The blurb for this one caught my attention very easily, and so when I saw it on NetGalley I couldn’t help but request a copy.
So thank you to the author, as well as Tor via NetGalley for the review copy!
Ten years ago, Zelda led a band of merry adventurers whose knacks let them travel to alternate realities and battle the black rot that threatened to unmake each world. Zelda was the warrior; Ish could locate people anywhere; Ramon always knew what path to take; Sarah could turn catastrophe aside. Keeping them all connected: Sal, Zelda’s lover and the group’s heart.
Until their final, failed mission, when Sal was lost. When they all fell apart.
Ten years on, Ish, Ramon, and Sarah are happy and successful. Zelda is alone, always traveling, destroying rot throughout the US.
When it boils through the crack in the Liberty Bell, the rot gives Zelda proof that Sal is alive, trapped somewhere in the alts.
Zelda’s getting the band back together—plus Sal’s young cousin June, who has a knack none of them have ever seen before.
As relationships rekindle, the friends begin to believe they can find Sal and heal all the worlds. It’s not going to be easy, but they’ve faced worse before.
But things have changed, out there in the alts. And in everyone’s hearts.
Fresh from winning the Hugo and Nebula Awards, Max Gladstone weaves elements of American myth–the muscle car, the open road, the white-hatted cowboy–into a deeply emotional tale where his characters must find their own truths if they are to survive.
Ten years ago, a group of friends found a way to travel to alternate realities, and they had many adventures, some more dangerous than others. Then, they lost Sal, the real heart of the group, and everyone went their separate ways. Sal’s lover Zelda has never stopped looking for her, traveling the US destroying the rot that they found in all their alternate universes, any time it creeps into ours. The rest of the group have moved on, started families, become successful. When Zelda and Sal’s cousin June find rot seeping from the crack in the Liberty Bell, and proof that Sal is still out there in the alts, they get the group back together to go save her.
This was a really interesting story. I mostly found it very intriguing because this is the story of what happened after the initial adventure, which you don’t often see. It’s most definitely an adventure itself, of course, but you get to see this one unfold while only getting snippets of what happened ten years ago. You get enough for context. You get enough to fuel what’s happening. I was never confused as to what was happening, but it still left some of it as mystery. The prose was fantastic. It was not at all difficult to sink into this book for hours.
I liked Zelda as a character, and I found it easy to cheer for her to lead her group into and then out of danger, and to get Sal back. I also really liked Ramon and June. Ramon’s knack (a sort of supernatural ability that each of them have) was interestingly used throughout the story. He can just… find a good path. It gets him and his friends out of danger a lot. June is only seventeen during this story, but all the same she holds her own very well, even when really crazy stuff is happening. She also gives several good clap backs in this one that made me smile.
I got the same vibe from Last Exit as I did from King’s The Stand, or The Dark Tower. It’s got the same sort of dark, mysterious alternate universes that are definitely different to our own, and usually dangerous. It also has that probably really evil presence chasing the protagonists. So, this is quite a different story (obviously), but with those elements in it, I just found myself getting the same feelings while reading it. This is a good thing, I promise. ^_^
So, all told, I thought Last Exit was a great read. Suspenseful, dark, and just weird enough that I was sucked right in. This is undoubtedly going to be a fantastic audiobook (with Natalie Naudus narrating) and I am saving a credit for it! Now, excuse me while I read the rest of Max Gladstone’s work. 4/5 stars!~