The Last Star: The 5th Wave, Book 3

Book review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
The Last Star: The 5th Wave, Book 3 Book Poster Image
Intense finale to alien-invasion saga is violent, upsetting.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 8 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The Last Star is a grim account of what can happen to humanity after apocalyptic events. Readers will learn how survivors have to make unthinkable choices and sacrifices to go on another day. They will also learn that humanity's greatest weaknesses are also its greatest strengths: love, trust, friendship.

Positive Messages

The biggest message is that humanity hinges on believing that every person matters and that love is what makes life worth living (and is therefore worth any sacrifice). The romances also stress how, even in times of tragedy, it's the unpredictable miracle of love that will get you through and keep you tied to others.

Positive Role Models & Representations

All the main characters show an amazing amount of courage and adaptability. They have to make tough decisions, battle odds that seem insurmountable, and pledge themselves to help and protect one another when no one else will. They stay remarkably committed to protecting others, even when it's not in their best interest. They go to great lengths to keep promises to one another and to still feel human through laughter and love when there's so much tragedy around them.


High body count, including some deaths that will be particularly disturbing to readers. The characters who survive do so after facing near-death time and time again and overcoming ridiculous odds. People are killed in all sort of manners -- from gunshot wounds but also close hand-to-hand combat, such as breaking necks. Even very young characters know how to use weapons and shoot to kill.


A pregnancy results from a single sexual experience. A couple makes out in bed, and the scene leads to nudity, but the language is vague about whether they go all the way; it's up to the reader to decide. There are other passionate kisses and recollections of a love scene from a previous book.


The teens and even younger kids in the book tend to curse without constraint. The characters say "s--t," "a--hole," "f--k," "pussies," "dick," "bitch," fairly often but not frequently.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Last Star is the third and final installment in the 5th Wave sci-fi trilogy by bestselling author Rick Yancey. The series led to the 2016 film adaptation starring Chloe Moretz and Liev Schreiber. As in the previous books, the series ender has a lot of violence, a high body count, and some upsetting deaths, including execution-style murders. The story answers questions posed throughout the trilogy and puts every character in danger. The romance includes some passionate making out and one ambiguous love scene. These teens curse and deal with everything from jealousy and anger to lust and fear on a regular basis.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byLacy E. December 27, 2016

Great book for teenagers

It's extremely engaging and interesting to read. All violence and sexual material is essential to the plot. The sexual material is very minimal and I found... Continue reading
Adult Written byElarinya L. August 28, 2016

Lots of violence but a positive overall message

I found the last novel a bit disappointing personally because I saw the ending coming back in book two, however I think that teenagers will find it far more int... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bycamdenmay June 10, 2016

not as good as the first two

i loved the first two books a lot, but this book just wasn't great. it didn't really grab my attention like the first two books did. the only reason w... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bysassycrow July 4, 2021

Great Book

Aside from the epic plot of this book, the author used themes and motifs throughout the book that added to story and made me shout with joy. If you like books w... Continue reading

What's the story?

THE LAST STAR continues where The Infinite Sea left off, with Ringer, now with enhanced capabilities, trying to run away from Col. Vosch, while Ben, Cassie, Sam, and Evan try to figure out how to stay alive -- and stop the fifth wave from finishing off what's left of humankind. Vosch lets Ringer go with an "Other" chaperone and a command to kill Evan Walker in exchange for her "freedom" (and that of Ben and the rest of the remaining crew). After Vosch reveals a devastating secret about the origins of the sleeper Silencers, Ringer meets back up with what remains of her old company. As Ringer decides whether she can kill Evan, who has so openly shown his ability to rebel against his programming by falling in love, Cassie decides she will once again step up to protect her little brother, her love, and what's left of humanity.

Is it any good?

Compelling but at times unnecessarily convoluted, this final installment will keep you reading but will occasionally distress more than it satisfies. Cassie, in particular, is especially infuriating through most of it. Three books in, and Cassie is still immaturely obsessed with whether her feelings for Evan are love, despite how obvious it might seem to every human and nonhuman alike. Realistic for a teen character but frustrating for a reader, Cassie's behavior is the most confused it has ever been, inconsistent and almost regressive for most of the story. Meanwhile, Evan is ever steadfast in his love for "Mayfly," his desire to make amends for his past as a Silencer, and his commitment to do anything and everything possible to protect not only Cassie and Sam but everyone. 

Author Yancey sets up both couples -- Evan and Cassie and Zombie and Ringer -- as mirrors and foils. Each romance has a brave, impetuous teen fighting unimaginable odds. Ringer is fascinatingly cool and calm, even dealing with personal crises and changes of heart. She's all things Cassie isn't, and yet they must work together to rescue the men -- and the world -- they love. Unfortunately, some of the plot developments are underwhelming and anticlimactic. After years of readers waiting for the unveiling of the aliens, the resolution is disappointing. Despite the missteps, readers will zip through this final book and want to know what happens. Ultimately, courage and love reign supreme in this story, regardless of the sadness and grief everyone experiences.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why alien-invasion stories are so popular. How can these stories teach us about humanity and survival?

  • Discuss the violence in the book. Is it necessary to the story? 

  • What is the book's message about love? Why is love central to the human experience?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science fiction and fantasy

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