Rambling about books

Book review: The Final Six, by Alexandra Monir

Book cover from Goodreads

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: The Final Six (The Final Six #1)

Author: Alexandra Monir

Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Goodreads link

From Goodreads:

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.

 

As I have said when I reviewed Zenith, I’m not a big fan of science fiction, especially ones that focuses in space. It was a world of fiction in which I cannot find an interest in. But, this book sort of promised me that it might be different. Right from the very start, I am already intrigue by how gorgeous the cover was. And, obviously I am pretty well verse in judging a book based on its cover, so even though this book falls within the spectrum of science fiction that involves space, I still would read it anyway. Guess what? I’m glad that I did, because this story has an interesting premise that felt closer to reality and it is backed by extensive research on the author part, so reading the science part of this piece of fiction does not feel like reading mumbo jumbo, mind you.

I really can’t put this book down; the background details that brought the reader to the centre of the story felt so real and mesmerising. From the great flood that nearly drown Italy and the wiping out of Israel from the map and the many natural disasters that took place all across the world due to, what I assume, global warming courtesy of us humans, it made it feel real. Not to mention, in the time that I was reading this book, there were plenty of natural disasters happening all across the globe, it made it even real for me as I grapple the idea of building human colony in another planet.

The thing is, when you’re in earth and you start to notice that the earth is crumbling one day at a time, the idea of moving to another planet seems feasible and favourable (however unlikely it is for all humans inhabiting earth to have the chance to do so, if it was even possible), but the book brought the issue of another living creatures already inhabiting other planet, and should it become possible for humans to build a colony, would that mean fighting for the new planet with the original inhabitants? It brought forth the dilemma of humans colonising other creature for a safe haven after earth is gone.

There’s the issue of the feasibility of the program, as years before that the expedition to Mars ended in disaster. This is where the conflict begins, along with the conflict between several of the ‘contestants’, although I’m glad that was not the highlight of the book, because if it were, I swear I will give up this book entirely, because I am not here for that kind of story. I want everyone to just live in peace. I know, wishful thinking.

Here’s one thing that hook me first, before the whole entire story did, the two main characters, Leo and  Naomi. They could not have been more different, but I like the dynamics between the two, although it took me more chapters to like Naomi than I did with Leo, partly because Naomi seems to be an obnoxious know-it-all who seems to look down on the other contestants, a bit too self-absorbed to my liking. There’s a huge stark difference between Leo and Naomi in viewing the Europa project, and it’s fascinating to get inside their heads and see the project from two opposing views. Sadly, it seems that no books is complete without love story, and I understand that having raging hormonal teenager locked up in one space would eventually results in them falling for each other, but can we just pretend it didn’t have to happen to our two main characters? Ugh.

That being said, two main characters falling in love is not the only cliche in this book. The ‘bad guys’ in this book is just so predictable, even the ‘secretly good guys’ are also predictable. After having an amazing time more than half of the book, and only to be presented with your ‘typical bad guy persona’, I was not having it, you know? Oh and don’t even get me started on the whole, “I’m a virgin and I want to lose my virginity to you, because I love you bla bla bla..” trope. Like, to me it’s more believable if the whole, “hey let’s have sex before I flew out of earth because I really don’t want to have sex with other guys other than you,” rather than, “I need to have my virginity taken by you.”

It’s just virginity, it’s not giving out your family heirloom! I hate the trope that revolves around the importance of virginity as if it is a holy grail of some sort. You will eventually lose your virginity, one way or the other, so why make a big deal out of it? This perpetuates that girls’ entire existence boils down to her virginity and whether she lost it to someone she loves or not. Oh, I am so sick of it.

Sorry, I’m being distracted. Right, to get back to the story, this was clearly a very interesting book and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, and see whether or not the Europa project will be a success or will end up in disaster too. Oh, I didn’t mention that this was a series? Well, it is, and if you’re not happy about it, that makes the two of us. Really, I can’t believe I have to be investing myself in another series. Ugh! But, okay, I’ll give this book a pass because it was incredibly interesting to read and I can’t wait to read more of Leo’s adventure.

Definitely! It’s even better if you are already interested in science fiction or the topic of moving to a different planet as earth probably one day will be (or already is) a dying planet. If you have a thorough information on issues of the habituality of Europa or other planet, it might be interesting to see whether or not the things mentioned in this book is feasible. I, obviously, don’t have sufficient knowledge in the issue so I just swallow everything mention in the book.


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