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Last of Her Name

Review

Last of Her Name

The Belt of Jewels galaxy has been in a state of unsteady peace ever since the revolution 16 years ago. The revolution when the Leonov royal family was overthrown. The revolution when the Union government seized power. The revolution when the entire royal family was executed --- from the emperor, Pyotr, to the youngest princess, Anya.

For Stacia, though, the revolution was long ago. Too long ago to worry about now. Her life on her home planet, Amethyne, is a happy one, full of playful days in the sun with her best friends, Pol and Clio. But when a Union ship arrives, it carries the news that not only are there empire loyalists among them, but Princess Anya is, in fact, alive and living in their little town. And just when the craziness seemed to reach its peak, the Direktor Eminent --- leader of the Union and the galaxy --- declares that Stacia herself is the princess!

"LAST OF HER NAME was an AWESOME read with new ideas and genuinely surprising plot twists. I would recommend it to anyone who read and loved the Lunar Chronicles, as well as STITCHING SNOW and SPINNING STARLIGHT."

Shoved suddenly into a dangerous life she never wanted, Stacia goes on the run, accompanied by Pol. To Stacia’s horror, they are forced to leave Clio behind in the hands of the Union. Stacia quickly channels all her energy into one endeavor --- to find Clio. But as things heat up and secrets are unveiled, Stacia finds herself in the center of something much too large to handle.

I’ve read a lot of science fiction books over the years, and it seems like many of them introduce some sort of alternate power source. This is necessary in order to explain how prolonged space travel can be sustained. In this book, the use of prisms was an excellently bright, fresh idea! I don’t think I’ve ever read about anything quite like it. Even if they weren’t a plot point, which they are, those prisms were very interesting to me and made the book all the better!

Now, when I read this, it was pretty obvious that it was a retelling of Anastasia Romanov’s alleged survival (was it supposed to be subtle?). This may seem a bit strange, since Anastasia was a real-live person (think about it --- Anya Stacia). But I think it was just brilliant how Jessica Khoury took the idea of Anastasia as inspiration, but the tale itself was not relied on too heavily. Although Stacia’s royal blood is an important factor, the plot of the story gradually builds away from this point into absolutely dazzling uncharted waters.

Yet another new and interesting detail was the evolved humans, who lived on several of the different planets. This is an excellent way of making the cast fascinatingly (is that a word?) diverse without causing the problems which come with alien life. However, on the flip side, some of the traits which the people evolved to have just didn’t make sense. Some of them (purple skin, really?) were a little bit flashy and don’t seem like something that would have enabled the species to thrive. You know --- survival of the fittest and all that.

The thing about LAST OF HER NAME is that since it has such a complicated story, it was almost a little awkward at this length. I mean, I feel like there are a ton of breathtaking details that could have been so much more elaborate if the book had been longer. Or perhaps longer isn’t the right word. This book --- it just has SO MUCH story in such a tiny amount of space. The story itself doesn’t need more events within it, but the events which do happen should have been written in a more lengthy way.

To sum it all up, LAST OF HER NAME was an AWESOME read with new ideas and genuinely surprising plot twists. I would recommend it to anyone who read and loved the Lunar Chronicles, as well as STITCHING SNOW and SPINNING STARLIGHT. And --- well, okay, basically, all lovers of sci-fi should read this book!!!

Reviewed by Nina L., Teen Board Member on March 20, 2019

Last of Her Name
by Jessica Khoury