Saturday, March 3, 2018

The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

Title: The Final Six
Author: Alexandra Monir
Genre: Science Fiction
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss

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.
Review by Nara

To be honest, the whole premise of The Final Six was quite flimsy and unrealistic- surely it would be difficult to train a teenager to be completely ready for a space mission in a single month. I don't know exactly, but I'm pretty sure that an astronaut has to train for years before being sent into space- they need to undergo specific physical training as well as learn all the protocols for when something goes wrong, since there is no one else physically there to help them while they're in space. The idea that a teenager could be sent with four weeks of preparation under their belts seems quite preposterous.

However, if you could cast your mind aside from the silly premise, the mystery of the rest of the novel was quite compelling. I was interested to see what conspiracies Naomi and Leo could uncover, and while it was relatively predictable, it unfolded in an interesting and well paced manner. Unfortunately though, one of the villains of the story is a fellow trainee who seems to be "evil for the sake of it". I'm not sure whether the author was intending to reveal more of the background story in the sequel, because there were some hints that there was something going on, but overall he just ended up being really bland.

I would be more inclined to recommend this novel to readers who are not well versed readers of science fiction. It's relatively light on the science, and probably focuses more on the romance side of the story. Naomi and Leo's relationship was developed nicely, although perhaps it did dominate the overall story a bit too much.

Liked it
Overall: 6/10
Plot: 3/5
Romance: 3/5
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 3/5