A fast-paced novel about colonizing somewhere else in the galaxy to give humanity a fighting chance, The Final Six promises romance, a high-stakes competition, and secrets behind every door.
Leo, an Italian swimmer, and Naomi, a Persian-American science genius, are part of the 24 teens drafted into the International Space Training Camp where six of the draftees will be sent to Jupiter’s moon Europa to scout the new planet after erratic climate change has made Earth a dangerous place to live.
It’s a competition, one Leo desperately wants to win as nothing’s tying him to Earth, and one Naomi is suspicious of, believing that not everything they’re told may be true. The two grow closer with each challenge, but everything’s at stake when the finalists dwindle down.
I’m so sad this book just wasn’t for me. I know a lot of the other reviewers really enjoyed reading it, but I was not a fan.
Conceptually, it was interesting and I requested it because of this–the Earth’s climate has forced us to scope out a new living possibility–but what I got was a lackluster execution that made this book less enjoyable than it could have been.
It all starts with the actual situation at hand. It sounds nice–climate change, global warming, boo–but the way it’s phrased and executed as “erratic” makes this significantly less plausible. Like, “Oh! Tsunamis just started mowing over Ohio. Let’s not think about solving whatever’s wrong with the Earth. We should jump to the most ridiculous conclusion possible–space travel.”
If erratic natural disasters happened, I would assume we’d try to find the root of the problem instead of bouncing to technology & colonizing a hostile ice planet with radiation 10x that of Earth and a size 4x smaller.
Maybe that’s just me, but I really like my blue sky and not seeing a giant looming Jupiter out my window every morning. I would hope the government wouldn’t want to throw out the Earth like that plastic container they drank their Big Gulp with.
But anyways, personal opinions aside, it does seem a little ridiculous that the world’s highest priority is sending six hormonal teenagers into space with barely any training.
Even if we got past the natural-disaster disaster, it’s oddly convenient and weird that the radioactive treatment they have only works on teenagers. Hmm coincidence? I think not.
A lot of this book felt too convenient or too forced to me. Naomi just happens to be a science genius who just happens to carry around an electron microscope all the time because she might have to analyze bacteria.
I feel like the teenager aspect could have been integrated more clearly, and I wanted more showing and less telling of how Naomi was smart besides the fact that her suitcase holds an electron microscope along with who knows what.
I also felt like there could have been a little more research put into this book. I know Monir got the basics down: Europa, bad radiation; bacteria with nuclei, not possible; etc. etc., but I felt like sometimes it bordered more on scientific-sounding jargon than actual scientific terminology, you feel?
Like, what’s a “geometrical angle” because where I’m from, we just call it an angle. Some of the science just sounded fake and unconvincing. Where This Mortal Coil was written by someone with an who studied astrophysics and had convincing scientific exposition, The Final Six did not convince me with much of its science, which was a huge let down to the science-fiction portion of it.
Now, you might be thinking that I absolutely hated this book, but it had its redeeming qualities.
If you ignored the stuff I mentioned above, the plot wasn’t too bad. It was pretty engaging and it was paced well and it had mostly-reasonable twists. I found it to be well-structured and had a very nicely placed climax that left enough resolution and cliffhanger at the end without feeling abrupt.
The characters were also fine. Leo and Naomi were cool, but their voices did sound very similar despite being very different people. The story is told in alternating POVs between them, but if it wasn’t for the titles distinguishing who’s whom, I would have had a very hard time figuring out who was narrating. I didn’t really relate to either, but I didn’t mind them.
I wasn’t too much of a fan of the romance though. Apparently Monir is a romance author, which in retrospect makes more sense, but I didn’t really think there was going to be romance in here, and I felt like it didn’t contribute much to the story.
I liked the diversity in the characters, but I did feel like it could have been a little more (more POC, any LGBTQ+, etc.). We didn’t learn very much about the competitors other than the four other people Leo and Naomi were paired with, which was unfortunate as I thought more development on that part would have helped.
Overall, this book isn’t a bad book. It was a lot like Dare Mighty Things, just executed not as well. I wouldn’t discredit this book too much if the things I mentioned wouldn’t bother you a lot, but it just ended up being not the book for me. It just felt a little too commercial and a little too underdeveloped for me to enjoy, but I think if this is something that intrigues you, you should definitely try it out.
Thank you to HarperTeen and Edelweiss for providing me with a digital review copy of this novel!
You can preorder The Final Six now from any major bookseller or find it in stores March 6th!
What are some of your favorite sci-fi books? Do you think you’ll check this out?