„The 5th Wave“ and „The Infinite Sea“, the first two installments in Rick Yancey’s young adult SciFi trilogy, easily belonged to my favorite books in 2014 and 2015 so it was no surprise that „The Last Star“ was one of my most anticipated releases in 2016, especially after the mindfuck that the second book gave me in its last chapters including a crazy plot twist that I definitely hadn’t seen coming. I had such high hopes for this conclusion to the 5th Wave series and when I read the first pages of the final book I was very optimistic that Rick Yancey would be able to live up to my expectations because the first chapter already creeped the shit out of me again and evoked exactly the same feeling that had already felt so terrifying in the previous books: the feeling that you can’t trust anyone in Yancey’s apocalyptic world because you never know if a person is still the human being it was or if it never was a human being at all.
A chaotic world = a chaotic book?
But the more I read of „The Last Star“ the more I got the impression that it felt a bit underwhelming to me. Don’t get me wrong, there is A LOT of action happening in this book and some crazy shit going on that really gives you an „end of the world“ feeling but somehow the story felt very chaotic for me – which is not really a big surprise regarding that the world this story is set in has become quite an ugly mess and that we’re now in the final battle between mankind and its extraterrestrial enemies but I just couldn’t help feeling that the plot was lacking some structure. As already done in the first two novels Rick Yancey shows the apocalypse from different perspectives and jumps back and forth between the point of views of his characters, but while both „The 5th Wave“ and „The Infinite Sea“ stayed with the same character for quite a few chapters which made it easier to bond with them, „The Last Star“ now often switches the point of view every five to ten pages which made it quite difficult for me to stay connected to them – also it’s quite confusing because the author sticks to the first-person narrative for most of the POVs and it can be really stressful to jump from mind to mind and try to remind yourself every few pages that „I“ is a different person now than it was a few paragraphs ago.
Please save the world first and make out later
But it was not only the writing style that gave me some difficulties, I also felt like the characters themselves didn’t develop into the right direction and I kinda lost most of them throughout the book. I was never a huge fan of Cassie and especially her back and forth relationship to Evan often annoyed the shit out of me but I still liked her (and admittedly Evan, too) and could always relate to her and understand her thoughts and feelings but in „The Last Star“ I often wasn’t happy with the decisions she and some other characters made. I especially felt a bit disappointed by Ringer who became my favorite character within „The Infinite Sea“ because she was such a sarcastic kick-ass heroine that didn’t give a shit about what people told her but in this third book Rick Yancey dehumanized her in a way I didn’t really like and while she still kicked a lot of asses I just haven’t been able to identify with her the way I could before. In addition to that I think that Yancey didn’t a very good job writing the romance(s) – yes, we now have more than just one… – in this final book and I found them a) pretty annoying and b) rather poorly written because at least one of them didn’t make sense at all.
An okay but not completely satisfying conclusion to the trilogy
Nonetheless I still enjoyed reading „The Last Star“ and while I didn’t find it as intense as the first two books I still liked it’s dark atmosphere and how depressive and hopeless the resistance of a few children against the alien invasion (hey, let’s not talk about logic here, okay?) felt and even though there was too much chaotic action for my taste there were still a few scenes that gave me the chills just like „The 5th Wave“ and „The Infinite Sea“ did because they were so terrifying (pit of dead bodies is all I’m saying right now…) or scary because people seemed to lose their humanity more and more. But since the first two books in this trilogy had set the bar SO high I just couldn’t help feeling a bit disappointed by this conclusion because I had expected an ending that was just as mind-blowing as the first stages of the story and I somehow had the impression that at the end of the book I wasn’t a lot wiser than before and there were still quite a few questions that I desperately needed answers to. That’s why „The Last Star“ overall felt a bit underwhelming and couldn’t live up to my admittedly very high expectations.