Last Star Burning: Review

5/5 Stars!

This book was a fantastic debut! At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I was pleasantly surprised. I would probably categorize the story as dystopian rather than fantasy. Although some elements may seem similar to other series like Divergent or The Hunger Games, Last Star Burning was also able to stand out on its own as unique.

I was drawn in right from the beginning: “They say war is no dinner party. Not refined, graceful, courteous, or magnanimous. It’s complete devastation.” What an opening. It effectively sets the tone for most of the story while incorporating an allusion to Chinese culture – as the author notes at the end of the book.

Sev’s voice was strong, and I was rooting for her through the entire book. The details woven in about her past kept me intrigued. There was not a dull moment in this book; Sangster did a wonderful job with the pacing, finding a balance between action and world-building. The Sleeping Beauty parallels added to the uniqueness of the tale.

The romance was not overwhelming, but it was there. The characters were given time to develop feelings for each other, and it didn’t seem too much like insta-love. I think it was a good balance.

The only thing I really had a difficult time with was perhaps Sev’s mother at the end. I didn’t fully understand what the tubes did to her – why, scientifically, did that have to be her outcome? But this is a very small thing compared to how rich the book is as a whole.

I could tell that a lot of thought and creativity was put into this book. The fact that Sangster built up her idea around a real disease, encephalitis lethargica, enriches the entire story. It would be truly terrifying if something like this were weaponized as imagined in this book. The end left me eager for the next installment!

[Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for a review. Review originally posted on Goodreads on November 11, 2017.]

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