Dystopia (Teen), Science Fiction (Teen), YA Fiction

Last Star Burning by Caitlin Sangster

I received this novel as an advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The premise of this novel got to me right away. It’s not that it is so very unusual, but I just felt like there was a lot of potential to the story and I wanted to get the chance to see where the author would go with it. Here is my review:

Sev’s mother made a traitorous decision 10 years ago by betraying her nation – and Sev was punished for it. Sev was branded with the mark of a criminal: a star burned into her hand. Now, her mother’s body is displayed above Traitor’s Arch, kept in a half-sleep state by the same plague that destroyed the rest of the world. As further punishment, Sev is made to do hard labour for the rest of her life. When the government blames Sev for a horrific bombing, she has no choice but to escape the city. However, it is a dangerous world outside the city walls, and Sev’s only chance of survival rests on the most unlikely person – the chairman’s son, Howl. Sev knows that she shouldn’t blindly trust Howl, no matter how friendly or helpful he is.  But in a hostile world, trust is a luxury. Especially when people will do anything to survive.

This novel may have been branded as a fantasy story, but it is more of a science fiction one. Normally, I find most YA fiction stories to all be the same. However, I really enjoyed this one. There were a lot of things that the author did that made this novel work. For one thing, Sev is pretty smart. Unlike most protagonists, she doesn’t just let her heart take over; she understands the consequences of certain actions and is smart enough to make logical decisions. I really liked all of the characters that the author created for this story; they were all unique and had their specific part to play. Sev’s interactions with all of them were very interesting and the author did a great job of creating a tense atmosphere whenever Sev was deciding if someone could be trusted or not. The premise of the novel was also very interesting; I liked that the sickness in the novel was based off of a real disorder, and I thought that the author had really thought through the various twists and turns that were introduced. Overall, this was an enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to the second book in the series!

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