Title: The Final Six
Author: Alexandra Monir
Pub. Date: March 6th, 2018
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Content Warning: attempted suicide
*HUGE thanks to HarperTeen and Alexandra Monir for the early review copy in exchange for my honest opinion
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.
March was the month of Sci-Fi for this little bookworm & I really had a blast spending time with one of my fave genres. After reading Scott Reintgen’s Nyxia last year, falling head over heels for the Illuminae files, and being blessed with Pierce Brown’s Iron Gold… I decided reading all Sc-Fi is vital in my life. I caught wind of The Final Six & immediately jumped to request a galley from Harper in hopes of finding my next beloved crew of characters. There was SOOO much good packed into this book but it wasn’t without it’s flaws. If you’ve been around my blog for a bit, you know 3.5 stars means I enjoyed the story & still very much recommend the read. As a matter of fact I hear this isn’t a stand-alone anymore & a sequel is in the works. Also on the horizon is the film adaptation acquired by Sony (see here). So it’s definitely one filled with potential & I’m actually very interested in seeing the next chapter in this space adventure after THAT ending *eyes wide open*…
Humans at war against the environment, this is a story that takes place in our present day world with one very sobering difference…Climate change is no longer being challenged as fiction. Natural disasters have led to the Earth being practically inundated with water. Tsunamis are now a natural occurrence & the world is desperate for space exploration to bear fruit. The Earth is becoming increasingly uninhabitable, food is scarce, and families are being torn apart by the destruction. To say I wasn’t thinking of our current state of climate all along while reading this book would be untruthful. I appreciated this topic being explored in a YA book since it’s one currently being silenced in our real world. I also found interesting how close it stayed to actual events like El Niño and the effects felt around the world many years later. In many ways it can be compared to many other post apocalyptic books currently on the shelves but I felt the authors efforts to have it parallel our present day situation with climate change, makes this one stand apart from the majority. Sobering in many ways because I could see this actually happening versus the zombie apocalypse (I haven’t quite completely ruled this out haha!) that is a bit far fetched.
The Mission: The Final Six will establish a civilization on Jupiter’s Moon Europa
Told in multiple POV’s, we get the story from our two protagonists Naomi & Leo. Naomi is Iranian American & her area of study is science (major kudos for giving us women in STEM), she is one of the 12 recruited to compete for a position as one of the final six to join the space program. Naomi is also the only candidate whose family is still intact, both father & mother are alive as well as a little brother. Leo is a Italian Olympic medal Swimmer who lost his parents and sister to a natural disaster. Up until the moment he is recruited, he was scavenging the personal belongings of his neighbors (now currently under water) in order to survive. For Leo, the call to compete for a spot on the final six is a lifeline he is more than happy to take. Feeling like he has nothing to lose, we meet Leo at his very lowest point. Leo is my favorite character in this book because he’s a survivor who is willing to fight for a second chance at life. He could’ve been moping around the entire book because his entire family was wiped out but instead he chose to go hard for Italy & the love for his country jumps off the page.
Naomi on the other hand is what you’d call a unlikeable character 🤷🏻♀️ & that’s ok, it wouldn’t be interesting if everyone carried the same personality so I always tend to appreciate these characters. Naomi is a Scientist & true to her field of study she is also a skeptic. She is NOT at all enthused over being selected & would much rather stay on Earth looking for a cure to help her sick little brother. Deciding very early on to self sabotage her chances on making the final six, only to find that the head Scientists in charge have already thought of this. This isn’t a voluntary thing, you are given no choice and being selected means that those who do have loved ones will not see them for years to come. I thought Naomi was seriously bad a** just off the strength that she’s a young woman in STEM doing her thing with a patent pending. However, I could’ve done with less selfishness from this character. I loved that she wasn’t naive & saw right through certain things but the reality is that Earth is about to be fully under water. She was selected for her brilliant mind & putting the seedy things governments tend to hide aside, a real asset to a team entrusted to start anew. Also, her teammates are in danger and she seems to be the only one aware but she’s still trying to ditch them for about 80% of the book. This book also falls into the insta-love trope & I wasn’t the biggest fan because Naomi’s selfishness seeped into it placing Leo in harms way one time too many.
I wasn’t too focused on world building this time around since our setting is literally mostly under water and it’s as grim as it gets folks. This being said, I was expecting to get some really fleshed out characters since there are 12 candidates to begin with. These 12 were to go through some challenges that would narrow the crew to 6. I didn’t get the camraderie I was hoping to get, which is probably the only thing I was really counting on. We did see the expected internal competitiveness between our MC’s & other candidates but the antagonists themselves weren’t fleshed out either. The challenges themselves weren’t detailed with the exception of one. I feel showing the readers some of what the candidates had to overcome would’ve enhanced this story & also given us some camaraderie. Especially when faced with a government that is hiding many secrets placing all their lives in harms way.
The last 30% of the story took a very interesting turn that left me very intrigued on how this story would end. At the time, I believed this to be a stand-alone & after a quick google search found that a sequel was in the works. This made me relax a bit since I feared being left in the lurch right when things were taking off. The Final Six was fast paced & very easy to digest in two sittings & after THAT ending, my guess is that the sequel will take off running at the same speed. My only hope for the sequel is that we get more fleshed out side characters. After all these personalities will be the basis for which a new civilization is established on Jupiter’s Moon. On that note, I’m giving major kudos to the author for selecting candidates not only for their skill set but for their diverse cultural backgrounds. There were so many real life issues in this book that I LOVED seeing discussed & also hope to see more of. Would I recommend this book? YES, it’s relevant and speaks on a subject currently being silenced. Will I continue with the sequel? YES, I’ve got questions & need answers 😂 Will I watch the movie? ABSOLUTELY! the book trailer alone (see above) packs enough punch to have raised my interest in seeing it on the big screen 👀
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