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Last of Her Name

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Sixteen years ago, rebellion swept the galaxy known as the Belt of Jewels. Every member of the royal family was murdered--down to their youngest child, Princess Anya--and the Union government rose in its place. But Stacia doesn't think much about politics. She spends her days half-wild, rambling her father's vineyard with her closest friends, Clio and Pol.

That all changes the day a Union ship appears in town, carrying the leader of the Belt himself, the Direktor Eminent. The Direktor claims that Princess Anya is alive, and that Stacia's sleepy village is a den of empire loyalists, intent on hiding her. When Stacia is identified as the lost princess, her provincial home explodes into a nightmare.

Pol smuggles her away to a hidden escape ship in the chaos, leaving Clio in the hands of the Union. With everything she knows threading away into stars, Stacia sets her heart on a single mission. She will find and rescue Clio, even with the whole galaxy on her trail.

423 pages, ebook

First published February 26, 2019

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About the author

Jessica Khoury

22 books2,411 followers
Jessica Khoury wrote her first book at age 4, a fan fic sequel to Syd Hoff's Danny and the Dinosaur, which she scribbled on notebook paper, stapled together, and placed on the bookshelf of her preschool classroom. Since that day, she's dreamed of being an author.

When not writing, Jess enjoys spending time with family, playing video games, and oil and watercolor painting. She is also a professional mapmaker, and spends far too much time scribbling tiny trees and mountains for fictional worlds.

Jess currently lives in Greenville, South Carolina. She is the author of the Corpus trilogy, The Forbidden Wish, Last of Her Name, and The Mystwick School of Musicraft.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 276 reviews
Profile Image for Nastassja.
423 reviews966 followers
March 11, 2019

DNF at about 30%. I am ready for some rant!

“It’s probably just some rich Alexandrian tourist with nothing better to do than slum around the outer systems.”
“Yeah.” Clio gives a wistful sigh. “Maybe a handsome, rich Alexandrian tourist, with a troubled past and a broody air and a heart yearning for love.”

Basically this is what this book turned out to be: a boring cliched retelling for bookish tourists, but in this case, I felt myself a duped with a promise of space Anastacia retelling tourist.

First of all, let me start from the easy stuff like special snowflake syndrome and childhood friend turned lover. Our special Stacia finds out she is the last living child of the deceased Emperor, and rebel forces want her to become their leader. And very predictably our special snowflake underlines her specialness by proclaiming she doesn't want to be special. Gasp! Multiple eyeroll follows her proclamation. Billions of people dream to be special and you say you don't? So young and already so cynical.

Then the romance part is just something. There's this nice guy, who they were friends with from young age. He is almost a brother to her. And her best girlfriend has hots on him. And then our special snowflake starts having hots on him as well. Gasp! Phew, that's distasteful. He turns out so nice and cute and she catches her breath... Major eyeroll.
Something warm and strange spreads through me as I look at Pol, standing there with his hair wild around his horns and his foot still pressing an unconscious knight to the ground. I realize—with a shock—that it’s a feeling of awe.

However, these are not my main issues with this book: the foreshadowing of the real Russian history in the early 20th century is. You know, nobody likes demonization of their country's history. I personally find it offensive, though I don't like to throw the word 'offensive' at anyone, sometimes circumstances force my hand. But I am so tired of cliches and unchecked facts!

Once more with feeling, authors: we don't have female name Ilya in Russia, it's a purely male name! It's the same as if Americans named their girls Stan or Peter or Chuck. Purely male names, that it. Why on earth do we have a girl named Ilya in this book?! *facepalm*

Then, when an author creates their own world and makes an ultimate villain one-dimensional tyrant it's okay because it's a fictional world. But when an author indirectly masks real names and events by the means of putting everything under the same demonic one-dimensional villain cover - excuse me I will fight tooth and nail with them. I do not like unchecked historical facts.
I hated the Union. Under your family’s rule, the aeyla were safe. We were equal. But now, we’re not allowed into universities or to take high-security jobs.

As we have established before we are dealing with foreshadowing of real events, and it's obvious what time period and Union are mentioned in that quote. It's after-Revolutionary Russia in the first half of the 20th century and The Union is the Soviet Union. Now, I know that the Soviet Union is often frowned upon and looked at as something demonic, which is absolute bullshit, but who cares, right? Definitely not Jessica Khoury. The 20th century was messy for Russia: War, Revolution, Civil War - you name it. A lot of terrible things had happened. But let's look at the facts: education. How many erudite people were there in Russia during the Imperial Rule? 27% of working, body-abled people were able to read and write in 1897. It's an extremely low rate. It shows how little really Tsar and the Emperor cared about people. Aristocrats were living separate lives, not caring about the common folk. And do you know how many erudite people there were after the revolution? In 1926 - 56,6 %, and by 1979 - 99,8 %. Illiteracy was completely erased. So who the fuck is not allowed to universities, you are saying?

Next, the mentioning of Red Nights or how the author calls them Vityaze.
I think of all the war films I’ve seen in school, of the revolution when the Red Knights stormed cities and executed everyone who resisted. And the film we’ve all seen but never talk about: the murder of the imperial family—of Emperor Pyotr Leonov, his wife, all their little children—recorded and spread throughout the remains of the Alexandrian Empire, now the Galactic Union.

First of all, vityaze - correctly vityaz in singular form - is a person similar to a Viking, and they existed in ancient Slavic culture, way back in time. They have no relation to Russia in the 20th century. That it. Then we have Red Knights, who are obviously Communists, and the murder of Emperor Nikolai II and his family. Granted, the assassination of the whole Imperial family was terrible, but all terrible things have roots. Common people didn't particularly love the Emperor (see the above reasons), and when the revolution finally struck there were many recruits who wished to kill the Emperor. Actually, it's still debatable who actually pulled the trigger, but nevertheless, this monstrous deed will be forever red stain on Russian history. To call all and everyone monsters for that is not ethical, at least, and, at the most, it's the same as calling all Americans monsters for the genocide of Native Americans.

To make myself loud and clear, I am okay with authors creating new worlds and empires and tyrants (one-dimensional, mind you!), but, please, stop using unchecked facts and cliches to write your stories. People read books and then they see real references and think this is actually how it was. Poor oppressed Russian people, bring monarchy back, so they could live happily ever after! No fucking way!

I can't say how far or how good/bad the story progressed as I dropped it at a pretty early stage, but, honestly, do you want to read another special snowflake book with a nice cardboard boyfriend? If you want space adventures and light funny read, better read Starflight, which also has a mechanic heroine, but a likeable one who doesn't suffer from the specialness mania.

Not recommended!

Profile Image for Jessica Khoury.
Author 22 books2,411 followers
August 1, 2018
Whew! I can't believe this crazy galactic roller-coaster of a book is finally FINISHED!

If I had to describe the process of writing this book in one word it would be: "FUN." I really had such fun with this one, letting my imagination run wild through the stars. It certainly challenged me in ways no project has before, and pushed me to try some big risks that I hope will thrill and surprise you as you read. There is a LOT in store for you in these pages, so strap in, fire up your warp drive, and be prepared for one breakneck race across a colorful galaxy known as the Belt of Jewels!

Each of the characters in it, from cheerful Clio to loyal Pol to honorable Riyan to firecracker Mara and, of course, our scrappy, tough, sarcastic space princess/apprentice mechanic Stacia, became so special to me as the story went deeper and farther than I ever could have imagined. I'm immensely grateful to the Scholastic team for believing in this story, and I hope as you read it, you'll have as much fun as I had writing it. :)

xoxo
- Jess (less)
Profile Image for lucky little cat.
545 reviews100 followers
February 1, 2020
Whether you like this YA space opera will surely depend on your tolerance level for


The horror.


Star Wars-Star Trek mashups. Intergalactic warfare! Space tyrants! A plucky young heroine of obscure birth! Plus a hot-headed hunk character who constantly quarrels with the book's most implacably calm character!

Types instead of developed characters. Just give 'em all color-coded shirts and be done with it. Make sure the adults all get red shirts because geez, those suckers drop dead at the worst times, like right in the middle of divulging life-changing secrets.

Slam-bang plots where even though the pace never lags, it's all weirdly suspense-free. Young untried characters are repeatedly revealed to have mad skills (piloting, shooting, gravity-bending, mind-melding w/ alien life forms) but only when the chips are really, truly down.

Excruciatingly elaborate world-building complete with frequent pseudo-science lectures, which being fake science, are just so much windbaggery here. Quit trying to show me exactly how tessellating looks, I didn't give a rat's the first time.

Cutesy allusions to mainstream sci-fi ("I'm afraid I can't do that.") which will make you wistful for those other stories.

One more riff on that poor last Romanov. But this version of Anastasia's story is given standard generic space opera themes and plotlines, without recognizable references to actual Russian history of the Romanov era or any other.
Profile Image for Anja H..
698 reviews451 followers
Want to read
February 21, 2019
A MAIN CHARACTER CALLED ANYA?
Sign me the fuck up.
Profile Image for Cindy ✩☽♔.
950 reviews769 followers
Want to read
May 26, 2018
5/25/18
Title change from Firebird ---> Last of Her Name

I like the change. The cover is simple but nice. Hopefully, it's shiny lol
---
It just occurred to me that Empress of a Thousand Skies was also like Anastasia in space lol. But hey I liked that book enough, so this realization will not deter me lol
---
Anastasia in space! =D
Profile Image for Namera [The Literary Invertebrate].
1,156 reviews2,715 followers
January 5, 2019
ARC received in exchange for an honest review - thank you!

Having LOVED Khoury’s last YA offering, The Forbidden Wish, I was super excited to get my hands on this ARC. Last of Her Name is an amazing book – I’m stingy with my five stars, so it’s not quite that, but it certainly comes close.

Sixteen-year-old Stacia Androva has grown up on a minor, out-of-the-way planet with her best friends Pol and Clio. Her life to date has been utterly normal. She loves hanging out with her friends, exploring the forest, and messing with anything remotely mechanical.

But that all changes when Alexei Volkov arrives. He’s the Direktor Eminent of the Union, the government which he set up sixteen years ago after he killed the imperial Leonov dynasty. They were becoming cruel, autocratic… and it doesn’t help that they were all mad, too. (I did get slight Targaryen vibes off this, in case you were wondering). There are sometimes rumours that the youngest child, Princess Anya Leonova, escaped the massacre. But this has never been something Stacia was worried about.

Until Volkov announces that he’s looking for Anya on her planet, and it’s quickly revealed that Stacia is none other than Anya.

Obviously, Stacia doesn’t believe it. There’s no way her staid existence has anything in common with a violent, glittering past of power. But the DNA doesn’t lie, and very quickly she finds herself fleeing across the galaxy from those who want to use her as their figurehead. They also want her power: Leonovs are the only people who have power over prisms, the mysterious objects which fuel space travel. She isn’t just in danger from Volkov. Even the Leonov Loyalists can’t be trusted.

In fact, the only people she can trust are Pol and Clio – until Clio is taken by Volkov, making retrieving her a top priority for Stacia. In the process she needs to avoid falling for Pol, whom Clio claimed a long time ago.

Allow me to allay your fears now: there is no love triangle.

Nor is there anything offensive in the detangling of emotions between Clio, Pol, and Stacia. No spoilers! All I’m going to say is that you’ll find in this book a beautiful, adorable romance with absolutely nothing to worry about, angst-wise.

So this book is, obviously, an Anastasia retelling. I’ve always been fascinated by the fall of the Romanovs. It’s so tragic, yet it has a weirdly captivating effect on the imagination – the way the gems sewn into their clothes deflected the initial bullets, the fact that their bank vault in Switzerland will now remain full until the end of time… Judging from the number of Anastasia stories out there, I’m clearly not the only one fascinated by this unlucky dynasty. While Last of Her Name has a couple of obvious homages to them (the Russian names, the murdered imperial family) the space setting puts an intriguing new spin onto the story.

The pacing was good, events suitably dramatic. The characters were nice and solid. I have no issues with Khoury’s writing; it was tight and engaging, matching the type of story she was telling, instead of the slow, decadent style she used in The Forbidden Wish.

I’m slightly doubtful about the ending: it seemed a bit too easy somehow, and fell slightly short of the dramatic climax which had been building in all the preceding chapters. That’s just me being picky, though. As a whole the story was great.

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Profile Image for Marquise.
1,660 reviews233 followers
March 30, 2019
I'd have expected better from an Anastasia retelling with Cinderella undertones, but sadly it wasn't to be.

The premise of recasting the legend of the survival of Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaievna from the execution squad as a space opera is attractive, and would've gained points for originality if not for the execution, which is rather straightforward and therefore predictable. You can see everything coming a mile away; there are no surprises, you know what the "secret" is all the while.

The second problem I had was with the characterisation of Stasia (seriously, how more obvious and unoriginal could it be than using a barely modified version of the real princess' name?), who is a bonafide Mary Sue. No flaws, no real character, all specialness. It doesn't help that there's a romance that's rather conveniently brought into existence when the story's about to close, with little buildup. But hey, what's the use of buildup when you can say he's a childhood friend, right? Reminds one of the dozens of cliché alternative history reimaginings in romance novels in which Anastasia, or Maria, or Tatiana are saved by an infatuated guard at Villa Ipatiev. Or a diplomat. Or a Bolshevik With A Heart of Gold.

And my third issue: the depiction and use of elements from the Russian Revolution is cartoonish. Yes, the Communists have a lot to answer for, but we're no longer in the Cold War and the stereotypical depiction of them as little better than more bloodthirsty and more brainless versions of the Empire's stormtroopers led by a maniacal Vader is annoying. Besides, even though this is Fantasy, if you're going to borrow Russian history and culture for your own use, then at least do the considerate thing and inform yourself better about them. Jessica Khoury doesn't seem to have done her homework in this regard, as not only is her use of Russian history shallow and full of old stereotypes but also she's not been careful with (this pet hate of mine again) the naming conventions. For example, there's a girl here called Ilya. Any of you have ever known a girl called Elijah? Eliza, sure. Elise, yes. But Elijah? That's a man's name, and so is Ilya in Russia. Russian has very characteristic naming conventions, that in this era of information overload are readily available, yet authors keep making mistakes with either the patronymic or the masculine/feminine differentiation in names and surnames. I'm deeply disappointed by all this.
September 8, 2019
An Anastasia retelling? Yes, plz! Written by Jessica Khoury, the woman who wrote the bestest ever Aladdin retelling? Hell yes!! 🙌

It gets a 4.25 stars

Needless to say, this book didn't disappoint. Though I took entirely too long to get through it (exhaustion wreaks havoc on a reading schedule 😤) I loved this book! Jessica Khoury has such a gift for taking our familiar stories and putting such a fun twist on them, making them just as fun and yet still familiar. I honestly CAN'T WAIT to see what she writes next!! 😍 I'm so down for whatever it is. Gimme!

This retelling is Anastasia romping through space! (Seems to be the theme this year...Once & Future anyone?) I kept getting Star Wars vibes, which is always cool with me 👍

The worldbuilding is interesting and different. When I saw "Belt of Jewels", each planet representing a precious stone, I was temporarily skeptical this could work and not turn out sappy. But like I've already stated Jessica Khoury has skills.

The different planets were all unique and interesting places to explore. I enjoyed coming across the different "adapted" races from them, and the back story on how they came to be. All of that interwoven into the tale of a long lost princess, a royal family with hereditary madness, a Firebird, a mad dash through space with star destroyers on their tail, magical energy prisms, an evil dictator with a hero complex, etc. This was such a fun galactic retelling like I never knew I wanted/needed 🌌 But here it is, in my hands. And I loved it! 😍

Stacia was a fun, tough, stubborn heroine who's loyal to a fault, which gets her into some sticky situations more than once. She's resourceful and kind, forgiving where most others probably wouldn't be. With everything that happens you'd think she was just fall apart into a puddle of emotions, but she doesn't. She keeps it together, doing what needs to be done first.

"If there's one thing you need to know about me, it's that I always press the red button"

And there's a bunch of funny, albeit dangerous moments, that occur throughout. I just loved it all!

"Anya, what have you done" - Zhar
"Sorry! You should really label things better around here!" Stacia

😂😂😂

And the other characters were equally as awesome and lovable: Pol, Riyan, Natalya. I loved them all and they're such a good closeout group despite how things started out. And if course adding more comic relief...cause always yes plz!! Gimme more!

" Yes, Nat! Where have you been?" - Riyan
"Unconscious! They got me with a stunner" - Natalya
"Everyone always shoots the sensors first" - Riyan
"Not always," Pol mutters

And there's a bunch of touching moments, especially at the end. There were some sad points 😥 But beautiful all the same. I just really loved the ending.

My only issues were a couple minor things. The adults were really stupid so often and somehow expecting Stacia to know things that she couldn't possibly know. She was smuggled out as a basic newborn! Idiots. Why are adults in YA always idiotic? So annoying. The issue kept happening in this and I wanted to smack these nonsensical people 😒

The other issue being with Stacia and her belief that she could force Pol & Clio together. Like honey, it doesn't work that way. 😑 You can't force people together if it isn't mutual. She was just adamant that it should work that way for like a good 2/3s of the book and it just got tiresome 😣

But other than those two things, this was such a fun book! And there weren't even any draggy plot moments where it slogs through mud to get anywhere! It was constantly on the move, constantly close calls. Gah! I just highly recommend this book! To any Anastasia enthusiasts, retelling fans, or just space adventures. Totally worth picking up 😁 And did I mean it's a stand-alone? Yes! So refreshingly rare! One story wrapped up in one entire cover!
Profile Image for Tracy (Cornerfolds).
568 reviews201 followers
March 2, 2019
Read more of my reviews at Cornerfolds.com!

Last of Her Name is a YA science fiction retelling of Anastasia and is so far up my alley that I HAD to get my hands on it! Luckily I did and I dived in as soon as I possibly could. This was my first ever Anastasia retelling, although there do seem to be a lot of them being published lately. I wasn't sure what to expect from this one, but I can definitely say it surprised me.

Stacia has lived in a small town on a small planet for her entire life with her parents and best friends Clio and Pol. Stacia loves spaceships and she's good at fixing them. When she and her friends spot a particularly impressive ship coming toward their town, they run at the chance to see it, but quickly find themselves in a very dangerous situation. This leads to Stacia finding out she's really Anya, the princess, which prompts her and Pol to go on the run. That's when things get really wild.

This book is non-stop action from the first chapter and, for maybe the first time, I don't think that's always a great thing. Last of Her Name is just a lot. There's a lot of world building, a lot of characters, and a lot of information thrown into a relatively short book. I'm not usually one for dragging things out, but I truly believe this could have worked better as a duology. Despite there being SO much going on, there's never much time to process, to get to know new characters or situations. Because of that, I never really felt able to fully connect with much in the story. New characters would be introduced and we're immediately expected to care about what happens to them without knowing them at all.

When it comes to characters, they were fine, for the most part. Stacia was fine. She was a pretty typical YA heroine who learned the truth about her past and was forced to deal with it. I did enjoy her growth as she came to accept her true nature. Pol, the Dimitri character in this retelling, was just... not it. I can't really put into words what I didn't like about him, but the romance didn't work for me. Probably my favorite part of this book was Riyan, a character who's introduced fairly early on and becomes a huge part of the plot. His abilities and the world he's from were so fascinating to me! He reminded me a bit of Spock, who I also love. Honestly, I'd read a book all about him and his sister.

As with Riyan's world, the rest of the world building was really fascinating! There were multiple unique planets and systems, and the prisms that powered the technology were a really interesting concept. That did get a little too weird for me as the book went on, but I can't say much more about it without spoilers. I thought the struggle between the Union and the Resistance was interesting, although the Big Bad was a little too over the top in his motivations.

Overall, this book was just okay. I expected a really fun sci-fi retelling and, while I did get it, it was just too much in too little space. I think I'd have loved this story a lot more if there had been more time to get to know the world and the people in it.
Profile Image for Shannon (It Starts At Midnight).
1,084 reviews1,010 followers
March 5, 2019
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight

Gosh this was an adventure and a half! I have been sadly bummed by some of the other Anastasia-themed books I have read in the past, but this one finally hit the mark! So let us talk about it, yeah?

The Things I Liked:

•Well, obviously the Anastasia bit! The other didn't really drag out the "reveal" of that part either, which I was so thankful for. In most of the retellings I have read, it's this big dramatic build up but... if you've told me it's an Anastasia retelling, I know she's the royal, somehow miraculously alive? That's the whole point! This one gets that out of the way almost immediately so we can move on with the story. Also, the other did a great job of building on that story, and pulling at the ol' heartstrings.

•Space adventures! I came for the adventures in space, and I was absolutely not disappointed! There's a ton of high stakes action, and a huge system in which to explore. That said, it didn't feel too overwhelming or convoluted; it was a good blend.

•I adored the friendships/relationships. There are a lot of really tight friendships in this book. I wasn't sure how they'd all work out at the end of the day, but it was a good journey finding out! Plus, Stacia had to grapple with her new identity, which obviously changed the way she saw her relationships with basically everyone. Good stuff.

•This is hard to navigate because of spoilers but let me try. So the story makes some choices up front that I found... questionable. And had me trying to wrap my head around the "why" behind a lot of stuff. BUT. The author ties every last thing together so flawlessly, that you'll be so glad that you stuck with it. Everything will make sense, I promise!

The Things I Didn't: 

•It did take some time for me to fully get into.  Look, this is a very minor gripe because like I said, the payoff was really worth it! But it's worth mentioning!

•The ending was a little underwhelming? I am not going to get into it, but I would have liked a bit more? But it was still a legitimate ending, so fear not!

Bottom Line: A super fun adventure in space that blends Anastasia and sci-fi together in a fabulous way!
Profile Image for Misty.
796 reviews1,229 followers
February 7, 2019
I had no idea what to expect going into this, really, but I enjoyed it!
Review to come
Profile Image for Justine.
243 reviews132 followers
January 23, 2022
I had to force myself to finish this one. I think Khoury can do better. Last of Her Name felt like it wanted to be the next Star Wars/ Star Trek, but it lacked complexity whether it’s with the plot or the characters. The novel read to me like a generic Marvel movie — lots of action scenes, but there’s too little substance for me to really get invested in what’s going on as a reader.

It also does not help that our protagonist, Stacia, is a dull, whiny and ultimately flat character. She made a lot of bad decisions throughout the book and kept whining about all the hardships she had to endure. I just . . . can you please stop whining for a moment and focus instead on trying to do something at least?

I’m surprised that almost all the characters felt so flat given how much I enjoyed the characters in Khoury’s The Forbidden Wish. The only ones that I liked to some extent were Pol and Riyan. They were very nice and patient with Stacia even when she’s behaving terribly.

I do hope Khoury’s next YA book is better than this. I think she should consider going back to writing fantasy or fairy tale retellings — I think she shines better with that genre.



Profile Image for Sophia (Bookwyrming Thoughts).
652 reviews231 followers
February 19, 2019
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Last of Her Name hits the ground running.
Khoury's takes us on an adventure through the Belt of Jewels when the Direktor and the Union shows up on Stacia's planet and she is accused of being Princess Anya Leonova, a member of the royal family supposedly killed years ago by the Direktor. With the help of Pol, Stacia escapes from the home planet she's known throughout her life, leaving Clio behind with the others to be taken away.

Friendships!
I love the childhood friendship between Pol, Clio and Stacia told throughout the book with various memories as Stacia makes it her one mission to rescue Clio from the Direktor no matter what it takes among the chaos her life becomes. I enjoyed the backstory and learning more about them, and felt the memories were a great balance with the fast-paced action of the book in addition to being a driving force for Stacia.

While Last of Her Name primarily focuses on the strong friendship already developed in Stacia's childhood, Stacia and Pol create new friendships on the run as well. The two cross paths with Riyan shortly after escaping, a tensor from a distant planet who is also searching for someone he cares about. Although the three of them have a rough start, they develop a bond throughout the book.

Identity!
Stacia goes about her life normally until the Direktor shows up, forcing her to run away from all she knows. As she and Pol get chased across the galaxy, Stacia is trying to figure out who she really is as a person: is she Anya or is she Stacia? How can she accept a new part of herself without losing the self that she has always known about? In addition to figuring out who she is, Stacia is also battling her growing feelings for Pol, and those two are simply adorable as they circle around their feelings.

This is why I have a soft spot for friends to lovers tropes I'm just saying.

Family and Community!
There's not much I can say about family and community without giving spoilers away (can't have that!), but I really appreciated some of the gestures from Stacia's family and community. But there is so much different family drama, I would have had one too many popcorns if I could just watching the whole story unfold and come together. SO. MUCH. TEA. 🍵

Everything seemed a little too easy.
The only issue I had with this one is how everything seems a little too easy for Stacia and her companions. While there is a lot of tension throughout and much action, they get out of trouble with few hiccups. But overall, I enjoyed Last of Her Name. We've got royalty, family, friendship - all set in space with a rebellion.

This review was originally posted on Bookwyrming Thoughts
Profile Image for Kaitlyn.
258 reviews160 followers
April 28, 2019
This review can also be found on my blog.

If you know me at all, you’d know that I’m completely obsessed with Anastasia. The animated movie was—and still is—my favorite animated movie of all time (Tangled is right next to it!), the musical is the closest one to my heart. I’ve gone above and beyond for that production, and I was heartbroken to see it leave Broadway. I went to see it more than five times and met Christy Altomare (the Anya) and the rest of the cast every single time at the stage door. Last Thursday, I also saw Derek Klena (Dmitri in the production) at his show at 54 Below (That was life-changing I have a whole thread of the videos I took on my Twitter) and met Christy again. TLDR: I love Anastasia with my whole heart.

SO when I heard there was a retelling set in space, I was nothing else but excited. I dropped the book I was reading and went to get Last of Her Name by Jessica Khoury. I loved her previous work with The Forbidden Wish (though looking back now, I’m a little iffy since it’s a novel about Arabian culture that’s written by someone who’s white). Nevertheless, I gave Last of Her Name a shot and found myself disappointed.

Last of Her Name follows a young girl named Stacia who is accused of being the presumed-dead Princess Anya Leonova. She’s lived a rather normal and peaceful life on a minor planet with her best friends Pol and Clio, but that all changes when the Direktor of the Union—the government that killed the imperial family—announces that he’s looking for none other than Stacia herself. She finds herself fleeing her home with Pol until it’s revealed that Clio has been taken hostage.

Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve really been looking forward to reading this and devouring it in all its glory. I love the idea of Anastasia as a space opera, but I felt duped with this book. Not only is the character the most Mary Sue to ever Mary Sue, but she’s also whiny, entitled and has zero personality and zero flaws. Her romance—DON’T GET ME WRONG I LOVE ME SOME CHILDHOOD LOVERS TO LOVERS—had the blandest build-up ever and really served no purpose. It’s like Khoury forgot to write all the build-up and instead added a “childhood friend” bit to seem like they are soooo good together.

There’s also the issue wherein almost all Russians have given this a low rating. There’s a stereotypical depiction of the villains as no more than bloodthirsty and brainless characters with no complexity or interesting characteristics. The names of the characters in this novel have also been heavily rooted in stereotypes, even as so far as to name a female character Ilya when that’s supposedly a purely male name. Russian reviewers have pointed out that it’s the equivalent of naming a girl Peter.

To add to all this, the climax/plot twist was the dumbest thing I’ve ever come across. I really don’t want to add spoilers to this review since I have successfully avoided doing that in all of the ones I’ve posted so far….but I can’t help myself.

I’m genuinely surprised that I made it through the book though. When I hit the 20% mark, I was so sure I was going to end up dropping it, but to my surprise, I made it! I feel like I just ran a marathon, but now it’s time to pick up one of my most anticipated releases this year….The Bride Test by Helen Hoang! 😉

As an endnote, I really just want to say: if you’re looking for a decent Anastasia retelling, you can pre-order Romanov by Nadine Brandes, which comes out this May. It has slow pacing and some muddled prose, but it’s overall a good book!
Profile Image for rachael ♡.
151 reviews94 followers
Want to read
January 30, 2019
Sci-fi... Anastasia.... MY TWO FAVORITE THINGS...

Help. I need it.
Profile Image for Amber.
870 reviews69 followers
March 10, 2019
Last of Her Name might have resonated more with me if it were a series. As a standalone, there was a lot of pack into this book and as a result some important details were left out. I felt indifferent to the characters and romance and wanted more from the story overall. I liked the struggle for power and how our main character, Stacia, couldn't trust who had her best interest at heart. In the end, this just left me saying "okay, next."
Profile Image for Ally Kay.
245 reviews14 followers
April 17, 2019
Y'all. You guys. I have to shout this from the rooftops.

I. LOVE. RETELLINGS. IN. SPACE.

LAST OF HER NAME is based on the story of the Romanovs and the mystery surrounding Princess Anastasia, whose body wasn't found for many years after the rest of her family, and, for a while there, there were legends saying she'd survived. In this story, she did survive. And she's more powerful than she realizes.

Ordinarily, what draws me into a story are its characters. I'm not going to tell you that I formed everlasting bonds with any of these characters, because I didn't, not really. There were a few that I really liked (looking at you, Riyan) but nothing like what usually gets me all riled up about a story.

But y'all. THIS WORLD. THIS PLOT.

This story is set in a solar system that's based on gemstones, and it's aesthetic as heck.

And the plot is so full of twists and turns, I can't even.

Read this book, y'all.
Profile Image for Vicky Again.
583 reviews819 followers
Want to read
May 24, 2018
wow ok

1. DAT COVER
2. I heard star system, royalty, and rebellion (also, a fantastic twist, I am told) and I am just sold. 2019 just got a whole lot cooler.
Profile Image for Aila.
911 reviews32 followers
June 24, 2019
I love Anastasia retellings in space! :D

Better review to come lool.
Profile Image for ضحى الحداد.
Author 3 books614 followers
April 9, 2019
Ehhh.. I tried to like this book since it is a retelling of one of my favorite stories, Anastasia, sadly it didn't deliver for me
the story is about a girl named Stacia who discovers that she is a lost princess and she is the only key to the center of the universe and what will happen to her
I don't like space much and the writing style was annoying to me .. I hoped for better so I didn't enjoy it
Profile Image for Elliot A.
532 reviews38 followers
June 25, 2019
I had this book from the library probably almost two months before I had a chance to read it (I had the option of renewing it many times; the overdue fines would have been outrageous).

I was not emotionally prepared for the story. Ever since the weather turned a bit warmer, I have been in a mood to read stories similar to Kaufmann and Spooner’s series Starbound, but had trouble finding stories with good world building and worthwhile plots and characters.

Well, this was pure gold. Even now almost three weeks after finishing the book, I’m still thinking about it, my fingers itching to read more.

The plot was inspired by the well-known legend of Anastasia, the possible only surviving member of the Romanov family. But this version was set partially in space and partially on different worlds throughout the galaxy, including numerous other species/races besides humans.

I appreciated the author’s decisions on how she created the characters in this story. The protagonist wasn’t perfect. She made mistakes; showed depth and breadth of emotions and had none of the special snowflake syndrome we have become so familiar with in so many stories.

The minor characters were equally well fleshed out, with some actually making my blood boil.
The writing was engaging. It kept me spell bound and hooked until well past the last page. Even now, I still think about it.

Overall, I was a mouse click away from not renewing The Last Of Her Name, because of my research, but I’m glad I took the time to read this wonderful story. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a sci-fi/fantasy/retelling.

ElliotScribbles
Profile Image for Hayden.
Author 7 books162 followers
December 6, 2018
Man, y'all. This book made me SO MAD.

Now, books tend to elicit anger in two ways. One: through the fault of bad writing and/or problematic messages, or two: the characters are put through such an ordeal of injustice and torture that you just want to reach your hand in there and strangle a couple bad guys yourself. Last of Her Name was in the latter category. In fact, it's honestly a little difficult for me to say whether or not I liked the book because I was so angry about what the characters were going through the whole time. So take from that what you will.

Anyway, if you haven't guessed by the blurb, this is a science fiction tale inspired by the legend of Anastasia (but with some "Firebird" references as well!!!). As such, it works really well. The whole science-y angle was actually my favorite part of the story. Also, there were some really fabulous plot twists. It's really hard to talk much about this book without spoilers, so my main (non-spoilery) thoughts are that I wasn't a huge fan of the romance (I just didn't "ship it" much, I guess?) but I liked Stacia and most of all I really liked the plot. It killed me, ya know, but I liked it.

3.5 stars

*I received an ARC of this novel during YALLFest, but I was not obligated to write a review, positive or otherwise.
Profile Image for Barbara Senteney.
470 reviews37 followers
February 24, 2019
Imust start off by saying I don't read much science fiction, it's by far my favorite genre. This feels familiar like an old forgotten friend, very much in the tone of the Star Wars era, with a bloody massacre very reminiscent of the murder of the Royal Russian family, sory tho no droids in this one.
Stacia ( Princess Anya )is my favorite character, a strong female figure without so much self doubt as most silly female characters tend to have.

Anya has to flee her world for her life once it is found out that she ia a member of the royal family who has been hidden away for years cared for by those loyal to the crown. Her friend Pol and her dart off to escape and are joined along the way by Riyan on not so great terms.

I also loved the fact the author included small history stories explaining the how and why the Empire came to be.There are bloody scenes and altered space which you will discover along this epic journey. Anya is the true heroine of the tale, but as with any good story there are pitfalls along the way, and she need her friends to see her save the Empire from utter destruction, or maybe cause it. She seems to have a dark cloud that rains on her at every turn.

Who do you turn to when both sides have their own agendas and vengeance seems to be their driving force. I guess you have to go on gut instinct like Anya.
Profile Image for Lydia Wallace.
334 reviews31 followers
February 20, 2019
I'm a 65 year old man who grew up reading SF greats like Asimov and watching Star Trek. When I picked up this book and saw that it's from Scholastic, I had my doubts, but I gave it a shot. I was very pleasantly surprised, as this turned out to be a very well written story, believable and engaging. I was quickly caught up in the story and the author painted clear images in my mind as to what was happening, and why, and all of the characters were well thought out and real to me. My only regret is that the book wasn't longer, and I was disappointed when it ended.

Well done Mrs. Khoury. Thank-you for a great story. Give Katara a scratch behind the ears for me.



Profile Image for Jasmijn.
73 reviews
May 25, 2021
I was disappointed by this novel... I am a huge fan, if you can call it that I don’t know, of the story about Anastasia Romanov and am very excited to read every retelling about her. Now I do have to say, I am not the biggest sci-fi fan. But this just was not it. I did cry 2 times, but I cry very quickly so hmmm. Yeah, just sad this wasn’t what I hoped for 😕
Profile Image for Nikki H.
175 reviews
August 19, 2019
If you are a fan of the lunar chronicles I definitely recommend this book its Anastasia retelling but in space I really loved the romance in this book too it was a slow building one and the characters I enjoyed as u can see I definitely gave this book 5 stars !! 😊
Profile Image for Kristie.
419 reviews186 followers
Want to read
September 26, 2017
Retelling Anastázie? Ve vesmíru? No sem s tím! :D
Profile Image for Grace.
106 reviews3 followers
July 19, 2021
This book opened with so much action and I was immediately swept away. Stacia was a super strong character, and her and Clio's relationship was incredibly well written. However, as the book went on I felt Stacia got weaker, which I hated. Pol also really annoyed me, the way he seemed to see the world in black and white. The only character I liked for the entirety of the book was Riyan. As for the plot, while it started strong, it definitely slowed down in the middle. I also felt like it was repetitive, with the situations Stacia ended up in. And the tension between Stacia and Pol only added to the mess of things that annoyed me. However, all that said, the ending blew me away. The final twist shocked me yet made so much sense, and it made Stacia finally get her act back together. I also loved her choices at the end of the book, as I felt she did what was right for her and the galaxy.
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