by Rick Yancey
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The enemy is Other. The enemy is us.
They’re down here, they’re up there, they’re nowhere. They want the Earth, they want us to have it. They came to wipe us out, they came to save us.
But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves.
In these last days, Earth’s remaining survivors will need to decide what’s more important: saving themselves…or saving what makes us human.
Call me Zombie.
Everything hurts. Even blinking hurts. But I’m getting up. That’s what zombies do.
Okay so…I’m not guna lie. I had a review that I LOVED written out, but my laptop is acting up again and it shut off before my USB saved it. I was going to recreate it, I was in the process of doing so, but it seems stupid. Those were REAL emotions and they flowed out of me so easily…but that’s what happens when you truly connect with a story. So, seeing as I loved this story, this series, these characters with all my heart, I made a connection so strong, so unyielding that I have a lot to say. Too much to say.
So there you go. You can love the good in us and hate the bad, but the bad is in us, too. Without it, we wouldn’t be us.
So, instead of trying to recreate those raw emotions, this amazing idea I had explaining how beautiful bookends could be (you’d have totally dug it, guyz-as it is, this makes no sense. Had you read my profound thoughts in said erased review, you’d have been all…wow, that makes sense. Obvi), I’m going to go a different direction. Write a wholly different review with another set of raw emotions…because that just proves to you how much this book and series meant to me. A whole review of epic, wonderful, well-thought out things I bared from my soul are gone forever with no ounce of documentation…and I’m barely upset.
I’ll kill until I lose count. I’ll kill until counting doesn’t matter.
Sure, I’m angry, I loved what I did. But, as it is, I could never say everything I’m thinking in one review, so another take on my thoughts couldn’t hurt. It’s just not the same. Anyway. My feels know no bounds. Sorry I rambled. Sorry I’ve been thinking about this since I finished 24 hours ago. Sorry I have re read my quotes over and over and over and over again…and I still break down every time.
It’s more than Zombie can handle. He falls against the side of the barricade, gulping air, his face lifted up to the sky. Lost, found, dead, alive, the cycle repeats; there’s no escape, there’s no reprieve. Zombie closes his eyes and waits for his breath to slow, his heart to steady. A small break before it begins again: the next loss, the next death.
It’s not often I love a whole series from beginning to end. It’s a rarity. Authors start out these series with promising ideas, wonderful, charismatic characters, and the question of what’s to come for everything involved. We wait and we wait and we wait…Because no matter how much we beg and plead and cry for the next book, it’s all a fruitless endeavor, isn’t it? They do what they want anyway, right? Especially those last books…they love to pull those final book extensions because ‘You want it to be what it’s meant to be right? You don’t want it messed up. We’re doing this to give you the best story possible. Don’t you want the perfect end to your beloved series??? You wouldn’t want to ruin that, would you?’ So they tweak and they twist and they turn and they add and delete and edit edit edit and they don’t release it until they are damn well ready to.
She was the mayfly, here for a day, then gone. She was the last star, burning bright in a sea of limitless black.
So…we sit again. We wait. And then it appears on our e-readers or on our doorstep and we immediately download it at midnight and read and read and read and then it’s like…that’s it? This is the end we waited for? Not everyone gets as disappointed, haughty, or judgmental as I, though, apparently, because there have been, like, seven releases this year for finales and I’ve hated 6 out of the 7 while others loved them. It’s been rather…devastating.
I supposed I could turn to Bear. It was always easy to talk to him. We had hours of conversation, good conversation, during those weeks when it was just me and him hiding in the woods. Bear’s an excellent listener. He never yawns or interrupts or walks away. Never disagrees, never plays games, never lies. I go where you go, always, that’s Bear’s jam.
Bear proves that true love doesn’t have to be complicated-or even reciprocated.
So when I saw this was close to finally being released (DAMN YOU, YOU STUPID 8 (or however many) month set back!) I was blasé about it. What did I even have to look forward to, ya know??? I have hated almost every series end this year and have been living in heartbreak hotel all by my lonesome as each bbf’s story crumbled to ashes. And then this little morsel appeared on my iPad. My hopes were low, I didn’t set the bar too high….but anyone that knows me knows this was a defense mechanism. I have loved this series since it was first released years ago. I have followed Cassie on her journey from the very beginning as she chased after Sammy, held that damnable teddy bear, found a deep bond with an otherworldly sniper, and her teenage crush. She has been through the ringer (HA! That bitch….) and only wants to make a world where her little brother can live and see it as she has gotten to. See the universe’s beauty, the stars, the sky. Birds and rivers and schools and friendship and love. Not devastation, war, battling to wake up each day alive, fighting for each breath earned. Not needing to hold up a gun at every stranger lest they rip you to shreds or shoot your head off before you get a chance to. A world with trust. A world with unity. A world with peace and kindness….a world with hope. A world like before.
And I run on. Through a primordial landscape unscarred by any human thing, the world as it was before trust and cooperation unleashed the beast of progress. The world is circling back now to what it was before we knew it. Paradise lost. Paradise returned.
This. Book. Was. Everything. It was rain clouds and sunshine and laughter and friendship and sacrifice and loyalty. It was every moment. It was every thought. It was your waking breath and your final memory before sleep. It was your dreams and your consciousness and it was….everything.
But the most wonderful thing of all, our highest achievement and the one thing for which I pray we will always be remembered, is stuffing wads of polyester into an anatomically incorrect, cartoonish ideal of one of nature’s most fearsome predators for no other reason than to soothe a child.
I was prepared for x. I was prepared for xx. I was even prepared for xxx….but what I didn’t expect, what I wasn’t ready for…I wasn’t prepared for this. How does an author…do this? I can’t explain it. In no way can it be described. It’s like…you know you’re hungry, but you aren’t sure what you feel like. So you kind of just…chill. Take it all in, decide to go for the ride and see what you feel like in a minute. And then all of a sudden someone hands you something or you see a meal come out in front of you and it just…clicks. That is what you want, and it is exactly what you needed-You just didn’t know it.
Reduce the human population to a sustainable number, then crush the humanity out of it, since trust and cooperation are the real threats to the delicate balance of nature, the unacceptable sins that drove the world to the edge of a cliff.
And that’s this story. This trilogy had integrity from the start. Whether you liked, hated, or loved, no one could say it lacked originality or that it didn’t pique your curiosity. I mean, everyone can agree on that, right? I’m real big on integrity, and I’ve been super upset this year that so many series have lost their…spark, their originality. They have lost the thing that makes them so special and what made them stand out among all the other series, in my mind. But this series…from book one on, I have been nothing but awed. Nothing but impressed. The second book got dark, therefore making me even more of a fan, even as some people dwindled off and lost their love for it. Hey, you can’t win with everyone.
Lying is like murder-after the first one, each one that follows is easier.
But then this was released….and I can’t even explain how perfectly perfect this was wrapped up. And here’s the most beautiful thing about it: It wasn’t wrapped up in a neat little bow. BOOM. I just…YES. Thank you!!! These dystopian authors think that their crumbling world has to be put back together in the end, that the world could so easily be re-made, rebooted, whatever. But no. Fuck that. Life is messy. The world is messy. We are messy. Humanity has been ripped from all these people and we expect it all to be fixed by a few action scenes? I don’t think so. And Yancey didn’t even try to pull that shit. Each scene was a building block and a new layer on an intricately pieced together puzzle, and until that final sentence, that final paragraph, that final moment…nothing fit. And that’s the most amazing, mesmerizing, breath-taking thing to me: It was perfectly imperfect….and therein lies the integrity. Loads and loads of integrity…and I am utterly speechless about it. (Well…)
Why must I always be the isle of crazy alone in an ocean of sensibility? The should to everybody else’s shouldn’t? The I-will to their better-nots?
I couldn’t breathe from beginning to end. My heart was beating faster and faster with each progressing page. My mind was racing at the speed of light, trying it’s fucking hardest to figure out what was going to happen, who would make it (would anyone make it?), how it would end, who was worth keeping and who was worth discarding. And…okay, I’ll fucking admit it, who the hell Cassie would be with, in the end. Sorry. Is what it is-but the best part??? THIS STORY. This story was larger than a girl and a boy and another boy and a slightly mean sniper girl-This series and this end made me proud of the dystopian genre, again. This is how you end a series. This is how it’s done.
Squad 53 is gone, broken apart, dead or missing or dying or running.
RIP, squad 53.
I don’t remember so much humor, this dark comic relief that Cassie Sullivan possessed, and Ben Parish’s humor and determination to keep things light in the face of certain death. And I know I shouldn’t say it, I know it sounds bleak, but I’d be shorting myself if I didn’t say it: This book has one of the most heartbreaking scenes I’ve ever read. And it’s not what you’d think…but it burns. It burns so good.
The others concluded that the only way to save the world was to annihilate civilization. Not from without, but from within. The only way to annihilate human civilization was to change human nature.
I find it important to note, also, that I literally snarled at my husband because of this book. That’s right. At precisely 12:41 AM on the 25th (or was it technically the 26th?) of May, my hubbs woke up and proceeded to try and be suave and play nice and flirt with me once he saw I was awake and I literally, and I do mean LITERALLY, looked over and bared my teeth at him with a very viscous, aggressive, and otherwise very unattractive snarl-scraggly as I was, this did not help. You know, that tangled hair and tears streaming down my face while battling my choking sobs. I might have even been giving a very valiant effort at pulling my hair out. Silly boy, don’t you know not to interrupt the reader while she’s fully submerged in another reality??
They wanted a mindless, stone-cold killer to let loose on the world. They wanted a zombie. Now they’ve got one.
All the feels. All the stars. I was crushed in a way I wasn’t prepared for. And it’s my own fault, really. Because seriously…I was too busy judging my love for all the characters and my emotional investment in them:
Cassie-Can’t remember how I felt before, but OBSESSED with her now
Evan-Still like but…just not like I used to
Ben Parish-AGHHHHHH more than I even remember possible!! I WILL LOVE YOU FOREVER, my Zombie!! Protect me! lol
Ringer-Begrudgingly like, how I’ve pretty much always felt
Nugget-Oh, Nugget, must you hurt your sister’s feelings, so?? But anyway, love his POV now, whereas I never did before
Anyway…my point. How could I forget? Humanity comes first, in the end. I HATE YOU, YOU STUPID BOOK. I lie. I love you so much. Come…come join your friends on the bookshelf…
More quotes I didn’t get to put in (if you wana read them :P):
I stood up. Then I sat back down. There was nowhere to go. Well, I could go to the kitchen and make a sandwich, except there was no bread or deli meat or cheese. I don’t know the particulars, but I’m pretty sure there’s a Subway on every corner in heaven. Also Godiva stores. On our second day here, I found Grace’s stash of forty-six boxes of Godiva chocolates. Not that I counted them.
After Sam hit me on the nose, I burst out of the bathroom, soaking wet, whereupon I smacked into Ben Parish’s chest. Ben was lurking in the hallway as if every little thing that has to do with Sam is his responsibility, the aforesaid little shit screaming obscenities at my back, the only dry part of my body after trying to wash his, and Ben Parish, the living reminder of my father’s favorite saying that it’s better to be lucky than smart, gave me that ridiculous what’s up? look, so stupidly cute that I was tempted to break his nose, thereby making him not so damn Ben Parish-y looking.
Stopping just short of the doorway, I pull out one of the stun grenades. I slip my finger into the pin. My hands are shaking. A dribble of sweat courses down the middle of my back. This is how they get you, this is how they crush the spirit right out of you. Out of the blue the past is rammed down your throat, a gut punch of memories of all the things you took for granted, the things that you lost in the blink of an eye, the stupid, trivial, forgettable things you didn’t know could crush you, things like an old woman’s quivery voice, high-pitched and far away, calling you inside for a plate of warm cookies and a glass of ice-cold milk.
Wow. I’m…actually speechless. My heart…is that my heart ripped to shreds on the floor?
I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to process [all the epic].
I am a walking, talking ZOMBIE and I definitely didn’t sleep last night.
Finally. Finally an author who ends a trilogy the way it should be….and I was highly critical-you bet your ass on that. No free 5 star hand out here. Just….I am without words. Can’t complete full sentences. I am without emotion. Comatose.
Yeah. Just call me Zombie.