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Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: October 10th, 2017

400 Pages

Synopsis: Sev is branded with the mark of a criminal–a star burned into her hand. That’s the penalty for being the daughter of the woman who betrayed their entire nation.

Now her mother’s body is displayed above Traitor’s Arch, kept in a paralyzed half sleep by the same plague that destroyed the rest of the world. And as further punishment, Sev is forced to do hard labor to prove she’s she’s more valuable alive than dead. 

When the government blames Sev for a horrific bombing, she must escape the city or face the chopping block. Unimaginable dangers lurk outside the city walls, and Sev’s only hope of survival lies with the most unlikely person–Howl, the chairman’s son. Though he promises to lead her to safety, Howl has secrets, Sev can’t help but wonder if he knows more about her past–and her mother’s crimes–than he lets on.

But in a hostile world, trust is a luxury. Even when Sev’s life and the lives of everyone she loves may hang in the balance.

Perfection. Last Star Burning is absolutely sheer perfection from beginning to end! While the exquisite cover might suggest fantasy, and the story contains some allusions to Sleeping Beauty this is pure dystopian through and through. 

The world-building is spectacular. It includes everything you usually find in dystopian fiction: post-war/apocalyptic setting, divided societies, and the “us” vs “them” mentality. But by giving it an eastern setting, this stands out from the rest of the genre. The author mentions in her notes that she loves Chinese history, and her passion for it is more than evident. She also includes places to find more information on the historical events she used as inspiration, which I really appreciated. 

The characters are all larger than life, especially Sev. She’s intelligent, courageous, loving, and loyal to a fault, but because of what she’s been put through, she’s also insecure and has moments of despair, and doesn’t know who to trust. Her story is heartbreaking and brought out a lot of emotions in me as I was reading.

You would think with all the world-building and characters that are introduced, the pace would be slowed somewhat, but that’s definitely not the case. Even at 400 pages, I was captivated from the very first page and finished this over the course of two nights. The ending is exciting and perfectly sets the stage for the next book.

In my humble opinion, Last Star Burning is one of the best dystopian fiction novels I’ve read. What makes it even more incredible is that this is Caitlin Sangster’s debut. I highly recommend this for both teens and adults who love this genre. It’s going to be difficult to wait until October 2018 for the sequel!