Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Last Days - Scott Westerfeld

Genre : Young Adults - Fantasy

American publisher : Razorbill : 8,99$

English publisher : ATOM : 5,99£

Synopsis : Moz meets Pearl while trying to save a Fender Stratocaster guitar from the fall from a building. A mad woman is throwing her stuff by the window. From there a rock band is born. Moz has been playing guitar for years with his best friend, Zahler. The three of them begin to compose, then comes Alana Ray who plaus drums on paint buckets, and Minerva, who's recovering from a long disease. She sings the texts she writes in a strange language. Together, they manage to create an absolute osmose in a particular atmosphere. Minerva's texts have a big part in that. Their band will be the New Sound, the real new sound. But while they're all thinking about playing and becoming famous, the world around them is changing, is falling in ruins, populated with vampires, rats and cats. The end of the world is near, the big struggle has begun.

An extract :
"Suddenly the music had focus, a beating heart. She wrapped the rest of us around herself, piercing my gradual shadows with a single ray of light. I smiled, having a rare moment of absolute comfort in my own skin, every comulsion satisfied, the clockwork of the whole world clicking into place around my drumming. Even if they were young and flawed, these four had something. Maybe a happy accident was happening here, like the first time I'd ever noticed the echoes from the street matching my footsteps... Then the strangeness began, something I hadn't seen since I was little. The air started to glitter wildly, my eyelids fluttering. This was more than ripples of heat from summer asphalt, or the shimmers I saw when someone was angry at me."

What I think : The Last Days is the sequel to Peeps, and I must admit that I really prefered this second volume, where we don't find every 10 pages a course on the life and customs of parasites. So it was more agreeable to read, all in music. Indeed, here the main theme is music, by the way all the chapter titles are in fact band names : The Cure, New Order, Garbage, Massive Attack, and many others, more or less famous, and the author gives us a small review on each of them in the end of the book. (I'm curious about the french translation here, I'll do some research I think).
I discover about the titles only when I reached the end, and really I had no idea, it didn't occur to me one single time that they were band names, the worst is that I know some of these bands;o) But it gives you a good idea about how the titles really are representative of the content.
So I was saying, music as a main theme, but we don"t forget the vampires. In first volume, we knew from the beginning what we were facing, because Cal, the narrator knew. Here, the narrators (I'll come back on this point) absolutely don't know anything about what's really going on. We assist to their realization of the problem.
As I was saying, there are several narrators : 5. The members of the band : Moz, Pearl, Zahler, Minerva and Alana Ray. And I really liked the structure of the book. The only thing that I would reproach to SW is to use the same style for the 5 narrators, especially in the first chapters, so I got a little lost in the beginning.
I think he was great on this, because he managed to write in different voices : male / female, 'normal' / 'paranormal'. But also, there is an change of point of view with each chapter, but not on the same event. How could I say that? It's not like one event is told by everyone in turn, it's a continuity, and it's great.
For those who don't want to read the first book, Peeps (I can understand), I think you can read this one all the same. You lose somthing here, but you can still follow the story without problem.

1 comment:

Reader Rabbit said...

Great Review ;)

I really liked this book!

Peeps was great as well.