Format: Hardcover, 400 pages
Release Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Genre: YA \ Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic
To escape execution for a crime she didn’t commit, seventeen-year-old Sev is forced to run away from the only home she’s ever known in this exciting start to a brand-new fantasy series from debut author Caitlin Sangster.Sev is branded with the mark of a criminal—a star burned into her hand. That’s the penalty for being the daughter of the woman who betrayed their entire nation.
Now her mother’s body is displayed above Traitor’s Arch, kept in a paralyzed half sleep by the same plague that destroyed the rest of the world. And as further punishment, Sev is forced to do hard labor to prove that she’s more valuable alive than dead.
When the government blames Sev for a horrific bombing, she must escape the city or face the chopping block. Unimaginable dangers lurk outside the city walls, and Sev’s only hope of survival lies with the most unlikely person—Howl, the chairman’s son. Though he promises to lead her to safety, Howl has secrets, and Sev can’t help but wonder if he knows more about her past—and her mother’s crimes—than he lets on.
But in a hostile world, trust is a luxury. Even when Sev’s life and the lives of everyone she loves may hang in the balance.
Last Star Burning, by debut author Caitlin Sangster, is the first installment in the authors Last Star Burning series. For the past 8 years, Sevvy Jiang has been labeled as a Fourth Class citizen all because the City Proletariat claims that her own mother betrayed the city by infecting her own daughter with the so called encephalitis lethargica, or sleeping sickness. A sickness that can only be settled with a drug called Mantis. Sevvy has been branded with a star seared into her flesh as a way to indicate that she is the daughter of a traitor, and has been forced to undergo indoctrination.
Sevvy is the last remaining member of her family since her mother currently hangs in stasis in a place called Traitor's Arch. Sevvy's only real friend, Tai-ge, is the second son of the family who is supposed to re-educate her back into society. Yet, he is still a second class citizen, or a Red as they are called. But, after a bomb is dropped by what the city claims is an enemy plane nearly killing her and Tai-ge, Sevvy finds that she has become the enemy of the city. Only one person actually believes that she is innocent. That is the son of the Chairman.
Howl and Sevvy set out for a destination called the Mountain, where Howl claims that answers can be found. The road to the mountain is fraught with danger, and the promise of safety in the mountain may in fact be an illusion after Sevvy discovers some shocking and eye opening secrets. Sevvy's only real true ally might in fact be an outsider named June, and a medic named Sole who helps her when things looked their most darkest.
Sevvy is a genuinely decent character who remains strong willed despite all of the issues that have been laid at her feet. One could state that Last Star Burning is influenced by the author’s experiences in China. The story is set against the back drop of a post-apocalyptic world where deception, lies, and propaganda rule the day. Where the First class actually drops bombs on its own citizens while blaming an unseen enemy. The stigma behind the sleeping sickness really does lay heavily over this story. It gives it a bit of a darker feel to it since nobody is immune.
The author gets an A for her world building, an A for a very well thought out plot line, and an A for writing such a fantastic character in Sevvy. It is Sevvy's struggle to understand a whole new reality that is vastly different from what she was told by those who pretended to know better than she did. Her voice doesn't waiver, but gets strong as the story rushes towards a somewhat cliffhanger ending. Shatter the Suns, which is apparently the sequel, releases fall of 2018.