Aug 24, 2006

Review of The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld

Westerfeld, Scott. The Last Days. Razorbill, 2006 (Sept. 9)

Aimed at the YA crowd but can be enjoyed by everyone.

Strange things are happening in New York City. Stranger than usual, that is. In fact it is down right scary in a paranormal kind of way. Black liquid spurts out of fire hydrants; rats, more numerous than ever, are roving the streets; and people suddenly go crazy, like the woman who throws all of her belongings out her sixth floor apartment window all the while screaming about who knows what. One about-to-be-discarded object catches the attention of two teen onlookers. The crazy lady waves a mid-seventies Fender Stratocaster with gold pickups and whammy bar. Pearl and Moz, strangers until this moment, work together to catch this valuable guitar before it crashes to the pavement. A quick glance above and both glimpse human figures moving swiftly towards the crazy woman's window. Neither comments aloud on this phenomenon. Instead they excitedly talk about their passion for music and the possibility of forming a band.

Pearl is a super smart multi-talented gal who thinks Moz is really cute. She and Moz and his friend Zahler meet for practice sessions, and quickly realize they need a drummer and a singer to make their band complete. Street wise Alana Ray agrees to play percussion. She has the ability to see music with color and movement and is especially sensitive to these visions when Pearl brings in her friend Minerva to sing. A few months earlier Minerva suffered a mysterious breakdown. She now stays most of the time in her room, fights to contain the beast she feels inside her, and writes pages full of weird symbols that only she understands. At the first rehearsal, when all five gather to play, Minerva singing blends with the music and evokes wonder and fear.

As the story progresses the musical talent of these teens and the vampire powers of Minerva become paramount in fighting monsters that live far below ground and only surface every seven hundred years. The Last Days is a sequel to Peeps (pub, year) where the story of the vampires aka Peeps begins. Westerfeld's powers of description brings characters to life and immerse the reader into the world his vivid imagination has created.

Sequel to Peeps. Razorbill, 2005

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