The Emperor's Last Stand (Emperor of the Universe, 3)

The Emperor's Last Stand (Emperor of the Universe, 3)
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Release Date
September 05, 2023
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The Emperor's Last Stand is the third and final hilarious intergalactic Emperor of the Universe adventure by David Lubar.

“What do you get when you combine a 7th grader, a gerbil, a package of ground beef, and an alien space ship on a chase across the universe? David Lubar’s latest masterpiece, of course!”―Dan Gutman, bestselling author of the My Weird School series, on
Emperor of the Universe
Nicholas, Jeef, and Henrietta the gerbil face their most existential crisis yet when the universe is attacked by beings from a parallel universe intent on conquering every other parallel universe. If Nicholas fails in his mission to defend the universe, it’ll mean the end of life itself . . .

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It's not easy being the emperor of the universe, so when a space ship lands in the football field of his middle school on the last day of classes, Nick Landew isn't too surprised to find his old friend Clave. The universe has been attacked by another universe, and since Nick has vowed to protect it (as well as vowe to "take blame for anything for which there is no blame"!), he and Stella hop aboard and head off. Not only is the universe being attacked, but it has split into alternate universes, which are leaking into each other, causing all kinds of problems. As if that weren't enough, when Nick texts his parents to let him know that Clave, as well as newcomers Gavish and the celebrity cook Fleexbeezle, are coming to visit his home, he finds out alarming news. Even though his parents think his claim that he is master of the universe is a game that his friends are playing along with, they are planning an outerspace tour of their Beagles tribute band. All too late, Nick realizes that the talent agent who has contacted them is Morglob. His parents are impressed with Morglob's office and business, sign a contract, and are set to tour Jensum, where the locals tend to kill performers after concerts! Nick is still trying to fix the leaking universe so he can repel the attack, and finds that the only people who can help with the universe warp device are... the Carborzi. This is bad news, since they are still not fond of Nick, who assassinated a number of their people in the first book. Will Nick be able to save his parents, the universe, AND be able to start eighth grade without intergalactic problems hanging over his head? Since he turns the universe over to his clones, and Clave signs on to work for Fleexbeezle, it seems like he will be able to live out his destiny on Earth, now that he has found the Meaning of Life.

Good Points

This was a solid sequel to a humorous and thought provoking sequel, and it's easy enough to envision Nick having a good life on Earth, although I'm not sure where Stella will be living. They have a nice relationship, but she's still a former assassin android, and I imagine it's hard to find living arrangements under those conditions. I loved that Nick's parents were involved in the story; of course, they had to be kidnapped to motivate Nick, but they sort of signed up for it themselves because of their love of performing, which was a nice twist.

Like Owen's Here, There Be Dragons, this made my brain hurt just a bit. I know that Jeef merged with Stella at the end of the last book, becoming Jeefella. Since they didn't like that named, they changed it to Janice. Janice narrates the explanatory chapters, but then there is still the embodiment of Stella who goes on the adventures with Nick. Fantasy and science fiction are sometimes hard for me to grasp, although even I was able to applaud the change in the Craborzi outlet. That was a fun twist!

The addition of alternate universes takes this series in an innovative new direction and reminded me a bit of Michael Lawrence's A Crack in the Line. This led me to think about his fantastic Jiggy McCue series, which has some similar goofy moments to this one. I could see Jiggy merrily going on Nick's adventures with him. THIS connection led me to remember that Douglas Adams was a British writer, and Lubar has done a great job bringing that level of profound yet ludicrous soul searching so endemic to British comedy. While not everyone will appreciate Nick's adventures, if you grok, you grok.
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