**I received an ARC from the publisher and this in no way affects my thoughts/comments.**
I have been craving more sci-fi books lately so when I heard about The Last Girl on Earth by Alexandra Blogier, I knew I had to read it. Aliens and other planets and one human left in existence? Sign me up! While I was super excited to start this book, I did not share the same excitement when I finished. This story is rather light on the sci-fi, weak on the world building, and heavy on the romance.
Short recap: Li is hiding in plain sight. She is the last human but she has to keep her identity a secret. She is living with and being raised by her adoptive Abdolorean family. Her adopted father trained her from day one to be as smart, as strong, and as tough as the other Abdoloreans. Can Li continue to keep her true identity a secret even after she graduates and goes off to the serve her planet?
Pretty intense, right? Well… not so much. When it comes to world building, believe me when I say it is pretty non-existent. I knew nothing much about this universe/world other than the people on this particular planet are super smart (they never need to study), they are rarely hurt, they love to swim, they look exactly like humans except that they have gills. The ecosystem is the same as Earth (but Earth and humans are bad! BOO! YUCK!) so Li is able to mesh in with society like she belonged there. Her adoptive father had her fake gills surgically implanted when she was small so for some reason they know to grow with her as she gets bigger? I didn’t understand that but it wasn’t explained. Actually, there is not a lot explained. I just had to accept it and frankly, I’m not that kind of reader. I had questions that would never be answered.
I never really fully connected with this as I never connected with the characters. Li felt badly underdeveloped. I knew she was constantly afraid of being “discovered” because she had inner monologues with herself about it all of the time. When she wasn’t obsession over fitting in, she was worried about regular teenage stuff: fitting in at school, being popular, and the hot boy liking her. Oh goodness did she obsess over the boys. Enter trope mysterious hot new boy: Ryn. Ryn was the son of military parents and as a result they moved from planet to planet. Because he was new to Abdolorean, all of the girls wanted him. OH NO, he only had eyes for Li. Now Li and Ryn have instalove like I have never read about before. It was not pleasant. These two immediately became joined at the hip and they could think about nothing other than each other. That would be great if this had been a contemporary story from the start. The instalove these two had overshadowed the entire story. I almost cannot remember what else took place because all I read about was these two wanting to spend time with each other. Ryn wasn’t a bad character, but he had an answer for everything and was just too cool for school. You name the planet in the universe and Ryn had already lived there with his family. You named an experience and Ryn had a better one with his family. In a silent way he was a one-upper while still trying to be cool and mysterious.
Let’s not forget Li’s bestest friend. I don’t even remember her name because she was very self-absorbed and a snot. I didn’t like her. If she was really a best friend she would not have treated Li the way she did. Li spent so much time trying to protect her identity that it prevented her from going out and doing stuff with her friends. Li’s best friend was so rude every time Li could not join. She made the worse comments and was just too snide for my tastes. Even in the end, this friend was nasty and she got what she deserved. Now did any of these characters develop and go throughout the course of the story? Not that I saw, but the story was just north of 250 pages. That isn’t a lot of time to properly world build, establish a plot, and develop characters.
Another thing that really stood out to me while I read through this was how far too much detail was given when it really wasn’t needed, and not enough detail was given where it was necessary. Example: Li is training to become a part of Abdolorean’s army, which is dispatched throughout the universe. Minute detail is given to every training scenario Li goes through, but no detail was given to why Abdolorean felt the need to wipe out the Human race? Why they felt everyone on Earth needed to be destroyed and having cows was a terrible thing? AND THAT ENDING. WHAT? Blogier crammed nearly all of the action and climax into the last 20 pages of the book and never explained anything. It all happened way too fast and when it was over, I set the book down and said, “What just happened.” I wanted so much more from this story. I walked away with far more questions than I started with and I know I won’t ever get those answers.
Don’t go into this story expecting a blockbuster sci-fi because I’m afraid you won’t get it. I know I didn’t. Maybe if you read it you’ll like it better than me. Sadly this was just not for me.