Excellent Novella for Malcolm Goode | Review of ‘Last Defense’ (Lorien Legacies: The Lost Files #14)

By Cynthia Ayala

Last Defense by Pittacus Lore
Image Credit: Goodreads

“When the Garde split up, heading off to New York City and Mexico, Malcolm decided to stay behind in Ashwood Estates, the Mog’s formerly hidden base located near Washington DC. He wanted to search the facility for anything that might help John Smith and the others stop the alien invasion. However, once the spaceships descended, that plan went up in smoke. Before he gets a chance to come up with a plan B, armed soldiers storm the base. As one of the few humans who knows anything about Loric and their war with the Mogadorians, Malcolm is an invaluable asset—and they have been tasked with safely escorting him to the president’s secret bunker. With Mogs hot on their trail, though, it will be easier said than done. Luckily, Malcolm has some backup in the form of a Chimæra. However, even if he makes it to his destination, will Malcolm be able to help what’s left of the government find a way to defeat the Mogs? Or will he be too late?”—Goodreads

Published February 23, 2016, by HarperCollins, Last Defense by Pittacus Lore is the fourteenth novella that explores Malcolm Goode and his influence in the war.

Last Defense is an excellent novel that follows one of the more minor characters, Sam’s dad, Malcolm Goode, who is still recovering from his torture under the Mogadorians. However, he is still the smartest human who has experience with these aliens, both Lorien’s and Mogadorians and knows what’s at stake if the wrong side wins.

Malcolm is such an underrated character. For most of the series, he is missing, presumed dead, But now, he get’s his own tale. Taking place during the Fate of Ten, Malcolm is once again separated from his son who has gone away once again to save the day with John Smith, leaving him alone in Mogadorian suburbia Ashwood, to filter through information to help win the war.

It is an understatement to say that this leaves Malcolm feeling like a lost cause. There are blanks in his memory, and his son is off I the line of danger, making his feel like the weakest father imaginable. Except he is not. Malcolm finds the strength in this mini-journey that has him pulled towards the inner circle of the president of the United States. This mini-journey gives more insight into the behind the scenes, how the world is moving outside of the Garde and their fight. However, even more, there’s more to Malcolm. There’s a strength to the character that has never been explored before or seen, before or after this novella. That is not to say that his strength is never remarked upon, it just always gets pushed to the sidelines. He is the scientist; he is the man they go to when they need information, not action. So, for him to get his own action story allows him to shine ins a different way than before. It also allows for growth in his character, making him relatable.

Much of the story is filtered through his mind. Not much dialogue, but enough narrative to explore who he is as a character. He remembers his torture, and he rises beyond it without forgetting it. Moreover, for half the story, on a small level, he thinks it makes him weak, but he is so wrong, and he realizes it. His torture gives him first-hand knowledge of what the Mogadorians are capable of and knows that surrender is not an option. So he challenges those above him, he raises his voice and channels his son’s courage and finds the strength he thought he lost.

Malcolm is so much more than just a scientist, he is as much a fighter as his son, and it is good to see that, finally. As a story, it does not offer much. It just gives the overall plot a wider berth to grow. (★★★★☆ | B)

Product Details;

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2016

Page count: 120pp

Age Range: 14 & Over

ISBN: 978-0-0623-8769-1

Publisher: HarperCollins

List Price:  $3.99

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