Book Review: The Last Astronaut by David Wellington (eARC)

The Last Astronaut

Author: David Wellington

Publication Date: 23 July 2019

Genre: Adult Fiction – Sci-Fi

Pages: 400

Publisher: Orbit Books

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.

She’s wrong.

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.

Sally Jansen, NASA’s top astronaut, was the Mission Commander for space mission Orbit 6, which was going to make her one of the first humans to walk on Mars. Her dreams come crashing down when the mission results in the death of one of her colleagues/direct reports. While no one directly blamed Jansen, she left NASA anyways.

Fast forward a couple of decades, and Dr. Sunny Stevens of KSpace approaches NASA with sensitive data that suggests the discovery of an alien spaceship not too far outside of Earth’s orbit. Since the catastrophic mission of Orbit 6, astronauts are in short supply at NASA because the training programs were scrubbed. With only a four month deadline, NASA rehires Sally as MC to lead the mission to investigate the alien spaceship.

I had really high hopes for this book based off of the premise, but this one definitely fell short of my expectations. I wanted an awesome alien invasion, and I just wanted to love this book. But I didn’t. It was middle of the road.

The pacing of the plot was off. There were moments that the plot was a painful slow burn that consisted of dialogue between the astronauts while waiting for something to happen then thrown into very tense scenes where we were introduced to the creepy space ship.

I wasn’t able to connect with any of the characters in the book, and their character arcs were underdeveloped. We didn’t see any sort of character development over time. What you say at first was pretty much what you got.

I don’t mean for this review to sound overly cynical, I just wanted this book to be more than what it was. It had the potential to be great, but it just wasn’t.

Thank you to Orbit Books and NetGalley for providing an eARC. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.

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