The Earth is under attack thanks to rapid environmental shifts and the only answer is..beyond. The Final Six by Alexandra Monir is a teenage space race novel dotted with angst, conspiracy theories, budding romance, and a lot of scientific questions. I don’t LOVE sci-fi but I do love speculative fiction, which I would kind of classify this book as, however I don’t think the high stakes were reflected in the writing style and the dual POV chapters didn’t feel different enough to merit their use. Overall, this is an interesting idea but not the best execution. I will probably pick up the next book though just to see where it goes…because the ending is kind of absurd.
Climate change has wrecked the Earth in The Final Six, which is set sometime in the unndated but recognizable future. Natural disasters happen on the regular and entire cities are gone, buried under water or burned to the ground. Therefore, the scientific community has decided that the only hope is to colonize one of Jupiter’s moons, Europa, and start again. But because of concerns over bacteria and child-bearing age and all that jazz, they want to send up teenagers. But not just any teenagers.Teenagers with a special set of skills, skills they’ve been tracking and watching for. They need medics and pilots and underwater specialists and engineers and they’re going to find them among 24 teenagers selected from all over the world. But only six will be chosen to go to Europa, to be the first on this new planet, to make history. In The Final Six, we see the competition get whittled from 24 to the final six, as they endure a space camp like nothing else. That’s where we meet two of the 24 contestants. There’s Naomi, an Iranian-American engineering whiz from Los Angeles who still has her parents and a sick brother at home and wants to be back with them at any cost. Then there’s Leo, an Italian orphan who saw his entire family drown. He’s something of an underwater expert from his days of diving for memories in the sunken city.
That’s the basics, and that’s pretty much all you need to know until page 200 when things really kick into gear. I understand that the stakes are high, but it really didn’t translate in the writing and the language. Nothing felt fast-paced even when people were on the verge of death or jumping out of planes or submerged in water. And then there’s the dual POV. We alternate between chapters narrated by Naomi and ones narrated by Leo, but it didn’t feel like they were different POVS to me really. The writing style, structure, language, everything was the same except for whose body we were in. I love multi-POV books when they allow you to get more of the story but this didn’t work that way. And, it felt weird what POV we were in sometimes. Like, why am I in Leo’s POV when it’s the pivotal scene of Naomi doing some science magic? I just wasn’t impressed with the execution of this book overall.
It feels like a really interesting and timely idea, but it didn’t meet my expectations.