ARC Review: THE LAST WHALE by Chris Vick

I received an ARC from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Title in white on blue with a blue whale
Genre: Contemporary climate fiction
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: standalone

Blurb:

Book cover for THE LAST WHALE: title white on blue with graphic of whale and boat

Summer, the Present: Fiery and fierce, computer geek and eco-activist, Abby is holidaying with her grandmother on an island off the Norwegian coast. Having developed and befriended an AI computer, Moonlight, she hopes to organise a global protest. On the island, she learns her great grandfather rejected the family’s whaling livelihood, instead creating the first whale song recording. Inspired by him, Abby and Moonlight translate the whales’ songs and discover their stories. Whales are under threat, their numbers rapidly dwindling. Abi is determined to help.

Autumn, 30 years later: The world’s ecosystems are collapsing. There is no sight or sound of whales. Abi, hermdaughter, Tonje, and a now almost conscious Moonlight live on a isolated island in the Atlantic. They search for any sign of whales, but so far there is only silence.

Winter, the future: Tonje’s search was not in vain. Despite climate crisis and the threat of extinction, there is always hope for the future, as nature and technology combine. 

Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

THE LAST WHALE is a tale of the interconnected nature of the world, how creatures we often don’t think about as being crucial have a major role in keeping the earth balanced, the consequences of not caring for the environment, and also the hope of change.

The book is mostly told from Abi’s perspective as she learns about the whales and tries to do something about raising awareness – along with an AI she’s absconded with. She is the most “relatable” of the three, as she’s got the life closest to a reader, with a lot of teen rebellion and desperation. Plus it’s set more or less in our timeframe, which made it feel the most pressing and immediate. The “do something now or else” (the “else” being the later POVs and the nightmarish world they live in.)

Tonje then narrates next. She’s also relatable but her situation is different and requires a much more obvious form of courage (I wouldn’t do what she does!) The world is pretty bleak then, pretty much all hope lost save for Tonje (and her mother, Abi.) By contrast, there’s only a single chapter from the final generation, which takes the hope of Tonje’s section to make the book feel less depressing (I always think a book with warnings about the future, telling us to act now, work so much better when we can see hope – and Chris Vick does that well here.)

This is also a story about family and legacy, both the good and the bad we can pass down. While there are three generations who narrate, the book actually involves characters from six generations, and seeing the world change and values change but also that link of family impacting one another was really interesting.


Read my reviews of other books by Chris Vick:

Standalones:

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