Title: The Last Star
Author: Rick Yancey
Synopsis: The enemy is Other. The enemy is us.
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.
WARNING: REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
I have so many words.
Now we all know that the final book of a series is the book that always makes us the most nervous. You have so many hopes and expectations for the finale. You want your ships to sail and your favourite characters to get the ending they deserve. And most of all, you don’t want to be disappointed. So, it’s pretty depressing to say that The Last Star was, to me at least, a bit of a disappointment.
My biggest problem with this book was the plot, or more specifically the lack of plot. As usual, the book was filled with Yancey’s signature writing style. There were tons of detailed descriptions and atmosphere building that made you feel just as anxious and uncertain as the characters. But the story was pretty much stagnant in the first half of the book, composed mostly of scenes where Cassie was either cooing over Evan or whining over Evan or having an existential crisis over Evan. Thankfully, it did pick up towards the second half of the book but by that point I already felt let down.
Also, from reading other reviews it turned out I wasn’t the only one who needed more explanation on the Others. Although it was mentioned in The Infinite Sea, I felt like the finale needed to go through again, arguably, the most important question in the story: Why? Yes, it was explained that the waves were designed to bring humanity back to square one in order to save a dying planet. Then again, it would take a hell of a motive to convince someone that the only way to save the world is through a systematic mass extinction. At the end of the day, I felt like that motive still wasn’t explored enough.
Because meanwhile, Yancey was too busy making Casey explore something else: Evanland. I still shudder whenever I think about that god awful sex scene. Cassie talking about planting her flag on the shores of Evanland was straight up weird. And “Cassie the Conquistador”, albeit a witty use of alliteration, had to be one of the most cringeworthy things I’ve read in a novel this entire year.
To more good points: Ben Effing Parrish. He was the saviour, the silver lining, and the bit of hope I clung to throughout the book. His character was real and raw and most importantly he didn’t have a hero complex. He didn’t want to save the human race; he just wanted to protect the people he cared the most because of his guilt for not being able to save his little sister. He broke my heart just a little.
Another good point: Marika. We got to see her vulnerable side in this book which I loved because it made her stronger, not weaker. As for her pregnancy, honestly I’m on the fence about it. Although I can see why some people thought it was unnecessary, I also thought it added to her character development.
Finally, the ending. Just like Marika’s pregnancy, readers’ opinion’s were split on how Yancey wrapped up this heart-stopping trilogy. Some hated it and others loved it. Personally, I’m in the latter. Cassie’s sacrifice wasn’t glorified or over-dramatised. It wasn’t pretentious and most importantly it made sense. I will admit that it was predictable but at the same time it was also necessary. She doesn’t fit the typical Chosen One trope because she was never destined for greatness – she is great because she made her own destiny. Admittedly, this made Evan kind of emo in the end but it was definitely a much better alternative than some Disney-like ending sequence where all the good guys walk away from the wreckage holding hands in slow-motion.
A lot of people who hate the ending hate it especially because Yancey made Ben and Marika get together. Personally, I don’t have an opinion on this dynamic. All I know is, they’re happy together and after the hell they’ve been through it seemed like they deserved it.
All in all, I wanted more from Yancey. And it sucks to know this book didn’t live up to all my expectations. At the end of the day though, this series has been incredible and I don’t regret a single moment of reading it. From Cassie’s fateful encounter with the Crucifix soldier in The Fifth Wave until her sacrifice for humanity in The Last Star, Yancey delivered a YA dystopia novel that inspires to not wait around for destiny but instead take it for ourselves. And that in itself makes The Fifth Wave a series that will always be worth reading.
On to the next one.
Rating: 2.5 / 5