The Last Star by Rick Yancey [A Book Review].

SPOILERS AHEAD. 

After reading The Infinite Sea, I was at a loss. I wanted to know what happened next, I wanted to know what happened to Evan, what happened to Ringer and the others. Logically, I knew the next and last novel was set for publication in the summer, but all those months ago, it seemed like forever away.

When I bought the book, I had no idea what to expect and I think that’s the best way to start reading a story. Not knowing what’s going to happen on the next page, the next chapter, if they were going to solve it, if someone was going to lapse, or die, the constant thrill and curiosity that fuelled my mind was never ending. So much so, that I finished the book in about three days and probably would’ve sooner, if I hadn’t been so busy putting a new bed together. Apparently, this summer I’ve become the Hulk.

The Last Star is just as strange, wonderful and thought provoking as the last two. It questions what is human, what makes us human and how do we cope if that is taken away. What happens when the very thing that makes us human, our humanity, our care, compassion, loyalty and trust is stripped? In the end, even with our creations, our books and films, art and culture, what will humanity be remembered for? At the base of it, the way to conquer humankind, is to take away their heart and soul, for without love, the human race will kill and hunt their own, indifferent to feelings.

The plot of this novel takes so many twists and turns, that the reader is lost and disorientated for a while, but I suppose that’s the point. We know that civilization as we know it has crumbled. We know that the Others phased us out through waves and then sent Silencers down to kill us, hunt us like vulnerable deers. What we don’t know, what the reader has been confused about, is why and if the aliens are even real. Has it just been corrupt, brainwashed humans slaughtering others? It is not like we are immune to such cases, just take a look at history and its tainted in blood and death.

We finally realise, through Ringer and Vosch that the aliens are another race from a planet far away. They’ve developed and progressed further than we have, they wish to save humankind and control us, to keep us contained, so that we don’t grow up too large and powerful. They believe that we are doomed and see that killing the seven billion people or so, is the answer. To do that, they made it seemed like they were here, physically, but they never were. It has all been done technically, alien minds and plans downloaded into human bodies, like Evan, set out to kill other humans, but then it’s revealed that maybe that’s not the case. It is and it isn’t, the aliens had never been on Earth.

They studied us for years, noted how we acted and how we behaved, to find out what would break us. Then they created a story, that some humans had been aliens all along, but really it was a computer program, designed to brainwash and kill other, free, still alive humans. On top of that, the so called military began training humans, only to kill their own kind, under the false guise of ‘the infested’, and on top of that, there are enhanced humans, gifted with the 12th system, the alien technology that gives the Others stronger bodies. These humans too are there to wipe out the remaining human souls, to let the world restart and leave the survivors to rebuild.

Or so it seemed.

Vosch is the book’s main antagonist, a human working with the Others, promised immortality by their side while the world burned and he revealed that the world, the cities, would soon go up in flames. Why? To take away humanity’s core was not enough, but to take away our memories of a past, of culture, of humanity and what it meant, would be that there was no going back. We would stay, forever indifferent.  

The book’s main group of characters, do not let this happen. Cassie, the girl from The Fifth Wave, who was found holding a gun and a teddy bear, sacrifices herself for the fate of humanity. She becomes humanity, downloaded all of the minds that had been taken, she knows everything and understands what is about to happen. She knows what she needs to do, she has become the seven billion killed and it is the seven billion that saved the few that are left. In what would have been humanity’s last days, humanity rose up and defended their own.

It has always been said, that when something threatens your home, you stand to defend it, no matter what previous prejudices, because saving home, saving what’s ours is always more important. Humanity are, if anything, stubborn to the bone and will not go silently into the night.

Somewhere in all the war and death, there is a voice and it’s shouting, it’s still thriving, it is Cassie in the stars blowing up the mother ship full of bombs, it is Ringer battling with her broken back, it is Evan Walker gaining his memories back, it’s Ben Parrish avenging his sister, it is Megan finding her voice and it is Sam regaining his youth. It’s humanity. It’s that damn teddy bear, the tether that ties us all.

It’s not hate.

It’s not fear.

It’s not rage.

It’s the one thing the Others did not expect.

It’s love. And something else, innocence in the face of horror, courage when everything’s going to shit, joy when your heart is broken and a smile, one last bloody smile before the world slips from your view.

It’s never giving up.

We are doomed, there’s no questioning that. But if this novel has taught me anything, it is that the human mind is far more powerful than we think.  

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