Charity's Reviews > The Last Star

The Last Star by Rick Yancey
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it was ok
bookshelves: ya

Some series, the writing becomes better and the plot richer, and the reader can watch the author's skill develop as she reads through the books in the series. That outcome is rare and wonderful, and right now I can only think of one series that actually follows that pattern, and it's written by J. K. Rowling.

The 5th Wave, like most series, would have been great as a single, standalone novel, but someone (publisher? agent? a figure with a pitchfork perched on the author's shoulder?) encouraged the author to keep on going. Sure, if you stopped with one, the story wouldn't be tied up in bow, and the readers would be left wanting more, but sometimes wanting more is actually better than getting more, especially when the "more" is disappointing.

The disappointments in this one were macro and micro.

Macro- Yancey seems to have found a formula he liked---get the characters into an impossible situation, make the situation even more impossible, have someone show up in the nick of time and save the day in a rain of bullets and shrapnel---and he played that on repeat. By the end of The Last Star, I stopped trying to keep track of all of the one-hit wonders who show up, and I'm not sure I could even tell you the difference between Grace and Constance at this point. For a world where almost everyone's been killed, people sure stumble upon one another a lot. Without giving away any spoilers, the "truth" Yancey reveals about the Others makes no sense, and it seems like Yancey was figuring it out as he put words on the page. And that's fine, if that's your process, but his editor should really have given him some guidance before the book was published.

Micro- Here's a scene: Ben gives Sam a locket. Sam says, "What's this?" Sound familiar? Sure it does, because the exact same thing happens in the first book. And it's pointless here anyway because in this book, it's a total red herring. It never shows up again. Gah! In addition, Yancey has a tendency to repeat himself, sometimes using the same words to describe two different scenes or two different situations or the same situation from the eyes of two different characters thinking the same words. When it's coming from the child soldiers, I get it. It's boring, but I get it. But from the other characters it just seems like Yancey stopped trying.

I know it has to be a lot of effort for an author to sustain his interest in the world and characters he's created long enough to write a series, no matter how great a premise underlies it. It requires a lot of attention and emotion from both the author and the editor to make sure the final product is as good as it could be. I don't think The Last Star is as good as it could be, and that irritates me.

Not every series is going to be Harry Potter, but not every series should be a series, either.
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Reading Progress

April 20, 2018 – Started Reading
April 20, 2018 – Shelved
April 20, 2018 – Finished Reading
April 21, 2018 – Shelved as: ya

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