The Last Star by Rick Yancey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I went into this book with very low expectations because of my considerable disappointment in The Infinite Sea. After reading this book, I've concluded that this series would have been better off as a duology. The trilogy we got is two reasonably good books (hyped way too much, I think, but not bad at all) sandwiching a choppy, unfocused mess in the middle.
The good thing about The Last Star is that it's something of a return to form, focusing again on the war against the Silencers and the rising 5th Wave of brainwashed human soldiers. It's been a while since I read the second book (I don't think I've picked up The Infinite Sea once since I read it 18 months ago or so), but as I remember it, one of my biggest issues with that book was its long stretches told in different POVs from Cassie's, and the POV switches weren't indicated in any way. (Or maybe I'm confusing this with the fourth Virals book, which I read around the same time, and which I distinctly remember having a few distracting POV switches without any kind of tag to indicate them.) Here, however, not only do the POV switches happen more often (which helps keep the story moving that much faster, and more linearly - something I didn't like about The Infinite Sea being its irritatingly poor pacing), but they're also very clearly indicated when they happen, which helps matters considerably.
On the storytelling front, the book isn't without its flaws. For instance, the whole Cassie/Evan romance thing. I've never much liked Evan - I thought he was too much of a typical pretty-boy bad-boy, although at least he has a more legitimate reason to feel as tortured as he does. Again, though, what the book lacks in romance (sometimes I think I'm the only one wishing Cassie and Ben could be a canon pairing - it's like Clary and Simon all over again), it makes up for in action. Particularly in, for instance, its opening scene, where a priest (Catholic, unless I miss my guess) presides over what looks like an ordinary Mass, only to turn it into a bloody-murder Silencer-worshiping ceremony instead. I'm still not sure if that was Yancey's way of suggesting that men of God are more gullible and, therefore, more easily swayed by the Silencers (which is probably just my strong aversion to religion rearing its ugly head.)
In the end, this book rescued the series for me, and now I'm actually looking forward a bit more to seeing the 5th Wave movie (for which I'm still on a waiting list at the library.) Although I can imagine a lot of fans wouldn't like it, particularly with its ending aping one of the more controversial YA series finales of recent years (I won't say which one - that alone would be a massive spoiler), I, as one of the few who enjoyed that controversial book anyway, found this book's conclusion satisfying all the same.
Ave atque vale, 5th Wave trilogy.
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