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The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe

Review

The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe

Poe and Call, orphans of the Outpost, have always wondered what lies beyond the walls of their confining city. When an opportunity to join the crew of a mining ship comes along, they both take it. Together, Poe and Call create a plan to jump ship to race towards freedom. Yet when the ship is attacked and Call is struck dead, Poe is left to seethe in anger at the Raiders who attacked them. In THE LAST VOYAGE OF POE BLYTHE, a glorious exploration of grief and revenge, Poe embarks on her last journey that starts off in anger but ends in understanding. THE LAST VOYAGE OF POE BLYTHE is a fast-paced, riveting tale that many readers will relate to.

The lead-in of this book was so gripping. I don’t know how Ally Condie did it but within the first five pages, she captures the reader’s attention and makes them fall in love with Call as much as Poe is in love with him. The writing was tremendously easy to read and fast-paced.

"Ally Condie explores grief and revenge expertly, creating a character as real as you and me. THE LAST VOYAGE OF POE BLYTHE is a well-crafted story with fantastic characters, superb action sequences and dystopian vibes."

I was a bit hesitant to start this book. I read MATCHED when it first came out and didn't like it at all. It was a bit slow and too romance-centric. However, this past autumn, Ally Condie wrote THE DARKDEEP with Brendan Reichs, which was imaginative and action-packed! So when I heard about THE LAST VOYAGE OF POE BLYTHE following a female captain of a mining ship seeking revenge, I knew I had to check it out. When I first read the synopsis, I thought this may be about pirates. Unfortunately, it is not. The ship the characters sail mines the gold at the bottom of the river. There are some scenes of Raiders overtaking the ship but none of the Raiders call the river their home. However, there are similar elements to that of pirates that I would recommend the book to readers who like pirates and sea-faring adventures.

There are some dystopian undertones in this book. Instead of building a world, Condie placed us in a world that had ended and been reborn. People live in this one concentrated area called the Outpost. They exchange freedom for life under the supervision of the Admiral. Citizens of the Outpost believe that the outside world is not safe. Poe used to strive to break free from the Admiral’s hold which would have turned this into a dystopian novel, for sure. Instead, she decides to seek revenge for the death of a loved one and to do that, she needs the leverage the Admiral provides.

There were many paths the plot could take. It's a revenge narrative. Yet, at one point, it was the mystery of a potential traitor. At another time, there was a survival plot. THE LAST VOYAGE OF POE BLYTHE connects it all but it does seem as if there was a bit too much going on. There didn't seem to be one primary focus.

Condie created an entire cast of amazing characters. Each one was so well written. With Poe’s narrative --- she doesn’t make small talk and knows very little about her crew --- readers are only given the bare facts about each character at first. Condie lets readers interact with the characters through dialogue and action which immerses readers further into the story. It makes the cast of characters much more dimensional that way.

Poe is complicated, in-depth and relatable. Readers' hearts will surely go out to her. Her grief is shrouded by her desire for unrelenting revenge against the Raiders. She makes many mistakes along the way which makes her relatable; yet, it may also make her unlikable. She’s a strict captain. She doesn’t want to make friends. She doesn’t like to make conversation. Poe is blinded by one path: ridding the world of Raiders. She intends to see her mission through without fail. Poe is such an excellent character.

There was a slight romance --- that I wouldn't even categorize as a romance --- more like a mere desire. It is easy to decipher that Condie wanted there to be something between Poe and the other character, but there wasn’t. It would have been interesting to see how it turned out but Poe’s desire is underdeveloped and mostly imaginary.

The ending of THE LAST VOYAGE OF POE BLYTHE leaves it open to questions, even room for a possible sequel. Condie made the right choice in ending it that way, as it left readers wondering and wanting more.

This is a plot we’ve seen many times before. However, Ally Condie explores grief and revenge expertly, creating a character as real as you and me. THE LAST VOYAGE OF POE BLYTHE is a well-crafted story with fantastic characters, superb action sequences and dystopian vibes.

Reviewed by Jeanna Michel on March 20, 2019

The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe
by Ally Condie