While reading this book in preparation for the ARC I received for the sequel, I was thinking to myself, "Books like these are why the three-star rating exists." It's a good book but not a particularly memorable; this is the type of fast-paced, brain candy that you consume on a flight or keep in your purse and then immediately forget about once you're done. Does that mean the book is bad? No. Does that mean the writing is terrible? No. It just means that, as fun as it is, it won't be topping any of my favorites lists.
Also, whoever compared this to THE FIFTH WAVE-- no. I see you, blurb writer. And you are wrong. If anything, this book is like Titan A.E. meets Animorphs.
Clover lives on a ranch with her family. They keep to themselves and don't hurt anybody, which makes it extra horrible when everyone Clover cares about-- her family, her boyfriend, the entire human race-- is killed by an invading race of creepy aliens that look half-human/half-metal spider (i.e. my worst nightmare). They have laser guns that turn people to dust with a single hit. Humanity never stood a chance... except, for some reason, they don't appear to see Clover.
Clover spends the next part of the book wandering aimlessly, and contemplates suicide several times. Readers, take note: suicide is a recurring motif in this book, for both depression and self-sacrifice. It is mentioned many, many times with a casualness that's kind of shocking. So if that's something that you're sensitive to, you may want to avoid this book. Luckily, Clover's depression abates to a point when she hears a mysterious broadcast whose cryptic riddle appears to be urging her to Area 51--
And once she goes there, on a whim, she learns that she isn't alone.
I think anyone who enjoys those teen warrior type books will really enjoy this book. That's what reminded me about Animorphs so strongly-- that, and the fact that the creepoid aliens in this book kind of seemed like the types of characters the Animorphs might encounter on one of their side missions. I really enjoyed learning about the backstory of them a little more and why they wanted to invade Earth, although if I'm being perfectly honest, I thought the reason was a bit disappointing.
The parts about the aliens and the invasion could have been fleshed out more and the reason why the aliens didn't "see" Clover felt like a deus ex machina. I'm inclined to be forgiving since this is just a young adult book and it's meant to be in good fun, but I like being shook and this was barely a poke. Honestly, though, it's much, much better than THE FIFTH WAVE, which I didn't like at all. The aliens are cooler and the characterization of the leads was more developed.
THE LAST 8 is a fun book for fans of alien invasion stories and post-apocalypse fiction. Just don't pick it up expecting a mover and a shaker, or for your mind to be blown by magnificent twists.
I'm looking forward to reading the sequel.
3 to 3.5 out of 5 stars