Title: Last Things
Author: Jaqueline West
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Publication date: May 7th, 2019
High school senior Anders Thorson is unusually gifted. His band, Last Things, is legendary in their northern Minnesota hometown. With guitar skills that would amaze even if he weren’t only eighteen, Anders is the focus of head-turning admiration. And Thea Malcom, a newcomer to the insular town, is one of his admirers. Thea seems to turn up everywhere Anders goes: gigs at the local coffeehouse, guitar lessons, even in the woods near Anders’s home. When strange things start happening to Anders—including the disappearance of his beloved cat, then his sort-of girlfriend, and, somehow, his musical talent—blame immediately falls on Thea. But is she trying to hurt him? Or save him? Can he trust a girl who doesn’t seem to know the difference between dreams and reality? And how much are they both willing to compromise to get what they want?
“Each note is a scream
The drone is deafening
Beat beat beat
Until the truth is beaten.”
I thought the premise of this book sounded absolutely brilliant and I went into it with such high expectations, and I was so let down by it, unfortunately, because even though the concept sounded incredible and like something that I would love, the execution of the book was quite underwhelming.
It took me a while to get used to the writing style that was in Last Things, because descriptions are kind of off sometimes and it reads more like a middle grade than YA. Once I reached the half mark I started to become a bit more engaged with the story and could look past that, but at the beginning it threw me off a bit. The conversations at times were a bit wonky as well, and I felt they would need more descriptions and less dialogue between the interactions between the characters, since at times there was nothing between some lines of the conversation and I think it made me disconnect with the story a bit more.
I enjoyed how whimsical and dark everything felt. There was this atmosphere during the whole entire time because we were kept in the dark that it seemed as though there was more to what was happening than what we were seeing, and there was this odd and eerie vibe that made the book sometimes be quite interesting.
Something that I also really liked was how focus the story is on music. There were song lyrics that I believe had something to do with what was going to happen next in the book or were related in some way to the male character that composed them, but I think that was such a nice addition because it made it appeared more real in some way and added a little bit of something to the novel and made it more unique.
When it comes to the characters I have to say that they didn’t really have any evolution until the last 20 pages. It’s true that Anders changed his behavior and personality a bit as I continued with the novel, but overall there wasn’t any development in his arc until the las 10 pages, where we were reaching the end. Their POVs became a bit repetitive at times, because nothing was really happening and there wasn’t a lot of information given to us, so it became a bit boring and underwhelming.
“He doesn’t appear until the very end. Because the moment he steps onto the stage, everything changes. The taste if coffee. The lights. The air. It’s an energy that can’t be sustained.”
What bugged me a little while I was reading Last Things was that even though there are two perspectives and I can understand why these two characters haven’t interacted yet and it can make sense, it took more than 60% of the novel for them to interact and their storylines to connect, because before we reached that mark they only had one interaction with each other and nothing more, and I couldn’t see where their arcs would connect, and it seemed as though we were following two different storylines instead of one.
When it comes to the plot of the book, I have to say I was a bit disappointed. Because the author was purposely keeping us in the dark there wasn’t any plot nor we know what was going on until the last 10% of the novel, which was a bummer because I think the concept of the story was so interesting and I think this would have been a great story had things have been done differently. There were some elements that I really enjoyed and kind of redeemed the book a bit for me a made me not hate it, but I think the execution of certain things plus the lack of plot during more than half the book were pretty disappointing.
There was no explanation about the magic system that was introduced in Last Things nor the creatures that were in it. It seemed as though we’re thrown into this story expecting to know these different dark things that were the villains of the story, but there wasn’t any moment that was used to explained to us why they were there or how that magic worked and didn’t affect every person.
Overall, though the concept of the book seemed something quite unique and interesting, I was so let down by its execution and how lineal everything was. The character arc was barely there and though there were some things I enjoyed, those didn’t redeemed the mixed thoughts I had while I was reading it.
“This is where I fail, even when I win. I’m not good at letting go.”
TW: murder, mention of suicide, kidnapping
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t affect my thoughts or opinions about it.
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