Linden A Lewis’ First Sister trilogy comes to an event filled finale in The Last Hero. After what turned out to be a fairly slow start in The First Sisterand an explosive and expansive follow up in The Second Rebel, Lewis turns up the heat on all of their characters for the final instalment of this series. This is the third book in a series so this review will contain some minor spoilers for earlier volumes.
The book opens only a few months after the events of The Second Rebel and the game changing revelation that ended that volume. Former First Sister Astrid has found a home among the Moonborn, Hiro is on a mission to kill his father who is about to be investigated for all of the nasty things he has done, and Lily is trying to consolidate her power as Mother against reactionary forces led by Aunt Marshae. Nothing goes as planned, and the fallout will further radicalise some of the already downtrodden Asters and draw a response from the powerful Synthetics, the artificial intelligences who have been already been preventing humanity from expanding further into the Solar System.
The Last Hero shows Lewis’s continuing development as a writer who can deliver complex, multi-point of view, action filled space opera. There are clear factions in this universe – Gaeans, Icarii, Asters, Moonborn, Synthetics – but none are monolithic. Each one of these is riven by dissent or at least competing philosophies of existence. Within these Lewis explores the power of individuals to shape those philosophies and approaches.
There is plenty of action and violence both small scale and large scale as various plans swing into action. No matter how big or small, Lewis always makes sure that readers are aware of the cost of these actions in human lives. There is definitely a hint of the influence of The Expanse on many aspects of this series, but the trilogy is in no way derivative and Lewis goes their own way with their politics and action.
In the middle of all of this, Lewis never loses sight of the characters trying desperately to effect change and stop what seems to be an inevitable slide into all out conflict. It is the connections between these characters that not only drive the plot but support its eventual resolution. The multiple points of view are well handled, including some one-off character moments to fill some gaps.
The Last Hero is a cracking finale to a page-turning space opera series that improved in all respects as it went along. Expanding beyond their many influences, Lewis delivered detailed world building full of memorable characters, and great action. And underneath it all a deeper philosophy about being true to yourself and your beliefs.
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