Book Review: The Last Star by Rick Yancey

Non Spoilery:

So this is the third and final book in this series and trust me you do not want to be spoiled for this series because not knowing what’s happening is all a big part of it so go read the series then come back and we can discuss!

Spoilers Ahead!

I did not realize what a fabulous author Rick Yancey was until now. I’m just gonna start out by saying that. It feels like it has been forever since I read the 5th Wave and the Infinite Sea and they’re not exactly books you reread all the time so the last contact I’ve really had with the series was seeing the movies and this book has only made me realize even more what a disappointment the movies was.

I mean in that they completely lose sight of Cassie’s character in the movies because from the get go in the Last Star she is everything we want her to be. Her witty, sarcastic humor just kills me. Everything she says/thinks is just so hilarious and sarcastic despite the super dark depressing world she’s in where kids are dying and her parents are dead and her little brother is saying he hates her and they’re all going to be killed by aliens.

I love that the first line we get from her is “I’m going to kill Evan Walker”. We know he is her love interest, and yet she says this throughout the series. And I love it. The way Rick writes Cassie is so flawless and she is just such a refreshing protagonist to follow around because she is so witty and funny and everything she says is dripping with sarcasm but then she says or thinks about these things that seem funny or unimportant and Rick spins them into these deep manful metaphors. He does it 4 or 5 times in her first chapter. With the alphabet and the importance of Sam forgetting it. Then with the idea that she loves too many Bens which when she lists all 3 is cute but then she gets deep on this idea that no one is just one simple person anymore and then she does it in the same paragraph with the idea that she wants a sandwich and then flips it into how normal has changed. I just click with her brand of sarcasm.
Now that I’ve praised Rick’s writing (STOP HERE MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD) WTF RICK?!?! You went and pulled and Allegiant on us and killed your main character. Now granted her death sits much better with me because the way it was done is beautiful and it was not just senseless. But still WTF? Does everyone have to try and be George R.R. Martin now and go with this whole “no character is safe” mantra?

It’s not like this series hasn’t had its fair share of death. In the last book we lost Poundcake and Teacup. This book right of the bat we lost Dumbo but I was wondering which one of our main narrators wasn’t going to make it out. For a bit I thought it was going to be Sam and it would be a sort of Hunger Games finale where the entire reason our protagonist has been fighting is the one who dies in the end. But then about half way through I thought for sure it was Evan. And even in the last few pages I thought I was right.

Now I’m just going to talk about the end first because it’s where I was getting nervous at every turn. So Ringer and Evan have their death match and at first I was sad because I thought well there goes Ringer, but after he moved on I knew she was good. Then Cassie electrocutes Evan, so I thought I was right and he was the goner. Then Cassie starts getting this idea. And I was not having it. Then I thought it was going to be Ringer again because she’s gonna eat the pill. But then we realize Cassie has it. She’s going to sacrifice herself because she is humanity. And I was just dumbstruck with the entire last chapter where they flipped back and forth between all the characters. I had checked to see who narrated the end and I was nervous that Cassie was not that close to the end. But then I was so happy that she narrated part of the Seven Billion Chapter, and then I realized what she was doing and it was just a terribly sad ending to one of my all time favorite narrators, who was both prophetic and sarcastic all the time, but it was a beautiful ending.

So the rest of the story:

Even though Cassie is my favorite, I love how all the character are written because even though they’re all written by the same author they are so distinct in how they think, act and talk. Cassie is always thinking in grand metaphors (the shark, the mayfly, Evan’s body being described as her conquering a land, Evanland) but always sarcastic with comments like calling Evan her “human-alien personal security guard” or “I can’t remember the last time- or really the first time- I saw Evan exercise his Second Amendment right to bare arms. Evan Walker has biceps”. That line literally has me falling over laughing because in such a dark story it’s so unexpected. I also love how Cassie is not written as an unrealistically smitten teenage girl. She is in the middle of a war and so it wouldn’t make sense for her to be head over heels for some guy she barely knows but at the same time she brings it back to there’s more than one type of love and that she’d destroy the world for Sam not Evan and in the end it’s really Sam she sacrifices herself for. She doesn’t hate Evan Walker but it’s not the usual YA “we just met but I love you enough to die for you Romeo and Juliet style” love. (not that I don’t love a good YA book with loads of that). She literally says Evan is “a bastard who doesn’t even deserve rescuing”even though we know she’s going to go after him anyways.

Then we have Zombie who is the leader of the group but at the same time he’s always questioning his own leadership and always thinking along the lines of “what would cassie do?” or “what would ringer do?”. I love how he’s pretty much always calling himself and idiot like when he’s commenting on how dumb his own plan was and thinks “Whose bright ideas was it to cut straight through Urbana? Who put that guy in charge?”.  I also love how Ringer and Cassie mention Ben’s smile over and over because I guess it’s just so outstanding but I love at the end Ben uses it as a tactic. “And then I do something that totally throws her off guard, which is the purpose, the genes behind the design that’s worked since  I was twelve years old: I smile. The full on Parish Special”. It just made me laugh because the entire book Ben’s been putting himself down as stupid and Cassie always seems flustered when he does his “weak in the knees” smile and I just thought it was hilarious to realize he knew it was a genius move.

Ringer is always interesting. She’s probably my least favorite to read just because she always understands things that I don’t pick up on so whenever she’s like “now I get it” I’m still hopelessly lost. I did pick up on her stomach thought. After they mentioned it the second time I was positive it was important and my first guess was she was pregnant. So when she told Ben I had a nice “I knew it!” moment but then my next thought was “When did Ben and Ringer sleep together?” I didn’t put it together that it was Razors until it was explicitly mentioned. Ringer did have me falling over laughing once when she used the world penetrate and Cassie’s thought was that it “made her feel icky” because of course the line from Pitch Perfect of “not a good enough reason to use the word penetrate” went through my mind. I was not excited to finished the majority of the story from Ringers POV but in the end I enjoyed seeing Cassie through Ringer’s eyes because she finally saw her as something other than a whiney teenager girl in love. She saw her real courage and admired her for it and saw her strength. Cassie killed Vocsh to save Ringer and then sacrificed herself for everyone.

Now the End end. The after. I love how Ben and Ringer sort of become this mom and dad to Meghan and Sam. I love that Sam is becoming normal again and that Ben is forcing them to do normal things. I also really liked how the meeting in the convince store ties back into the crucifix soldier. And of course the big shocker is that Evan Walker is alive and very sad without his Mayfly and that Ringer named her daughter Cassie which was the real kicker in the end. It was such a bittersweet ending because in the end it seems Evan is more of a shark than he ever was and that even though Ben, Ringer and company are getting back to their ordinary lives the damage of the 5th wave can’t be undone which is shown by the kid in the store who blows his brains out.

All in all I don’t think I’ve ever read a series that makes me think so much and keeps me on my toes for what is going on and who is right. I’m always as confused as the narrators and never know what to think. With the old cat lady I was just as torn as Zombie to if he should kill her or let her live, which is the struggle that the author is trying to point out the entire series, of stripping humans of their humanity. But it’s one thing to read it, it’s another to feel like you’re equally as conflicted as the characters and I think that really is the beauty of Rick Yancey’s writing.

Overall I give the book a 4.5 out of 5 stars. It only loses that last .5 because I am a little bummed at the ending but also there were a few parts that got slow at times but overall I really enjoyed this series, especially since aliens are not really my kind of story usually.

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