The Last Lie

Sourcebooks. (The List: Bk. 2). Aug. 2020. 288p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781492693338.
Gr 5 Up–This post-apocalyptic thriller picks up where The List leaves off, returning readers to the Ark, a community whose authoritarian leadership has restricted speech to a list of 500 approved words in a misguided attempt to prevent the “lies and false promises” that had led to The Melting, a climate-change induced collapse of civilization. Although protagonist Letta killed John Noa, the Ark’s founder and leader, in the previous volume—background that is seamlessly incorporated for readers new to this duology—little has changed, as John’s partner (and Letta’s aunt) Amelia has now taken over the Ark and is even more draconian. Through a chain of events that requires a fair amount of suspension of disbelief, Letta determines that Amelia has imprisoned 50 babies and is raising them without any exposure to speech whatsoever, hoping to ultimately do away with all language. Together with romantic interest and fellow rebel Marlo, Letta takes the lead in opposing Amelia’s plot. With its adherence to standard dystopian tropes, this work is not exactly groundbreaking. However, this plot-driven page turner does trip along at a compelling pace, while also raising a number of interesting questions about the role of language in society, the costs of censorship, and the importance of considering the means, not just the end, when overthrowing tyranny.
VERDICT A priority purchase where Forde’s The List is popular.

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