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Rick Yancey Signing and a Few Thoughts on The Last Star

So I’ve been meaning to write this post for two months now… oops… But better late than never, right?

When I heard Rick Yancey was coming to Parnassus Books in Nashville on a SATURDAY (I hate when authors come on weeknights… so not convenient…), I decided I definitely needed to consider an outing to see him. I really enjoyed the psychological nature of The 5th Wave, and Rick continued to mess with my mind in The Infinite Sea, so I was looking forward to seeing how it would all conclude in The Last Star.

So I made the trip, and thankfully had a friend, who also happens to be one of my writing critique partners, to sit and chat with as we waited.

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At this point, it’s hard to remember too many details of what Rick said, but like pretty much every YA author I’ve ever seen speak he was so funny. (I really hope one day someone will say the same about me!) Someone asked him if he was a plotter or pantser, and he was like, “What’s a pantser? Like fly by the seat of my pants? Is that an actual term?!” And when we confirmed yes, that’s what a pantser is and yes, that’s a real term, he said, “Oh, I’m totally a pantser!” This surprised me because his plotting seems so intricate, but of course, that sort of thing can be helped through multiple drafts. He explained how the idea for The 5th Wave was really born out of an image he had of a young girl running from something, frightened.

Also, plotting or no, Rick Yancey had his plans disrupted when his editor read The 5th Wave for the first time and asked, “What happened to Ben Parrish?” In this version of the story, he is just mentioned in passing by Cassie. So Rick was like, “I don’t know, I guess he dies just like everyone else Cassie knows.” And then the editor went on to say, “Oh no, Ben Parrish does not die.” And thus, a whole new narrative ended up being weaved into the story. And then when Rick Yancey tried killing Ben again in the second book, his editor again insisted, “Ben Parrish does not die.” To which Rick exclaimed, “Seriously?! The guy’s a cockroach!” The trip to the signing was worth it alone to get in on this “inside joke” that is definitely referenced in The Last Star.

He talked very briefly about the movie, which I had just seen the week before and liked well enough, even if it didn’t encapsulate all the intricacies of the book, but it was clear that it wasn’t all Rick hoped it would be. However, I could also tell he was grateful for the opportunity.

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I never know what to say at these signings, but I asked Rick if he was allowed to talk about his next project, to which he resolutely said, “Nope.” Oh well, had to ask.

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I read The Last Star not too long after the signing, and sadly, I ended up being a little underwhelmed. Rick warned us that he pulled no punches, which is true. The stakes are high. But I found myself not caring too much about the characters, sadly. Here are the thoughts I shared on Goodreads after finishing the book and trying to decide between 3 or 3.5 stars (no spoilers):

This rating is definitely a reflection of my thoughts on the book as a whole. The ending will no doubt be controversial among fans but I didn’t have an issue with it. I just feel the book could have been half the length and gotten the same point across, though thankfully the pacing wasn’t too bad; it’s just so little happens in these four days even though so much is at stake. I never felt the danger and I realized that I cared less about the characters in this book than I had the previous two. But maybe that’s part of the point, as humanity is slipping away? Still though, the stakes couldn’t be any higher and I was pretty chill through most of my reading. I expected a doomed ending, so maybe I just didn’t stress over it.

The trilogy as a whole though is still a very interesting take on the alien invasion story line, as well as an exploration of humanity and psychology, things which I appreciated most about the books. I feel the ending is pretty satisfactory, and it’s a surprising who the character with the most growth and resolution ends up being!

Have you read The 5th Wave trilogy? If so, what are your thoughts on it?