Goodreads: Last Star Burning
Series: Last Star Burning #1
Source: City Book Review
Publication Date: October 10, 2017
Last Star Burning is the exciting story of Sev, a girl who only ever wanted one thing: to be a good citizen of her country and make a place for herself. So it is a terrible misfortune when her mother betrays the whole nation, and the whole family is branded criminals as a result. It is an even great misfortune, years later, when the government frames Sev for a fatal bombing in the middle of the city. Suddenly, all the work she has put into her “re-education,” into keeping her head down and trying to prove she fits in, is wasted. The only choice she has left is the one she never wanted to make: she will need to leave her beloved nation and see what dangers lie outside the walls.
Last Star Burning is billed as a fantasy (and, indeed, it is), but because the official summary and marketing have focused on the fantasy aspects, as well as on Sev’s romance and personal development, I was not expecting the story to have as much in common with dystopian fiction as it does. It’s clear once one starts reading the book and sees that there’s a rigid caste system, and government keeping secrets, and a conspiracy to frame Sev for a bombing she almost died in herself, and a wall that barely anyone crosses…that the novel is basically a dystopian that happens in an imagined world rather than in a future version of our own world. I’m perfectly okay with his, however, because Sangster deals with the elements well, making them seem fresh and exciting even to someone who has read her share of YA dystopians.
The plot is well-paced, and there are a lot of twists and turns that will keep readers engaged as Sev begins to piece together what is really going on in her world. She quickly learns that much of what she learned was true, truths she held very dear, are not true at all–yet it’s unclear whether her new sources of information may also have their own agendas and biases. Throw in some camping and some fighting, and the story is a great mix of action, intrigue, and world building.
Sev herself is a fun character to tag along with. Her devotion to her country comes across as admirable rather than unfortunate, and it’s great to see her take steps towards turning her nation into the good place she once believed it was. Her personal relationships are also very interesting, as she navigates friendship, romance, and family ties. One of her most defining characteristics is loyalty, and I loved see her fighting even for people who never quite believed n her.
So, Last Star Burning is not quite what I expected, but is a very good read. I’ve been disappointed with some of the YA I’ve been reading recently, but I love how Sangster puts a fresh, riveting face on plot elements that could easily have seemed old.