Sad, but engaging with a hopeful ending

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I have to admit, I didn’t really expect to like this book. A big theme is healing and grief, and regardless of who was to blame (no spoilers), she lost the person she loved the most. That loaa really permeates the book, and since I am not really a fan of depressing novels, I thought I would hate The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe. But somehow, Condie really makes the focus about change, healing, and hope, rather than dragging us down into grief. Not to say this isn’t a serious book with serious, sad moments. But a more hopeful point comes across: that people can change, that change is what allows us to survive, and that living to fulfill our own dreams is the best way to honor our deceased loved ones.

Obviously, if you are looking for a light-hearted, fluffy novel, this is not for you. However, I did find Poe to be a pretty likable heroine. If she is not optimistic, she is at least a fighter. Even in her darkest moments, she doesn’t give up. She wants to live, despite her loss, and she fights for her life.

Another message that I really appreciated was the commitment to fixing what you had. In this story, the villains are chasing something new and better. Poe is committed to what she has, even when fulfilling her duty is hard. That commitment and responsibility make her a hero, despite her initial focus on revenge (which is obviously kind of questionable).

I did really like the dystopian world. A lot of the book is set on the ship, and Condie describes it in a way that makes you feel like you are there. Honestly, I finished the book feeling almost as attached to the ship as Poe was….she really loved that boat.

Following Good: There was no language or sexual content. However, Poe is an atheist who believes that when people die, they are just gone. She does seem to believe in a soul, however…(see the last quote I chose), which I find kind of contradictory. Anyway, I think The Last Voyage was pretty clean overall, but with a definitely secular worldview portrayed.

Rating: I am giving The Last Voyage three stars. I was close to giving four, but it was just a bit too sad for my taste. Like I said, I am surprised I liked it at all! There is definitely hope at the end, but she hadn’t actually learned to love someone else. Ok, let’s be honest. I really wanted her in a relationship by the end, and that was not the focus. It was more like, maybe she will in the future. Obviously, a new relationship is not necessary for healing, but for me, it would have been a tangible step in moving forward for Poe, so I was hoping for it. Still, I would recommend for lovers of dystopian novels, or someone looking for interesting books about loss and grief.