The Last Universe Review

The Last Universe

Sleator is at his sci-fi best with this quantum thriller, now available in paperback

In this gothic, sci-fi thriller from a master storyteller, Susan and her wheelchair-bound brother, Gary, discover a mysterious maze in the vast gardens of their isolated home. Planted by a scientist uncle who disappeared long ago, the maze offers seemingly endless routes and choices. The teenagers discover that each turn they take alters their world in some way. Sickly Gary sees a chance to change his fate; Susan sees that they may both be lost forever. Sleator keeps readers guessing right up to the shocking ending.


I wasn’t sure how I was going to like this book. A. I bought this book relatively cheap from a place I normally don’t peruse for excellent pieces of literature. B. The blurb I saw on the back of the book looked Greek to me as I stood in the middle of the store, so I honestly had no idea what I was getting into. C. The opening page had text talk in it.

Despite the brief (and utterly horrid) moment of reading a few lines in text talk, I was quickly transported into a book I could not tear my eyes away from. The plot wasn’t the greatest, or one where I felt like I needed something to be fixed–at least not for the first half of the book. However, Sleator somehow threw it all together with some sort of magic that kept me hooked. I’ve never studied quantum physics. I will admit that I almost got a headache a few times over all the swirling and sickening information and how it tied to the plot, but it was a good kind of headache and I much enjoyed it. I rarely come across a book that makes me think.

Plot: 4 out of 5


I honestly had a love/hate relationship here. I thought I was going to love Susan at first. Then she went on to appear relatively usual for a female protagonist. And that’s fine, and was nothing bad. Gary was confusing, but so was the quantum physics and he seemed to be close to that. I really liked Lisa, though. Mostly because she reminded me of my sister some. . .before things in the story changed.

Once again, the quantum physics confused me. How it affected the characters confused me the worst. I thought it all was quite interesting except when my characters were touched. But it got my emotions stirred, so good going, Sleator. Good going.

Characters: 2 out of 5

Writing Style/Setting:

The writing style wasn’t the best I’ve seen. I rather knew it was coming when I was met up front with text talk. But it continued to be put before my face as the characters would often repeat themselves. Namely, Susan would tell me something in her point of view, then turn around and repeat it to another character on our imaginary screen. That irritated me, but I can be picky.

As for the setting? It was pretty good. I’m honestly shocked I didn’t abhor it, considering they only left the house/garden twice to visit the doctor and for Gary to get a blood transfusion. We only saw a small section of the Garden, but I could picture it perfectly. While I don’t fully understand how the quantum whatever started affecting the garden (although I probably just missed that due to the fact that I was a little sleepy while reading part of it), it was pretty good, and I adored the Cambodian legend thrown in. I’ll be pretty disappointed if I find out that was made up.

Writing Style/Setting: 3 out of 5

I was greatly impressed with this book. Especially considering that I had serious doubts upon buying it. And the ending! Oh, I know that some people will probably be looking at me like I’m a crazy, deranged person, but I loved the ending. It made me thrilled because I’d come up with that scenario, but didn’t really think the author would do it. Kudos, Sleator!

Overall: 4 out of 5. I loved this book. I’ll say 12+ as I don’t recall anything questionable, but the quantum physic stuff might make someone who is younger’s head spin. Or they just won’t get it, and that’s a big part of the book. Interested? You can find it at Amazon.

I purchased this book on my own and reviewed it from there.


    1. // Reply

      Same here! I was pretty worried upon reading that first page. But it was being sold for a dollar, so I couldn’t pass it up.

    1. // Reply

      Oh, I loathe it too. At least there wasn’t too much. It just gave me a bad impression on page one.

    1. // Reply

      I’m the same. It confuddles my poor brain. But there wasn’t too much of it to deal with.

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