They live on Saltare-3, a cold planet where technology has advanced so much that a special reader can tell you the exact date you will die. It is inescapable, and you cannot defeat it through endangering your life earlier- things which should kill you may only maim you. You will only die on your death day. However, Franny, Court, and Mykal somehow escaped their death day, living through it. Each had a different place in their society, filling the roles allowed to them by chance and their death date. For instance, Franny was a fast-tracker, someone who would die before 29, and so does not receive education, takes labor jobs earlier, and generally lives for pleasure until their death date.
The three ended the previous book with stealing a spaceship after forging different death dates, along with some of their classmates, and arriving in space to learn that they are actually human, and the others are Saltarian. This book begins where the last left off, with the three locked up in the brig and wondering what that revelation even means. Soon, they are rescued and then sent on a mission to find a newborn. We get many of the answers to the questions that arose at the end of the first book, as well as more exploration of what the universe looks like in this future.
What I loved: The pacing in this book was better than the first, and I was completely captivated the whole way through. The world-building is also enhanced as we learn more about Earth and the Saltare planets in this book. The sci-fi is a lot stronger. The romance is also stronger. The couples that arise were amazing, and I was cheering for them the whole way through. I loved the main characters still, and the new characters added were equally as endearing. I really admire how different the main characters are and how well they come off the page.
What left me wanting more: As a relatively minor point, the sci-fi explanations were not quite so scientifically accurate, and there seemed to be a supernatural element to these, as well as a little belief needed to accept them. The ending also felt a little rushed with a lot coming together and happening quickly without full explanations. I would have liked a more extended ending to fully capture the end and how everything comes together. Adding to this, I would have liked one more chapter in the epilogue from another point-of-view to also add to the what will happen vibe (I won’t say who to avoid spoilers).
Final verdict: THE LAST HOPE is a fantastic end to a wonderful duology, and I highly recommend for fans of sci-fi, such as DEFY THE STARS and ACROSS THE UNIVERSE. Despite minor concerns, this is a strong continuation of a really engaging and intriguing YA sci-fi/fantasy duology.