Review: The Last Star by Rick Yancey

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The much anticipated conclusion The 5th Wave trilogy has arrived, and I was finally able to fit it in to my schedule this weekend.

The 5th Wave trilogy is one of the most unique invasion/first contact stories I’ve ever read – I hope the aliens aren’t reading it and getting any ideas. The aliens come in silence. They want the earth and they are going to take it. First they cut the power. Then they trigger earthquakes and massive tsunamis. Then comes the pestilence that wipes out most of the survivors of the first two waves. Then there are the Silencers, the no-longer-humans taking down survivors one at a time. Then the fifth wave – children trained as soldiers who will shoot anyone they are told to.

The Last Star is the story of the last stand by Cassie, Zombie, Ringer, Nugget and Silencer-turned-good-guy Evan Walker to try to save the planet against dreadful odds.

I really enjoy the way the story is told – from multiple first person points of view with the odd third person commentary thrown in for perspective, and the story fairly rollicks along. Make sure you have your tissues handy.

But The Last Star and the whole 5th Wave trilogy is more than that –  it is a commentary on what is happening all over the world right now, and in particular, a commentary on the USA’s gun culture.

The question of what makes us human is asked throughout the trilogy, and many times through the final book. Yancey seems to embrace the idea that our humanity is based on our ability to trust one another, to work together and to build a community. Without the basic building blocks of trust, community is not possible. The Silencers – who look like humans but aren’t – erode the trust of others within the book, to the point that people feel that for their own safety they have no option but to shoot first and be grateful that they came out of the encounter alive.

Is this not the tipping point of the USA today? As an Australian, the resistance of the average American to gun law reform makes no sense. Rather than bore you with my point of view, check out Jim Jefferies who summarises it nicely. Beware kids, he does have a potty mouth.

In the wake of the Orlando massacre – a new record with 49 people dead (beating the Australian Port Arthur massacre total of 36) Americans are still demanding the right to carry their own assault rifle. If you look at the “Muslim terrorists” (see note below) as the Silencers, is the media not beating society into a frenzy which will result in the same way as the book? Anyone simply suspected of being “other” will be shot on sight. Do we really want to live with this fear and hatred?

Zombie says to Nugget “He’s no different from us Sam … None of this will end until somebody decides to put down the guns.”

America, please put down the guns.

4 out of 5 crazy cat ladies.

Note:

Let’s not also forget:

  • “Christian terrorists” who are just “troubled”
  • That Orlando was a hate crime against gay people, not an expression of Muslim extremism.

 

 

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