I'd like to thank HarperTeen for providing me with a copy of Alexandra Monir's THE FINAL SIX for review! Keep reading to learn a little more about this book and to find out what I thought about it!
When Leo, an Italian championship swimmer, and Naomi, a science genius from California, are two of the twenty-four teens drafted into the International Space Training Camp, their lives are forever altered. After erratic climate change has made Earth a dangerous place to live, the fate of the population rests on the shoulders of the final six who will be scouting a new planet. Intense training, global scrutiny, and cutthroat opponents are only a few of the hurdles the contestants must endure in this competition.
For Leo, the prospect of traveling to Europa—Jupiter’s moon—to help resettle humankind is just the sense of purpose he’s been yearning for since losing his entire family in the flooding of Rome. Naomi, after learning of a similar space mission that mysteriously failed, suspects the ISTC isn’t being up front with them about what’s at risk.
As the race to the final six advances, the tests get more challenging—even deadly. With pressure mounting, Naomi finds an unexpected friend in Leo, and the two grow closer with each mind-boggling experience they encounter. But it’s only when the finalists become fewer and their destinies grow nearer that the two can fathom the full weight of everything at stake: the world, the stars, and their lives.
In this day and age, everything is derivative. There is nothing original anymore. A story's success comes down to a writer's ability to take seeds that we as readers may have seen before and make them grow into something that feels new.
I knew going into THE FINAL SIX that it was going to be derivative. Just the synopsis alone has a very strong Ender's Game vibe, and I had seen that comparison several times. Ender's Game just happens to be one of my favorite books, and I actually love reading the whole group-of-kids-compete-for-space-stuff trope. It's my favorite kind of sci-fi story. That said, I have read that story many, many times now. And this time, The Final Six just didn't do it for me.
That's not to say The Final Six is a bad book. The characters were strong and well-defined. I liked the concept of the kids going to Europa A LOT(because everything Jupiter is the bessssst). And I thought the ending was strong. The beginning, however, was so incredibly slow. The story picked up close to the mid-way point for me, but by then It hadn't hooked me enough and I felt mentally checked out. There wasn't anything in this book that really grabbed me and made me excited to keep reading. And it doesn't help that this story has been done, and it's been done better.
If you enjoyed last year's Nyxia or What Goes Up, then I'd say there's a good chance you'll enjoy THE FINAL SIX. If you're on the fence about this one, give it a shot. It's a strong enough YA sci-fi that has potential to grow with the sequel, which doubtless will be better.