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I think New York was leaking.
\ It was past midnight and still a hundred degrees. Some kind of city sweat was oozing up through the sidewalk cracks, shimmering with oily rainbows in the streetlights. The garbage piled up outside the restaurants on Indian Row was seeping, leftover curry turning into slurry. The glistening plastic bags would smell jaw-droppingly foul the next morning, but as I walked past that night, they still gave off the perfumes of saffron and freshly thrown-out rice.
\ The people were sweating too-shiny-faced and frizzy-haired, like everyone had just stepped out of a shower. Eyes were glassy, and cell phones dangled limply on wrist straps, softly glowing, spitting occasional fragments of bubblegum songs.
\ I was on my way home from practicing with Zahler. It was way too hot to write anything new, so we'd riffed, plowing through the same four chords a thousand times. After an hour the riff had faded from my ears, like it does when you say the same word over and over till it turns meaningless. Finally, all I could hear was the squeak of Zahler's sweaty fingers on his strings and his amp hissing like a steam-pipe, another music squeezing up through ours.
\ We pretended we were a band warming up onstage, slowly revving the crowd into a frenzy before the lead singer jumps into the spotlights: the World's Longest Intro. But we didn't have a lead singer, so the riff just petered out into rivulets of sweat.
\ \ I sometimes feel it right before something big happens-when I'm about to break a guitar string, or get caught sneaking in, or when my parents are this close to having a monster fight.
\ So just before the TV fell, I looked up.
\ The woman was twenty-something, with fire-engine red hair and raccoon eyes, black makeup streaming down her cheeks. She pushed a television through her third-floor window, an old boxy one, its power cord flailing as it tumbled toward the sidewalk. The TV clipped a fire escape, the deep ringing sound swallowed seconds later by the crash on the pavement twenty feet ahead of me.
\ A spray of shattered glass skittered around my feet, glittering and sharp, tinkling like colliding chandeliers as shards rolled and skidded to a halt. Fragments of streetlight and sky reflected up from them, as if the television had split into a thousand tiny screens, all still working. My own eye stared back at me from a Manhattan-shaped sliver. Wide and awestruck, it blinked.
\ The next thing I did was look straight up. You know, in case everyone was throwing out TVs that night, and I should roll under a parked car. But it was just her-she was letting out long, wordless screams now and throwing out more stuff:
\ Pillows with tasseled edges. Dolls and desk lamps. Books fluttering like crash-landing birds. A jar full of pens and pencils. Two cheap wooden chairs, smashed first against the window frame so they'd fit through. A computer keyboard that sent up a splash of keys and tiny springs. Silverware glittering as it tumbled, ringing on the pavement like a triangle when dinner's ready . . . a whole apartment squeezed out one window. Somebody's life laid bare.
\ And all the while she was shrieking like a beast above us.
\ I looked around at the gathering crowd, most of them getting out late from Indian Row, addled by curry. The rapt expressions on their upturned faces made me jealous. The whole time Zahler and I had jammed, I'd been imagining an audience like this one: flabbergasted and electrified, yanked out of the everyday by their ears and eyeballs. And now this crazy woman, with her rock-star hair and makeup, had them mesmerized. Why bother with riffs and solos and lyrics when all the crowd wanted was an avalanche of screams and smashed Ikea furniture?
\ But once the shock wore off, their rapture faded into something uglier. Soon enough, people were laughing and pointing, a gang of boys shouting, "Jump, jump, jump!" in rhythm. A camera flash popped, catching a satanic flicker in the woman's eyes. A couple of faces glowed with blue cell-phone light-calling the police, or nearby friends to come and join in? I wondered.
\ One of the spectators slipped into the impact zone, running half-crouched to snatch a black dress from under a rain of computer cables and extension cords. She backed away, holding it up to her body as if she'd pulled it off a rack. Another ducked in to snag an armload of magazines.
\ "Hey!" I yelled. I was about to point out that this wasn't exactly Dumpster diving-the woman might want her stuff back after this psychotic meltdown was over-but then the CDs started flying. Glittering projectiles spattered on the street like plastic hail, each one impelled from the window by a shriek.
\ The looters retreated-the woman was aiming now, and the CDs were deadly. I mean, compact discs don't hurt much, but these were still in their cases, giving them extra weight and corners.
\ Then I saw it: the neck of an electric guitar emerging from the window, then the whole instrument-a mid-seventies Fender Stratocaster with gold pickups and whammy bar, a creamy yellow body with a white pick-guard.
\ I took a step forward, holding one hand up. "Wait!"
\ The madwoman glared down at me, mascara smeared across her face like black blood, clutching the Stratocaster to her chest. Her hands found the strings, as if she was about to play, and then she let out one last terrible howl.
\ "No!" I shouted.
\ She let the guitar drop.
\ It spun in the air, delicate tuning hardware glittering in the streetlights. I was already running, tripping on smashed plastic and tangled clothes, thinking that there were four hundred bones in my two hands, wondering how many of them that lacquered hardwood would break after a thirty-foot fall.
\ But I couldn't just let it smash. . . .
\ Then the miracle: the guitar snapped to a halt in midair. Its strap was caught on a corner of the fire escape, where it hung, spinning perilously.
\ I skidded to a halt, looking straight up.
\ "Over here!" someone shouted.
\ I glanced down for a split second: a girl my age, with short black hair and red-framed glasses, yanking something big and flat from under the clutter, sending silverware scattering in all directions.
\ "Watch out," I said, pointing up toward where the Strat was untangling itself. "It's about to fall."
\ "I know! Take the other side!"
\ I glanced back down at her, frowning. The girl was holding two corners of a blanket she'd rescued from the pile. She unfurled its plaid expanse toward me with a flick, as if we were making a bed. I grabbed for the other corners, finally understanding. \ We stepped back from each other, pulling the blanket taut, looking up again. Above us, the guitar spun faster and faster, like a kid unwinding on a swing set.
\ "Be careful," I said. "That's a nineteen seventy-three . . . Um, what I mean is, it's really valuable."
\ "With gold pickups?" she snorted. "Nineteen seventy-five, maybe."
\ I looked down at her.
\ "Incoming!" she yelled.
\ The guitar slipped free, still spinning, hardware glittering, strap flailing. It landed heavy as a dead body between us, almost jerking the blanket from my fists. Its momentum pulled us both forward a few skidding steps, suddenly face to face.
\ But there was no awful thud; the Stratocaster hadn't struck pavement.
\ "We saved it!" Her brown eyes were glowing.
\ I looked down at the guitar, safely swaddled in plaid. "Whoa. We did." \ Then the fire escape rang out again. Both of us flinched as we looked up. But it wasn't more stuff falling-it was a pair of human figures, six stories above, descending toward the crazy woman's window. They weren't climbing down the metal stairs, though-they were practically flying, swinging from handhold to handhold, graceful as headlight shadows slipping across a ceiling.
\ I watched them, awestruck, until the girl next to me shouted two terrifying words:
\ "Toaster oven!"
\ It was tumbling out the window directly over our heads, glass door hanging open, scattering crumbs. . . .
\ We bundled the Stratocaster into its blanket and ran.
Posted February 17, 2012
Most everyone calls The Last Days a sequel to Westerfeld's novel Peeps. I suppose that, loosely, this is true. For my part, I think of this novel as more of a companion to Peeps because the main characters are completely different (don't worry though, characters from Peeps do turn up), the structure of then novel is different, and because the only way to get the most out of either book is to read the two of them together, back-to-back. So, this is a sequel in the same way that The Two Towers was (trick statement! Tolkien meant the Lord of the Rings trilogy to be one book but it was too long and written before the days of ginormous novels).
Suffice it to say, The Last Days is a very different book from its predecessor despite continuing the same story. Most of these differences are structural. Westerfeld again employs first person narration, but this time he has five narrators. Each chapter is labeled with a character's name and told from his or her point of view. Writing a novel in this way is incredibly difficult because you have to take into account continuity while also making sure you don't get redundant and trying to make each character sound unique. Westerfeld does all of that. Perfectly.
In this novel, Westerfeld's narrators are in the interesting position that they know less than the readers (this is why reading Peeps first is so important). The whole vampire thing is an unknown for everyone. As is the issue of a pending apocalypse.
But that doesn't tell you much about the story.
It all starts with a girl who wants to make a band. Pearl sees the weird things going on in the city. The sanitation crisis. The increasing number of stray cats. Then there are the rats that are slowly taking over the subway system. And Brooklyn. Then there's Pearl's friend, Minerva, who's been acting pretty weird herself. Pearl decides that the best way to help her friend, and maybe get through the craziness, is to start a band.
Soon Pearl finds the perfect band members. And they're a great band. But strange things happen when Minerva starts to sing. Making everyone wonder if the band's music is the one thing that can stop the apocalypse. Or start it.
There are very few male writers who can convincingly narrate from a female point of view. Scott Westerfeld is one of the few. Instead of making the novel seem choppy, or the characters under-developed, Westerfeld's split narration makes every character much more dimensional.
The story is about vampires, of course. And music. But it's also about friendship and relationships. Westerfeld artfully describes the vicious cycle some friendships have when one friend is always taking whatever the other has to give. He also shows how, sometimes, you have to keep those friends even when it's the last thing you want to do.
Like Peeps, parts of this book are a little gross. Raw meat does turn up on several plates. Some narrators are more "unique" than others. But taken as a whole it all kind of works to make a really fun, really exciting book.
At its basic level this is a story about a band trying to make it big when everything else is falling apart. Along the path to fame, they just might save the world.
5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 12, 2012
I think if you read peeps and liked it you should read this. It ties up the story nicely in the end. I thought it was a great book, but my one complaint was that i expected more because i loved peeps so much. Dont get me wrong this book is a total page turner and is suspenseful read, but i was so impressed with peeps and it didnt quite live up to my extremely high standard for scott westerfeld. All of his books that ive read have been so good so i wanted more from th last days. I do think he had some very interesting twists and was very creative (like how all of the chapters are named after bands). Please though if you liked peeps this is a very good choice for you.
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
When I picked up this book and read the back it sounded like the lamest story ever. Then I read a couple chapters and got sucked into the story right away. I've never read Peeps but The Last Days was amazing!
Moz and Pearl are thrown together in a crazy event outside a music lover's apartment and, seeing the talent in eachother, decide to make a band. There's only one thought on their minds at first: get famous, but after bringing psycho, biting Minerva into the band as the lead singer fate takes a supernatural turn. Their band may be the only thing that can bring a happier ending to the end of the world.
If you like music and awesome sci-fi, then you've got to read this book!
1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 6, 2011
The book I am about to review is called The Last Days by Scott Westerfield. I thought this book was very good and entertaining.
My favorite character in this book was Moz. Moz is a boy who lives in New York and is in a band with four other people. Minerva, Pearl and Zahler are their names. Moz is my favorite character because he seems like an average teenager, he's very laid back. He was always trying to find people that would be good for his band when he and Zahler first started out. I liked him even more when Minerva passes a mysterious disease that is going around, to Moz. This turns Moz into a vampire. He is suddenly thirsty and hungry all the time. And not just for regular food. He becomes more rebellious and his personality gets a little darker. That's what I really liked about him.
I can relate to many of the characters in this book, but the one in particular is Zahler. He is always trying to find ways to get money. I like making a little cash here and there too. I can also relate to him because he always feels like the odd one out. Many times I feel like this too. Zahler never gets in trouble either.
My favorite part in the book was when almost everybody in the band goes to the record company. They all sit down and eventually get signed onto that label. The producer then gives them a mini concert to go to and perform at. One problem, the band doesn't have a name. So the producer leaves them alone to think about names. Still after 45 minutes they haven't picked a name. This was my favorite part because it shows just how much they procrastinate.
I would recommend this book to anyone. I think anyone could easily enjoy this book a lot. This book would be great for people who just need something to read. It would even be good for people who like to read mystery stories, anything about music and giant worms. This book is great.
I thought this book was very enjoyable and funny. In the future I will probably read it again. It was so good. My final opinion is that you should really get this book and read it because I guarantee you will like it as much as me!
1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 26, 2013
Recalled this one being a lot better than the first one. Something about a band I think. Been a while since I read them. Like the writing style for these books and well from the books I read so far by the author. Really good sequel.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 6, 2013
Posted July 15, 2011
I liked the first book a lot. This book, not so much! They said fawsome and fexellent so many times! I have noticed that a lot with this author. In the uglies series the word is bubbly. It gets really old really fast. I think I'm done with this author, two many strike outs for me. I really wanted to like it, it just annoyed me too much to spend my time on it.
0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 19, 2010
The Last Days is the sequel to Peeps. Is it as good as Peeps? Definitely. Scott Westerfeld is a great writer. He puts a little of everything into his books, without having too much of one thing. Perfect balance. The Last Days isn't just based around one character, but a band of five. Each chapter is from the view of one of the five band members. I loved all of them in a different way. Looked forward to reading Uglies by him next.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 24, 2010
This is the sequel to Peeps and it's a very good read. Even though Cal isn't the main character you still get to see some of him towards the end, which made me a lil happy :). This tells the story of a band, Moz the guitar player, Pearl the keyboard player/manager, Zahler the once guitar player now bass player, Minerva the lead singer, and Alana Ray the drummer who drums on paint buckets. Moz and Pearl meet one night when a crazy parasite positive woman is throwing all her stuff out of a window. Moz and Pearl notice her trying to throw a 1975 Strat guitar and together they both save it. Pearl quickly sees she can use him to make a band and together they add more members. Moz adds his best friend who he's been playing guitar with for six years, Zahler. Pearl adds her friend from childhood and former band mate Minerva who is parasite positve. Zahler finds Alana Ray and Moz pays her to play for them. Together they all make wonderful music and it isn't long til they are signed and Moz and Minerva get together. Long after making out with Minerva Moz becomes a parasite positve and learns of the real danger underground, a giant worm who has a taste for human flesh, the reason there are Peeps(parasite positves) to begin with. During their first gig a deadly worm sufaces, they learn all about what is happening in the world. They discover soon after that they can stop the worms with their music.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 9, 2010
I Also Recommend:
As this is the spin-off/sequel to one of my favorite books: Peeps, of course, I had to read it.
The downside: Cal is not the main character, rather he's a side character and hardly has any screen time (like a few chapters).
So the book pales a bit in comparison due to that, but it's still a good read. Especially if you wanted to know what happens after Peeps ended.
This is a wonderful series for anyone who's into science fiction or historical fiction books! The first book in the series stops you every other chapter to explain how the story relates to parasites in science, and the second book stops you about 4 or 5 times to explain how the story relates to history, thus teaching you a thing or two along the way. And somehow, it doesn't feel like a definite stop in the story, it just goes along with the character thought. I can't believe how much I love this series!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 22, 2009
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This is a fexcelent sequel to Peeps. At first I wasn't sure what to think (I mean, Cal isn't the main character anymore), but it really exceeded my expectations. The story is great and gives you a nice little closer to the story, though I am positive if Scott Westerfeld decided he wanted to continue with the story he could make it happen and it would be great! All in all, a must read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I have to admit, after finding out that the old cast of Peeps wouldnt be in the second book, I had my doubts. But I was happily surprised to find that the new set of characters were glued together with music (my soul mate!). So I jumped on the bandwagon and trucked through the story.
In the end, I was very happy with the outcome, and almost moved by the ending. I would suggest this book to Peep fans, Twilight fans, and anyone who would like to see vampires more believable!
Posted April 22, 2009
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I had read peeps and i luved it but sice the last days is not in Cal's perspective anymore i thought i would not like it but i luved it. Ok... so i didn't luv every part of it i just hated the fact that Moz doesn't like Pearl- instead he likes Minerva (she pretty much ruined him)and i mean i thought pearl and Moz were meant to be from the guitar encounter but no Minerva has to go and ruin it.. but i'm getting ahead of miself... i luved the plot and the fact that its about really cool/weird people. I liked how they keep their own ideals even when the world is falling apart- *SPOILER* The book teaches you alot like the line "We don't always choosewhat we love"- its so true! Oh and it was really cool that each chapter's name is a band- i downloaded some of them and garbage is good (ironic).Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 21, 2008
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This book was very very good. I did very much like this book. Then again i love anything this auther writes. The book was very intersting. The beggining is kinda boring (most of his books do start out boring) but then it got really....fawesome (if you read the book you will understand.) By the end of the book, you will be smiling and shaking your head thinking "Wow that was a great book"Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 2, 2008
Set against the apocalyptic foreground first seen in PEEPS, THE LAST DAYS is a sequel to the former, and definitely does not disappoint. <BR/><BR/>Scott Westerfeld is one of the most consistently solid young adult novelists today and his latest only keeps the bar high and the readers happy. The Texas native is widely known for his innovative interpretations of "fantasy-esque" worlds and is the highly acclaimed author of THE MIDNIGHTERS and UGLIES trilogies. <BR/><BR/>THE LAST DAYS is a story based in contemporary New York City with a splash of dystopia tasting. Westerfeld takes on the always fun topic of vampires, and, as seen in PEEPS, revamping the whole legend behind the blood-thirsty immortals into his own super interesting view, basing the theory around "vampireism" as a disease similar, if not identical, to the Black Plague that ravaged the globe centuries before. Westerfeld delves more into a biological explanation, which involves carriers, kissing and biting, and a whole lot of rats. <BR/><BR/>It's summer, and New York City is going crazy. The temperature is much more intense than usual, even for summer; the sanitation is no longer under control (rats!); people are disappearing, afraid to travel on the subways; and Moz and Zahler are a two-man, kind of half-band. But soon their luck will change when they meet Pearl, a Juilliard music student, and her newly turned carrier friend Minerva. The four of them, along with street drummer Alana Ray, whose mental condition allows her to view farther into the depths than is advisable, join together to write music so epic, even they do not understand the magnitude of what is going to happen. Things are changing faster than you think. <BR/><BR/>So sit back, relax, and get ready to read these five teenager's soundtrack to the end of the world. It's going to be a good one. Masterfully written, old Westerfeld fans as well as new ones are sure to be blown away by the sheer raw sonic power of THE LAST DAYS.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 6, 2008
Posted June 29, 2008
after reading the first book called Peeps we get 5 point of views in the sequel. don't worry cal and lacey are in this too but later on in the book. you have a group of very different people who form a band while dealing with the known disease that turns you into a peep. i think my fave characters would have to be zahler and alana ray. that was cool to name each chapter after a band name like new order, garbage and the cure. at times it did feel a little rush like the ending but it was still an alright read.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 9, 2008
ok so like the firs one was a lot better at the end of this one i felt like it was rushed. i was really happy to get this book but i found it stupid i read it in one day so like it was an easy read but i just didn't really like reading it u could read a much better books then this one.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 17, 2008