Li is the last human girl on Earth after the aliens, who used to be friendly, decided the humans were killing the Earth and in turn, decided to kill the humans. These aliens look like Li except for their superior minds and bodies and the gills on the sides of their neck.
Her benefactor and now father emphasizes how Li must follow the rules if she wants to survive, which means come home quickly, don’t socialize often, and don’t make close friends. But when Li meets Ryn, she’s swept up in a relationship with potentially disastrous consequences, ones that could change the fate of the human race.
I’m not really sure what I was expecting when I read this novel, but it sure wasn’t this.
I hadn’t read the summary (I got this ARC from my library) and I picked it up solely from the cover (I picked up all the upcoming ARCs oops) and the fact that I would be able to write an early review that would hopefully help the book’s release.
I can’t really say this is going to help much.
I had no solid expectations except an inkling of what this story was about. In my head based on the cover, I imagined something about a girl who’s entire family died in the apocalypse and she really is the last person on Earth. Themes of grief and self-discovery and growth were all things I was expecting.
Instead, I got something very different than this fantasy I conjured up.
Li as a character isn’t the worst I’ve seen, but she’s definitely not the brightest specimen left on Earth, let’s just say that. She makes some really dumb decisions and has little regard for her own safety.
Let me emphasize the stakes here. If she’s discovered human, she will be taken to a facility, tortured for scientific purposes, and then killed. If I was in Li’s position, I wouldn’t even try to have a life. I’d just hide in the basement for my whole life getting my foster father to bring me more books.
But no. Li is all la-dee-da going to school and hoping to fit in as one of these aliens even though it’s been made clear that humans aren’t as strong or smart as the aliens. But Li is a special snowflake. She’s been trained from birth by her foster dad to be smart and athletic and fit in with the superior alien dudes–and now she’s trying to be the top of her class! *cue gasps*
This makes no sense. Unless Li’s a genius child, it’s been established that the aliens are super smart and that humans are petty specks of dust. So how is she 1) smarter than her best friend (more on that later) and 2) the top of her class.
Are these aliens dumber than they’re portrayed, or is Li just a super special snowflake (besides the fact that she’s the Last Girl on Earth™)?
But whatever. She wasn’t a terrible character when she wasn’t doing any decision making or ignoring her personal safety.
I felt the side characters were also very underdeveloped, even the love interest.
Her bond with her sister could have been so much more. There could have been some showing of how they’re amazing sisters and love and care for another, but instead it was fight and then remember that you love each other at the last moment and take for granted that their bond was strong right before they were going to die. I wasn’t really a fan her and her foster sister’s bond because it felt underdeveloped and too much tell and not enough show.
Her best friend is the other side character I want to touch on. Why is Mirabae (her best friend) portrayed as not as smart and a jealous bitch? It felt like the author was making Mirabae less of a person (sorry, alien) to juxtapose her against Li and make Li look like a super smart special angle snowflake girl. Couldn’t we have some awesome support groups and Mirabae and Li building each other up?
I wasn’t a fan of their relationship either, and it was very take-for-granted like the relationship with her half-sister.
I did, however, enjoy her relationship with her father because there was this one scene where he helps her study for her test the next day, which I found was a good example of their bond and what I wanted to see with her friends & sister.
And now to the romance & male main character, Ryn.
Ryn was bland, cookie-cutter, and mysterious. I didn’t know who Ryn was, other than the fact that he doesn’t have good relationships with his family and he likes marine biology and he moved around a lot. He was a case of Mysterious Boy™ and this was basically the reason why Li liked him. And the fact that he didn’t have a burning hatred for humans like the rest of the aliens.
I don’t really have much to say on the romance because it was just like a lot of other YA romances. It was too insta-lovey, not enough angst, and didn’t feel genuine.
It did, however, work as a plot point. It was the motivator for things to happen in the last half of the novel, which helped justify why it was there, although I can’t say I enjoyed it.
The plot didn’t make much sense, and a lot of this had to do with the premise. There’s not a lot of plot to go off of already (short book), but the idea that the aliens thought humans were not taking care of the Earth well so they decided to kill them all is just absurd.
If they were sentient alien beings who interacted with the humans, why would they kill them? Why do they have this burning hatred against them? Couldn’t reform have happened instead, or dictatorship? But mass genocide? Is that really the answer?
It just seems implausible that sentient alien beings who think pretty human-like choose massacre as the answer. It just doesn’t seem possible, unless the aliens harbored a hatred for humans and wanted a reason to kill them all.
But killing everyone because they destroyed the natural environment was way too extreme and a possibility I feel didn’t work well with the book. Something other than this close-minded view that all humans are bad would have been better, in my opinion.
I also felt like not enough emotional weight was put on the fact that the entire human race was basically wiped away. I would be concerned. I am concerned.
This book is really short. It’s under 300 pages and my favorite part was the pacing. It was a fast and quick, easy read, which was good while I read it because I was less frustrated reading than I am writing this review.
Because thinking about this novel is not as enjoyable as reading it. It was fast, it was mildly entertaining when it wasn’t frustrating, but it was overall very unrealistic and lacking in many aspects. I unfortunately would not recommend this novel.
Thank you to my library and Random House for providing me with this (uncatalogued) ARC in exchange for an honest review!
What do you think of the premise? Could sentient aliens wipe us all out?