Last of Her Name

400p. Scholastic. Feb. 2019. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781338243369.
Gr 7 Up—In a galaxy dubbed "The Belt of Jewels," a girl discovers that she's a princess and must embrace her destiny of liberating the oppressed from an extremist ruling class. Russian nomenclature used throughout suggests this is somewhere in our universe and also hints at the work's attempt to retell the story of Anastasia Romanov. Thus begins a journey wherein hotheaded Stacia (and company) blazes a trail of destruction that will leave teens wondering whom to root for. The villain initially shows more hints of depth than the heroes, but unfortunately he's flattened as a stereotypical genocidal tyrant by the end. Realism is broken and emotional strength undercut when characters in mortal danger don't die. The characters' actions don't feel like they have an impact on the plot. The conclusion feels rushed, hinting at positive change for the galaxy, but the results of Stacia's past decisions suggest impending disaster. The work does introduce an alien species that is truly alien and fascinating, but sadly underutilized.
VERDICT For a jewel-themed story, it's pretty lackluster. This is a bland sci-fi romp that fails to resonate. Recommend Emily Suvada's This Mortal Coil or Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves's "Interworld" books instead.

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