Book Review: The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

Book: The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

Published March 2018 by HarperTeen|345 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Sci-Fi

When Leo, an Italian championship swimmer, and Naomi, a science genius from California, are two of the twenty-four teens drafted into the International Space Training Camp, their lives are forever altered. After erratic climate change has made Earth a dangerous place to live, the fate of the population rests on the shoulders of the final six who will be scouting a new planet. Intense training, global scrutiny, and cutthroat opponents are only a few of the hurdles the contestants must endure in this competition.

For Leo, the prospect of traveling to Europa—Jupiter’s moon—to help resettle humankind is just the sense of purpose he’s been yearning for since losing his entire family in the flooding of Rome. Naomi, after learning of a similar space mission that mysteriously failed, suspects the ISTC isn’t being up front with them about what’s at risk.

As the race to the final six advances, the tests get more challenging—even deadly. With pressure mounting, Naomi finds an unexpected friend in Leo, and the two grow closer with each mind-boggling experience they encounter. But it’s only when the finalists become fewer and their destinies grow nearer that the two can fathom the full weight of everything at stake: the world, the stars, and their lives.

I had a hard time getting into this book, to the point that I did not like it.  At all.

I mean, sure, I read this book in three days, but the more I read, the more I didn’t like it.  Is it an interesting idea?  Absolutely.  A book about a group of teenagers trying to start a settlement on Jupiter’s moon sounds cool.  But this book just didn’t work for me.

One of my biggest issues were the narrators.  The Final Six follows two teens, Naomi and Leo, as they go through training at the ISTC.

For starters, their chapters/sections sound EXACTLY the same.  The 24 teens are divided into different groups, and of course, Naomi and Leo are on the same team.  It makes no sense to have both of them narrate, at least for most of the book.  It isn’t until the end of the book where it made sense to see two different perspective.  Are they doing different things for most of the book?  No, they most certainly were not.  They’re together  for most of the book, especially with the training exercises, and that is what a lot of the books are.

Their chapters sounded exactly the same, and if it weren’t for the header of Leo or Naomi, I wouldn’t know who we were supposed to be following.  Not that it would have made a difference, because there was no shift in perspective.  Well, for the most part.  The few times they aren’t together…let’s just say that even when they’re not together, there isn’t much difference between their voices.

And the other thing with the narration is this: for the most part, each chapter focuses on either Leo or Naomi.  There are times at the beginning where we change narrators mid-chapter.  Thankfully, that was just at the beginning, when we’re still figuring out what’s going on, and we’re seeing how they’re dealing with being drafted into this program.  It was jarring, though, and really put me off of the narration.

It didn’t help that I didn’t care for Naomi or Leo.  Or any of the other characters.  But especially them, since we see them the most.  I get Naomi wanted to take care of her brother, and didn’t want to leave him or her family, but I also didn’t like how she seemed to hate having to go.  I mean, I get it, but you were chosen, and it doesn’t mean you’ll be part of the final six.  It’s a stark comparison to most of the other 24, who have nothing to return to if they’re not selected.  Like Leo.  I get he didn’t want to go back to Italy, and that being selected meant everything to him, but in case, it did get tiring.  Instead of feeling sympathy, I felt irritated at how whiny they seemed.

There were some twists, but if I’m being honest, I had a hard time caring about anything.  I didn’t care about some of the reveals, or some of the things that were hinted at.

And that ending!  At first, when I finished it, I was thinking that I wasn’t sure if I was interested in continuing with the series.  I really hated this book, and that is not something I say lightly.  But I was curious about what would happen next…and to my surprise, this book seems like a stand alone.  It is weird, because it seemed like it was setting up for future books, and it ends on a note that would make you think that there is more to come.  And yet, there is no series information, which makes me think this was a stand alone.

Though I probably wouldn’t continue with a series, it really felt like a first book to me.  I’ve read (and started) more than my fair share of series, and this book gave off a first book vibe.  So either series information isn’t out yet, or it might be coming, or it’s a stand alone.  I’m actually not sure where I’m going with this, but I did finish the book feeling like there should have been more answers if it is indeed a stand alone.

1 star.  I feel like my rating isn’t a surprise at this point, and if you, for some reason, didn’t pick up on this, I didn’t like The Final Six.  It’s a cool idea, but if you like people settling on a different planet (or moon, in this case), Across The Universe is a much better book to read.

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