The Last Hero by Linden A. Lewis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the final book in the First Sister trilogy, and the first thing I noticed about it is how much the writer has improved from the first book to this. This book is far more complicated, both plot and character-wise, than either of the two books preceding it. There are a great deal of plot threads to wrap up, and new viewpoint characters to explore. Frankly, I don't think the author who wrote the first book could have managed it all. But they pull off this book with aplomb, and bring the series to a satisfying conclusion.
This series reminds me of James S.A. Corey's The Expanse, with its competing warring factions: the gene-modded Asters in the Belt, the technology-leaning Icarii of Mercury and Venus, the religious Geans of Earth and Mars, and the cyborg Synthetics, who have established their civilization from Jupiter through the rest of the solar system and beyond. All of these sides meet in a titanic clash that threatens to result in human annihilation, until our main characters manage to avert it.
All of the characters have good character development, in particular Astrid, the former First Sister (an euphemism for a space comfort woman forced into the life from an early age) who turns into an effective leader and the driver of nearly the entire plot. Astrid discovers who she is and where she came from, and makes up her mind that though she has been abandoned and betrayed by many people, she is going to reclaim her life going forward. (In fact, Astrid becomes quite the badass throughout this book.) One character who died in the last book is resurrected as a Synthetic and reunited with his lover, and all the characters (well, except for the villain, who definitely gets his deserved comeuppance) end up in a good place.
This last book was over 600 pages, but due to the twisty plot, I think it earned the added length. If you like complex space opera, I think you will enjoy this.
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