About the Book

Title: The Last Star (The 5th Wave #3)
Published: 2016
Series: The 5th Wave
Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Cover Story: Owl By Herself
BFF Charm: Caution
Talky Talk: Autopilot
Bonus Factor: The End
Relationship Status: Old Friends

Spoiler Alert: Since this is the final book in a trilogy, I’m going to do something I rarely do in reviews: I’m going to spoil the shizz out of this book. I figure, if you’re already read the first two books, you’re prooooobably going to go ahead and finish out the series, so you don’t need a review to convince you to do that (or not do that).

If you haven’t picked up The Last Star yet, here’s a non-spoilery review in one sentence: This book is worth reading, but it’s got some major flaws.

If you have completed The Last Star, keep reading, because I HAVE THINGS TO SAY. (And I want to hear what you have to say, too.)

Cover Story: Owl By Herself

Okay, so I’m sure a ton of sites have already discussed this, but after finishing The Last Star, I realized that the bird in the clouds is an owl. And then it dawned on me that all three covers feature an owl. HELLO MINDF**K! That is some serious strategery on the part of the designer, who must have had a hoot* playing us like this. Or, at the very least, playing me, as I am apparently the most unobservant person in existence.

*Sorry, I had to.

The Deal:

Cassie, Evan, Ringer and Ben, finally reunited, plan to make a final stand against the aliens before they pummel the planet with bombs and unleash the 5th Wave, “the human pawns they conditioned to kill their own kind.” Ringer is still superhuman, Evan is still in love with Cassie, Ben is still in love with Ringer, and Cassie is still trying to keep Sammy alive. Oh yeah, and Ringer is preggers, whoops! Their odds of success are bleak, and there’s plenty of death on the horizon, but that’s never stopped our heroes before, and it certainly won’t stop them now.

BFF Charm: Caution

BFF charm wrapped in yellow "Caution" tape

Look, I get it. War changes people. Cassie can’t be expected to remain the relatable, ordinary girl we met in the first book, nor can Ringer continue to be 100% human when she is definitely not. I still care about these characters, but I found myself holding them all at arm’s length while reading this book, perhaps because trauma and desperation have made us strangers.

I felt this separation the most keenly with Cassie. Where did this hardened, vicious ball of fury come from? Sure, there were still moments when I caught a glimpse of the girl I knew (“Thinking about the bacon–the potential of bacon–gives me hope. Not all is lost if bacon isn’t.”) but more often, her attempts at humor just felt discordant with the rage and almost cartoonish amount of vitriol boiling inside of her. I mean, calling Evan an “intergalactic swineherd”? Really, Cassie? Maybe my disconnect stems mostly from a lack of understanding as to why the hell she keeps pushing Evan away. He’s saved her life a dozen times! He’s in love with her! He’s insanely hot! Her motivations in this area were inexplicable, and they definitely drove a wedge between us.

I also took issue with her continued rivalry with Ringer. Sure, I would be jealous of a badass, bionic woman too, but it’s the freaking apocalypse, Cassie! Get over it! Envy isn’t flattering on you.

With that said, I wanted to highlight a few of my favorite Cassie-isms from this book, because she still has some zingers:

There’s a lot of Bens to hold in your head at once. I should give them different names to keep them straight: Ben, Has-Ben, and What-Might-Have-Ben.

Why do we always get the Evan we deserve instead of the Evan we want?

I can’t remember the last time–or really the first time–I saw Evan exercise his Second Amendment right to bare arms.
Evan Walker has biceps. It’s not important to mention this fact, as biceps are muscles most people have. I just thought I’d mention it.

Ringer pats Bob on the shoulder. “Good job, Bob.”
“F**k you!”
Oh, Bob. Gonna miss you. Gonna miss you so bad.

So the lock–I shoot it off, I said to Ringer back in the caves.
That only works in the movies, Sullivan.
Yeah, you’re right: It’s good this isn’t a movie, or the hectoring, self-important, annoying secondary characters would definitely be dead by now.

Speaking of Ringer, I missed the quality time with her that we got during The Infinite Sea. She still had some killer (pun!) moments though, and out of all of the characters, I fist pumped for her the most.

And then there’s Ben–sweet, charming, good ole Ben. After thawing out from his Zombie status, he seemed the least changed at his core, and I clung to that outrageous smile and enduring sense of humor. (“There’s five of us. I say we form a band.”)

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

It was definitely a letdown to go from the Cassie and Evan hotness in The 5th Wave and the Ringer and Razor sexiness in The Infinite Sea to the mess of angst and confusion in this book. In addition to Cassie’s aforementioned mixed feelings towards Evan, their romance was further flattened by a lack of development from Evan’s perspective. All we have to go on is the fact that Evan watched Cassie, his supposed prey, for days and then decided not to kill her because he was in love with her? I started to get a little bit of an Edward vibe, and I wasn’t the only one. Here’s Cassie ruminating on the idea that Evan is willing to destroy his whole civilization for her:

You would think a sacrifice like that would make me feel just a little bit special. It didn’t. It felt weird. Like one of us was batshit crazy and that person wasn’t me.

Then there’s the whole love triangle on top of a love triangle, with Cassie still possibly crushing on Ben (I mean, that’s part of where her jealousy of Ringer comes from, right?) and Ben continuing to pursue Ringer who appears to be open to his advances even though she’s still mourning the death of Razor. I know the end of the world makes you do crazy things but this was all just TOO MUCH for me.

Talky Talk: Autopilot

The previous two books raced along at a furious, nail-biting pace, and while there’s plenty of action in The Last Star, I never felt that same sense of urgency. Instead of sitting on the edge of my seat, I lounged my way through the story, which felt more like a hollow checklist of plot points rather than an emotional journey. It’s as if Rick Yancey focused solely on getting from A to B in the most efficient way possible, and the result is an underwhelming conclusion with little to no impact. Given the dynamic and gutting nature of the other books in the trilogy, that’s a damn shame.

Bonus Factor: The End

"The End" from Looney Tunes cartoon

Finally! Some answers! I guess?

So, it turns out that there’s no alien entity inside of anyone, nor inside of the mothership (although the latter does hold the aliens’ consciousness). It’s all automated, which makes the whole thing even creepier. Thanks to Vosch, we learn that the aliens attacked because they wanted to preserve the Earth but remove the people, i.e. “the rats,” and “the only way to annihilate human civilization was to change human nature,” thus the 5th Wave with its child soldiers. But the aliens didn’t plan for one thing: loooooove! (Ugh, seriously?)

Evan was designed to be the human equivalent of a horned owl (which explains all of the owl imagery), but his love for Cassie (again, ugh) overruled his programming as a Silencer.

Here’s what I liked about the ending:

  • Evan getting re-programmed and not pulling a Peeta. In other words, he couldn’t be saved. I thought that was awesomely brutal.

  • Cassie shooting Vosch. YASSS KWEEN.

Here’s what I didn’t like about the ending:

  • Cassie pulling an Independence Day and heading up in the pod to blow up the mothership. If it’s all automated, what’s to stop the aliens from coming back?

  • My ambivalence towards Ringer and Ben (along with Sammy, Megan and the baby) ending up as a happy family. I should’ve been super glad that they all survived but instead I felt myself trying to care and failing. (But it was pretty cool that they were living in Marble Falls, TX.)

Casting Call

There’s no new characters to add that the film adaptation didn’t cover, and dang it, now I’m just thinking about how bad that movie was.

Relationship Status: Old Friends

The 5th Wave trilogy is like one of those pivotal relationships in high school or college. We met under very intense, life-changing circumstances, and for a while, these novels were a vital part of my life. I thrilled in their company and obsessed over their every move. But then time passed, and when we finally reunited, I realized that the spark we shared had faded, and though I will always feel affection for Cassie’s story (and that damn bear), The Last Star is a clear signal that it’s time to move on.

FTC Full Disclosure: I purchased my own copy of this book, and I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review. The Last Star is available now.

Sarah lives in Austin, and believes there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure, which is part of why she started FYA in 2009. Growing up, she thought she was a Mary Anne, but she's finally starting to accept the fact that she's actually a Kristy.