This is the sixth book in a fine series of Young Adult science fiction about the 251 teens who are sent on a Hail Mary mission to save the human race from extinction after a comet-borne disease annihilates Earth’s adult population. (Sure, humanity could continue in an extreme
’s Run style scenario, with one generation giving birth to the next and training up the adolescents just before dying off at ages 18 and 19, but being reduced to the status of mayflies and mosquitoes is hardly optimal.)
Humanity’s Last Best Hope for anything have been through troubles, trials, and tribulations, from sabotage to political civil war to the untimely death of one of their own, and now their spaceship is being torn apart by stressors the engineering team never anticipated, and they are still over ten light-years from their destination planet in the distant system of Eos (the Greek goddess whose name means, appropriately enough, dawn). When it becomes clear that the ship will not endure long enough to get them there, Council leader Triana and council members Bon, Lita, Hannah, Gap and Channy, as well as the entire crew, are forced to make a critical decision. Who decides what, and why, makes for fascinating reading.
Merit Sims is still being devious-divisive, and when revelations about the mysterious contents of their cargo bay provide him with some leverage, he gets an opportunity to act on his fears and convictions.
Ever since Dominic Testa began acting as advisor to his father, this series has gotten edgier, sharper, and more (thought-)provoking. It’s proven to be a great collaboration, a point which teachers should develop when they use this series in classrooms. As always, a Reader’s Guide at the end provides discussion starters and writing prompts, but I recommend using the meta-analysis challenge of identifying how and where Dominic has had an impact. In particular, I suspect he has had a say in the personality evolution of Roc, the ship’s AI computer system.
This volume is being presented as ‘the electrifying conclusion’ to the series, and while it does bring closure to the main story arc, there are many sub-stories that could be continued, as well as several major plot lines that cry out for a sequel series; whether Dom Testa intends to let readers use their imaginations and take it from here or to provide his own, authoritative version of what-happens-next I do not know. I rather hope the answer is both. ~~ Chris R. Paige