... a heroine as flawed as her dystopian society, though the Outpost and its environs remain roughly sketched while the focus on Poe’s personality and growth evolves and deepens. Condie’s supporting cast mostly functions to throw Poe’s misconceptions into sharp relief, but there are also plenty of twists that constantly realign the characters and their motivations ... An immersive novel that owes as much to 20th-century sci-fi as it does to recent YA, The Last Voyage of Poe Blythe is a mature yet accessible standalone for dystopia-loving readers.
For the most part, the action sequences are secondary in this intensely character-driven novel, which digs a human heart out of an apocalyptic wasteland. A precise, introspective story about the trajectory of grief.
The initially slow plot picks up steam when the Lily embarks, and per requisite dystopian story arc, relentless, rigid, and righteous Poe discovers dark secrets about the Outpost, sympathizes with the rebellious raiders (or drifters as they prefer to be known), and reconsiders romance. Race is barely noted—17-year-old Poe has 'sun-black hair' (and few other physical descriptors), while Call, Brig, and the Outpost’s leaders appear to be white. A callout to the Matched series should satisfy loyal readers while the constant twists and a cliffhanger ending will encourage new audiences to anticipate possible sequels ... A swashbuckling steampunk mashup of Mark Twain and Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines Quartet.
Defiant and determined, Poe is reminiscent of other well-known dystopian heroines, but her introspection, ingenuity, and insight will endear her to readers. The plot moves across a well-thought-out dystopian backdrop, offering enough surprises to both intrigue and excite. Fans of Condie’s Matched should find this a welcome and satisfying return to the author’s YA roots.