The Last Town
By Blake Crouch
I will spoil without warning, so let this serve as … a warning.
I went off on a Blake Crouch binge last year, bought all the Wayward Pines books (Pines, Wayward, now the Last Town), the standalone Dark Matter, and Abandoned. I guess he hit a nerve.
The third book was not the strongest of the three in terms of story. It doesn’t really stand alone. I guess if you are going to have a trilogy then your true fans will buy the third book, so that’s your audience. There were several threads to tie off. Will the bad guy get his comeuppance? Will our hero choose his wife or his former lover? Will our hero’s wife choose him or the other guy? Will all parties accept those decisions? Will the town survive the imminent attack of abominations from the earlier books? How will humanity survive long term if we know that their genetic evolution/drift will eventually lead to abominations no matter what?
The attack of swarms of monsters was pretty good. I totally believed the danger. Lots of blood. Lots of heroism and some cleverness. The bad guy gets what he deserves. Good guys win.
The love stories were not satisfying. There was a lot of tension about the wife’s lover returning from the dangerous world outside of town. When he was in the wild, the only thing that kept him going was knowing she’d be waiting for him. Then, when the two men confront each other, the battle is resolved a little too quickly. The lover gives up quickly, and even hooks up with the hero’s ex-lover. Tied that thread up really conveniently.
The ending was a surprise. They knew that living in that valley would mean they’d eventually die. Not enough resources to last generations. Blake hinted that they’d go south, where they’d be able to farm enough to survive. But the genetics that turned the world into a haven for post-human monsters still wasn’t solved. So what do they do? They go back into hibernation again. Hope that the future will solve their problems. I didn’t see the future thing coming, and was pleasantly surprised. I wasn’t exactly satisfied that it would solve anything, but I believed that they would do it.
Overall, a conclusion to the trilogy that was good, but not perfect.