Book Review: The Last Astronaut
Hello Astronauts and Intergalactic travelers!
I hope you’re enjoying the spooky season and some nice weather (finally!). The past week has been insane with grad school, but I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I haven’t had to do more overnighters yet this week so I’m sooo grateful for that.
It’s time for another book review! This time I read The Last Astronaut by David Wellington.
I wanted more scifi picks for my grad school reading project, and after starting Salvation Day and Dead Silence but failing to vibe with the stories quickly, I settled on this one. So how did it end up? Keep reading for the review!
Mission Commander Sally Jansen is Earth’s last astronaut–and last hope–in this gripping near-future thriller where a mission to make first contact becomes a terrifying struggle for survival in the depths of space.
Sally Jansen was NASA’s leading astronaut, until a mission to Mars ended in disaster. Haunted by her failure, she lives in quiet anonymity, convinced her days in space are over.
A large alien object has entered the solar system on a straight course toward Earth. It has made no attempt to communicate and is ignoring all incoming transmissions.
Out of time and out of options, NASA turns to Jansen. For all the dangers of the mission, it’s the shot at redemption she always longed for.
But as the object slowly begins to reveal its secrets, one thing becomes horribly clear: the future of humanity lies in Jansen’s hands.
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I can’t recall the last science fiction novel I read that was set in space, but after reading this great novel I’m going to have to change that.
This book centers on Sally Jansen, NASA’s last remaining astronaut that was responsible for the failure of the second space race. She now lives a life of penance until she gets the golden opportunity to make amends when a young man identifies a spacecraft approaching Earth. First contact with an alien species at stake, NASA recruits Jansen and a ragtag team of highly capable scientists with no experience in outer space to address the situation.
Nearly everything worked flawlessly for me in this novel.
I listened to the audiobook while following along with an ebook version. Megan Tusing was the narrator, and I think she did a great job with different tones and inflections to capture the multiple characters’ points of view. There were some typos in her reading, but I was blown away by the ambient soundscape that occasionally accompanied her voice in tense moments. It added another element to my experience that gripped me. I also liked the small logs that other characters recorded and how it sounded. Very nice job done with this audiobook.
The characters were diverse and had differing personalities. Stevens and Parminder were the brainy scientists, while Jansen and Hawkins were the grunts. Their team had an interesting dynamic, and their progression along the way was really engaging, especially when things really amp up.
The plot was my favorite part of this reading experience. There’s plenty of buildup before Jansen and the team head out in space, and once they do everything changes. This alien ship is beyond creepy, and the situation quickly turns into a horrific situation that had me on the edge of my seat. I also enjoyed how the author captured the hopelessness of the situation. It was really dark but realistic. I will admit that the later half of the book could have been a bit quicker paced, but it wasn’t terribly slow either.
Overall, if you’re looking for an original and chilling tale of first contact, you can’t pass this book up!
That’s A Wrap!
Well that’s it for this book review. I hope you enjoyed it!
Have you read this book? Are there other similar books you’ve read that you simply have to gush about? Feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to start a conversation!
Have a great day!
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I do like first contact stories when done well. Good review, Jonny!
Thanks! Yeah, this book made me realize just how little scifi I’ve read. I don’t think I’ve read a first contact story in quite some time, but now I want more!