The Last Star is the third and final book in The 5th Wave trilogy by Rick Yancey. This is a post-apocalyptic young adult series that follows the lives of various teenagers and their part in the events that follow the five waves of an extraterrestrial invasion. You can find my review of the first book in this series, The 5th Wave, here.
Keep reading for my review of The Last Star!
The premise of the story is that the Earth is being invaded by aliens called The Others. One day a massive spaceship appears in the sky and at first it appears harmless and does nothing. But then the waves of destruction begin. With the first wave, the power goes out. The second is a literal wave, a tsunami. The third wave brought a deadly plague. And the fourth wave brought The Others down to earth – in human bodies. At the beginning of The Last Star, the fifth wave is about to begin.
Whilst Rick Yancey set up a very exciting and unique story back in The 5th Wave, I couldn’t help but feel that The Last Star was a little lacking. The final part of this story takes place over a mere four days and these four days are packed with action, but not much excitement. For me, it felt like there was just more of the same stuff that we’d seen in the previous two novels but with more experienced and hardened characters.
That said, there is one huge plot twist about two thirds of the way in that really made me sit up and pay attention. The problem was that this plot twist, which had the potential to make this story really interesting, wasn’t followed through. It didn’t impact the way this story ended nor did it really come to a close itself. This secret ends up buried with the death of a crucial character but to me that was a thoroughly dissatisfying way to round off that plot line. Yes, it’s interesting that we, the reader, know something that the surviving characters do not and that is always exciting. But without the characters knowing this piece of the puzzle, it sort of made this plot twist completely redundant and it may as well not have been revealed.
The Last Star may not have been as explosive as I wanted, but Yancey gives us a fascinating look into the minds of humans who have had everything taken from them, and what they will do to take their planet back. It really makes you think about how you would change if you lived in a world in which you couldn’t trust anyone. One in which everything you’ve known since birth has been destroyed and most of the people you love are dead. I had the pleasure of meeting the author, Rick Yancey, a few years back and he had some very interesting things to say about what inspired him. You can check out a short video interview with him here.
All three books in this series are told from alternative perspectives but it is in this book that Rick Yancey seems to finally strike a good balance between all the different characters. In the previous books, I often felt like the narratives switched too often between different characters which made it very difficult to get into the minds of each individual. However, by the time we get to The Last Star, enough characters are now dead that this really isn’t a problem anymore. We get a much clearer view of what each character is thinking and feeling and it’s really interesting to compare these characters to those that we met at the beginning of this story. Cassie, Ben, Sam and Ringer are extraordinarily different people now, which is rather disturbing and saddening.
I’ve never felt that this story is for kids and these insights into the minds of the surviving teenagers only reinforces that idea. Yancey’s series is, of course, fiction, but what if it wasn’t? This story fits into the young adult category because of the age of the protagonists but if they were a mere ten years older, I’m sure this story would be considered a hit for adults as well. The things that these ‘children’ do are, quite frankly, horrific, and they may not even be as far-fetched as they first seem. If humanity was turned on itself, I’m sure it would be a bloodbath akin to the one Rick Yancey has written about in his books.
All in all, The Last Star was a bit of a disappointment for me. The 5th Wave is one of my all-time favourite young adult reads and I had high hopes for this series. However, with each new novel, the story got less and less exciting and I didn’t get the explosive ending I wished for. That said, I would still highly recommend this series to people looking for a young adult read, particular the first in the series, as it does really make you think about some important issues related to morality and what it means to be human. The Last Star isn’t bad by any means but Yancey set the bar for himself very high with the first book in this series and unfortunately he didn’t quite manage to keep the momentum going through to the end.
Have you read any books by Rick Yancey? What are some of your favourite young adult reads?