circles, this instalment does do a phenomenal job of closing the series with a literal, heartbreaking, and hopeful bang.

It's the journey to that that's marked with holes, and hopefully I can clearly explain why.



They're down here...they're up there...they're nowhere. They want the Earth; they want us to have it. They came to wipe us out; they came to save us.

But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves.

In these last days, Earth's remaining survivors will need to decide what's more important: saving themselves...or saving what makes us human.

Plot - 4/5 Stars

The Last Star has a lot of individually strong moments, but the first 3/4 feels ragged and repetitive. There's tons of back and forth; repeated talk of the circle of life and how things are connected. This, in my opinion, takes up far too much room, which, inevitably, interrupts some stellar storytelling. It mostly has to do with the author's style of writing; its lyrical and philosophical tones, which can overwhelm with their prevalence.

There also seems to be an aversion to solid answers, at least until the last 1/4. I don't mind a novel that alludes and shows the reader rather than tells, but sometimes, I like a good, solid explanation over riddle upon riddle. 

I'm moaning excessively now, right?

Well, The Last Star is not its negatives. It contains some phenomenal portrayals of emotion and thought, mixing both with a bleak atmosphere that pulls the reader in. The post-apocalyptic landscape is horrific and addictive, and Yancey's writing really shines during these moments. Survival, humanity and morality are still integral parts of the plot, and the oases of action are adrenaline-infused events that are choreographed to perfection.

It's the last 1/4 that really drives this novel to its 4/5 Stars. Once concrete answers have been given, it's on to the choices the characters will make in their light. It's heartbreaking and hopeful, and it slams home the theme of love the series has played with with unnerving accuracy.

Prepare your tissues.

Pace - 4/5 Stars

The Last Star's flow is a little ragged. It has a good structure when it comes to balancing exposition with action, with plenty of both, but its exposition if often murky, often confusing, and can sometimes lose its point before it makes it. There are times when the novel has some startling things to say, such as the commentary on humanity and its treatment of the planet and its populace.

Characters - 4.5/5 Stars

I love the series' cast. Sure, each of them have some truly enraging qualities that instil the reader with the desire to punch something, but I really do believe that's what makes the characters so great. While their foggy philosophies can sometimes hold them back, there's no denying their intricate developments, palpable emotions, and distinct personalities.

I've seen a few people polarised by Cassie, who I'd say is, at a push, the series' protagonist. Me? God, do I love her. Yancey injects her with so much wit, intelligence and no filter that she often has the reader chuckling. Her progression in this book is the strongest, culminating in an end that does due justice to her character.

Other viewpoints keep things fresh with their individuality. I could go through all of them and their developments, but then I'd risk spoilers, and I'm trying to stay clear of those. But the characters are solid and they all interact with combustible chemistry.

Writing - 3.5/5 Stars

Rick Yancey's writing is pure quality. It really is. The way he can turn a phrase and tickle your morals is fantastic. Creating an atmosphere like a post-apocalyptic world with broken characters? Trust me, he excels. Demanding you to think, to question, to investigate every little thing you've ever thought of as a certainty? Hell to the yes.

So why the 3.5 for this section, you ask?

Too much of a good thing is definitely bad. When you're constantly thinking and churning thoughts over and over; when you're forced to question everything and ruminate on answers that may or may not be true; when the story shifts and shifts and shifts beyond the point it's needed; that is when we cross from enjoyment to frustration. 

Overall - 4/5 Stars

An average beginning and middle give way to an end that justifies most of the negatives. Despite the bad, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this trilogy and can fully understand the hype. Alien invasions mixed with an atmospheric landscape while morally broken survivors search for hope. 

What's not to love in that?

Previous Instalment: The Infinite Sea

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