Cover Image: The Last Laugh

The Last Laugh

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Thank you so much @NetGalley and @katherinetegenbooks for gifting me a copy of The Last Laugh in exchange for an honest review. 

💵 Mini Review 🦧
I was sooo excited to be approved for The Last Laugh by Mindy McGinnis. I absolutely loved The Initial Insult last year and couldn’t wait to find out what happened to everyone. I’m honestly not sure which book I liked better!

If you haven’t read The Initial Insult I wouldn’t read pass this 🤷🏻‍♀️ but I totally recommend both of these books! Especially if you are a fan of Poe’s works. The first book is a modern retelling of The Cask of Amontillado, which I love, but there are also bit and pieces of other stories in it as well. The same goes for The Last Laugh. There were a good amount of references that made my day when I read them!

We pretty much start where we left off. Felicity is still dead, the cat is on the loose, and everything seems to be going wrong. Tress is also still dealing with an infected arm that is duct taped together. She is loosing a lot of blood which is making her feel like she is slowly going mad. She can hear this heartbeat that is coming from the best friend necklace that was connected to Felicity. 

Ribbit is still dealing with going viral after the party and having to hold up his end of a bargain that was made years and years ago. It seems like no one is safe in the town of Amontillado, which is no surprise 🤣

If you loved The Initial Insult I think you will love this one just as much, if not more. i gave it ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Was this review helpful?
Compelling conclusion to a YA duology that deftly channels Poe into a modern small town. Tress left her former best friend Felicity to die after she failed to reveal the destiny of Tress' parents. But now Tress is likely to die from the infected swipe on her arm made by her grandfather's panther that she can't corral. She is also going insane, as she continues to hear Felicity's heartbeat where ever she goes. She will receive no help from her cousin Ribbit Usher, who seems to be going mad himself after he is humiliated in a viral video. Tress tries to avoid Hugh, Felicity's boyfriend, but he may have the answers to long buried secrets that could change her destiny. A modern gothic that will inspire readers to turn to the original master.
Was this review helpful?
Unfortunately I could not listen to the book because it was a computerized voice galley and it was just too weird for me to listen to. I'm still very excited and anxious to listen or read this title but I will likely not listen to a voice galley audiobook again.
Was this review helpful?
This was an audiogalley so the voice was computer generated and I cannot comment on the final narration. I will say that the generated voice did not help distinguish the characters. 

I really should have read book #1 first because I was thoroughly lost for the first 9 chapters or so. I don't know if it would have been less confusing had I been reading it instead of hearing it.

Once I finally figure out what was happening and who the characters were, the book was quite enjoyable. Even though I know how this story ends I would like to go back and read books 1 & 2 again to see if I can catch more nuances of the story.
Was this review helpful?
This was a twisted homage to some of Edgar Allan Poe works including The Tell- Tale Heart, The Raven and The Fall Of The House of Usher. It was fun catching the many references in the book. I enjoyed this grim and dark conclusion. The characters were all unreliable and disturbed and the storyline was a wild, horrifying ride. If you’re looking for a gothic horror story, this is the book for you!

Thank you to NetGallery and to Harper  Audio for giving me a copy for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to NetGalley for my ARC. This conclusion to the duology was absolutely wild! I know that McGinnis books are always filled with creative twists and turns, but I never see them coming! This Edgar Allen Poe retelling (more like reimagined) is fascinating! I’m not quite sure what else to write without spoiling book 1 or 2, but I will follow McGinnis anywhere she takes me because each book they write is so smart!
Was this review helpful?
The first book The Initial Insult left me feeling blah.  I was not sure I wanted to read the second book The Last Laugh.  I am glad I did.  I enjoyed the second book so much more.  The characters developed in this second book and their secrets just poured out.  Each character was hateable and loveable at the same time. Spoiler Alert~ It reminded me of  a tougher and gritter version of The Inheritance Game and I loved it.
Was this review helpful?
Holy shit. 
Am I allowed to swear in NetGalley reviews? Because I physically have to, the phrase 'holy shit' is the only one that sums up my reaction to this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series, A re-telling of some classic Edgar Allen Poe stories, Mindy McGinnis manages to create a world all her own while still hitting the tell-tale heart (couldn't resist) of Poe's horror. I found myself pausing and staring into space listening to this audiobook just enthralled trying to figure out where the story was going. Dynamic characters, plot twists and some truly disturbing imagery I LOVED this conclusion to the duology.
Was this review helpful?
I usually love Mindy McGinnis. The dark and twisty tone us always exciting regardless if how she lay the plot. Unfortunately this audio book is not going in my favor. I can’t seem to focus with the voice. I won’t be able to finished it but I definitely will start the ebook instead.
Was this review helpful?
Wow! I didn't think it was possible, but this sequel was even more dark than the first one. I'm not extremely well versed in Poe's works, but I knew enough to recognize the stories that were present in the book. I really enjoyed that aspect of both books in the series. Even the animal POV  was well executed and never felt weird. It made me laugh out loud and even shed a tear at times for how much I hurt for Tress. I LOVE Mindy McGinnis
Was this review helpful?
I thought book 1, The Initial Insult, was messed up. The sequel is mind blowing. Could not put it down. Satisfying ending.
Was this review helpful?
Fantastic conclusion to the duology. If you haven't read The Initial Insult, this review might spoil some things that happen in that book. However, it ended on a huge cliffhanger, so there isn't a whole lot to spoil, but you will definitely want to read that book before reading this one or you will be completely lost.

These books are an homage to Edgar Allan Poe's stories. Whereas the first book was all about The Cask of Amontillado and The Black Cat with a few hints to The Masque of Red Death , this one has shades of The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, The Fall of the House of Usher, and probably many others that I'm not as familiar with. There is homage paid in the names of the characters: Annabelle, Lee, Lucille, and even William Wilson. I found these references to be intriguing and fun to uncover.

This novel takes place immediately after the events that end The Initial Insult. The entire town is looking for the missing Felicity Turnado. Tress knows where she is but she isn't telling. Tress was severely injured by the panther, but can't go to the hospital because that will mean revealing that the panther escaped. Ribbit Usher, who was the brunt of ridicule in the viral video from the party, knows that his cousin Tress is about to turn 18 and knows that if he lets that happen what it will mean for his family. What happens next is a wild and crazy ride, and many won't make it out alive.

I loved how the author tied the threads together, how everything is answered about the past and the present and how they connect. When I say above that it's a wild and crazy ride, I mean that in the best, but the wildest possible way. This is a fast-paced book with surprises around every turn. I can't say more without spoiling things, so suffice it to say if you like YA, retellings, Poe, mysteries, secrets, and everything in between, then definitely pick up this incredibly well-written tale.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Netgalley and Harper Audio for the synthetic voice audio ARC of this. 

I have been eagerly awaiting this sequel ever since setting down The Initial Insult. I’ve loved all of McGinnis’ books so far and I have a special place in my heart for retellings. It’s been a long time since I read Poe so I had fun trying to catch all of the many references to his works. There were quite a few twists and turns, some that seemed predictable to me and some that were shocking, but all of which kept my interest high as I kept reading. Getting to see Kermit/Ribbit more clearly from his perspective in this one added a lot to the story. Definitely recommend this if you enjoyed the first one, love gritty retellings, or if you just love McGinnis’ work because it doesn’t disappoint!
Was this review helpful?
I typically enjoy Mindy McGinnis and audiobooks. She is an author I keep on my radar for when new books are released, but I couldn't listen to this one and didn't finish the book (yet). I think it's because the cadence of the audio was weird. I'll have to get a copy of the book to read because the advanced listener copy just didn't work for me.
Was this review helpful?
This was a really solid duology conclusion. It didn't quite hit 4.5 stars like the first book, but it was close! I think the thing I liked the most about the first book was the urgency of the present story of Tress and Felicity in the basement. The urgency of the panther on the loose and the urgency of Tress wanting so badly to find out what happened to her parents. This all took place in one night.
The second book takes place over a much longer period of time, and even though the urgency of finding Felicity and Tress literally dying from the panther attacking her are there, it doesn't feel AS urgent as the first one. In the first book, we had 3 POVs: Tress, Felicity and Cat (aka the panther). In this one we get Tress, her cousin Ribbit and Rue (the orangutan). In the first book, the Cat POV didn't make a ton of sense, and in this one, Rue's POV doesn't make hardly any sense. She speaks in broken and/or one word sentences, so you really have to pay attention to try to figure out what she's saying. Which was hard with a synthetic narrator, but I think will be much easier to follow in the final audiobook version. 
The whole reason the first book really took place was because Tress wanted to know what happened to her parents and Felicity was there when they went missing, but had a seizure so doesn't remember anything. We actually vaguely find out what happened to her parents very early on in the second book (if you're paying attention!) and I was really interested to find out exactly what happened so that really kept my attention. We get so many twists that I didn't see coming and the ending was absolutely insane. It was a little bit gory though, so TW for that. 
This duology is definitely a ride, but absolutely worth it if you are in to thriller/mysteries!
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher I got to listen to this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.
***
The Last Laugh by Mindy McGinnis finishes concludes what was started in The Initial Insult. This book is an ode to Edgar Allan Poe and a story about secrets and the lengths some will go to, to unravel them and others will go to keep them hidden.
Picking up not long or far from where book one ended Tress was badly injured from the panther and the longer she takes to seek medical attention the more Tress slips. What is this beating she keeps hearing? (Me screaming inside about the details and love of Edgar Allan Poe’s works Mindy McGinnis used inside this story.)
With Felicity out of the picture you now have Ribbit Usher stepping up for the dual narrative and man, let me tell you. I was not prepared for how hard hitting this story was going to get. Like I was on the edge of my seat and horrified throughout book one but I straight up almost threw my headphones into the wall several points in this book. There are some incredibly violent, awful things that happen in this book and I was both completely traumatized and in awe with it all.
There isn’t much that can be said that won’t give anything away but honestly, I enjoyed this book.
Was this review helpful?
Book two picks up right where book one left off.  Some differences: no internal thoughts from the panther, but we get lots more from Rue the orangutan.  Also we don’t hear from Felicity, this time the chapters alternate between Tress and Ribbit (Kermit Usher).   

There are many points in this book that will have readers uttering “oh shit”, and hitting the rewind or rereading the page to and think “did I just really hear that”.  There were so many surprises in this book.  Some expected, and some so crazy and unexpected that the reader sits on the edge of their chair not able to turn their self away.

The reader gets a lot more family dynamic with Felicity, Tress, and Kermit.  After all this is a small town and everyone is related somehow.  Plus we get to see new things that happened at the party that were not previously known.

Fair warning: this book has much more gore or graphic descriptions than the last one.  There are explosions, fires, burning skin, and sooooooo much other eye widening action.  I LOVED every minute of it.  I liked how it wasn’t completely predictable, had some bat shit crazy things that are still quite believable, and yet maintained itself as a story about family; the good, the bad, the birth, and the found.  

To be honest, was this book as good as the first.  No.  However, it was a very satisfying read, and a great ending to the story.  There is a little heart break, a little just deserts, but it works out as it should in the end.  I thoroughly enjoyed the conclusion to this story, and will be recommending the duology for years to come.
Was this review helpful?
Tress Montor murdered Felicity Turnado—but she might not have to live with the guilt for long. With an infected arm held together by duct tape, the panther who clawed her open on the loose, and the whole town on the hunt for the lost homecoming queen, the odds are stacked against Tress. As her mind slides deeper into delirium, Tress is haunted by the growing sound of Felicity’s heartbeat pulsing from the “best friend” charm around her fevered neck.

Ribbit Usher has been a punchline his whole life—from his nickname to his latest turn as the unwitting star of a humiliating viral video. In the past he’s willingly played the fool, but now it’s time to fulfill his destiny. That means saving the girl, so that Felicity can take her place at his side and Ribbit can exact revenge on all who have done him wrong—which includes his cousin, Tress. Ribbit is held by a pact he made with his mother long ago, a pact that must be delivered upon in four days.

With time ticking down and an enemy she considers a friend lurking in the shadows, Tress’s grip on reality is failing. Can she keep both mind and body together long enough to finally find out what happened to her parents?
Was this review helpful?
**Disclaimer: I received a free early access copy of The Last Laugh by Mindy McGinnis through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this opportunity.

The Last Laugh by Mindy McGinnis is a young adult novel inspired by the stories of Edgar Allan Poe.  It is the sequel to the first novel in the duology, The Initial Insult.  It is set to be published on March 22nd, 2022.  I rated it four stars on Goodreads.

Here's the summary from Goodreads:

In the dark and stunning sequel to The Initial Insult, award-winning author Mindy McGinnis concludes this suspenseful YA duology as long-held family secrets finally come to light . . . changing Amontillado forevermore.
Tress Montor murdered Felicity Turnado—but she might not have to live with the guilt for long. With an infected arm held together by duct tape, the panther who clawed her open on the loose, and the whole town on the hunt for the lost homecoming queen, the odds are stacked against Tress. As her mind slides deeper into delirium, Tress is haunted by the growing sound of Felicity’s heartbeat pulsing from the “best friend” charm around her fevered neck.
Ribbit Usher has been a punchline his whole life—from his nickname to his latest turn as the unwitting star of a humiliating viral video. In the past he’s willingly played the fool, but now it’s time to fulfill his destiny. That means saving the girl, so that Felicity can take her place at his side and Ribbit can exact revenge on all who have done him wrong—which includes his cousin, Tress. Ribbit is held by a pact he made with his mother long ago, a pact that must be delivered upon in four days.
With time ticking down and an enemy she considers a friend lurking in the shadows, Tress’s grip on reality is failing. Can she keep both mind and body together long enough to finally find out what happened to her parents?

I read and reviewed the first book in this series in the past.  You can find that review here.  Because I had so much fun reading the first, I was super excited to read the second and was glad to be able to get the audiobook to listen to.  There's something really great about an audiobook, even though technically this was a synthesized voice for a narrator so it wasn't the actual narrator for the final thing.

I won't get too much into the specifics of the story since it is a sequel, but I will say that I had just as much fun listening to this story.  It was well written, and I enjoyed all the different points of view we got.  I really liked the way that Mindy McGinnis was able to layer in details to various Edgar Allan Poe stories as she wove together a rather original story.

The characters in this one continued to be really interesting.  I liked the development of the characters, though there were moments that I really wondered what the heck the characters were doing and what their motivation was.  It did all come together in the end, and I liked the way they interacted and why the story had so many twists and turns.

It's a really fun series and I highly recommend that you check out the first and then read the second.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for advanced audio book review copy of ‘The Last Laugh’ by Mindy McGinnis. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

I’m so pleased that I got to read the sequel to ‘The Initial Insult.’ I’d been so curious to find out the truth behind all the tangled questions in the first story. The conclusion definitely answered those questions in a satisfying way. It also didn’t give the answers too soon which had me wanting to keep reading. I flew through this one!

I think this duology would be interesting to teach in an English class in order to explore all the Poe references. I don’t have a ton of Poe knowledge but I feel that I picked up on a lot. These two stories would be well worth a reread now that I have the full picture of how the pieces and players come together.

I did find myself missing the cat POV but it wouldn’t have made sense to have that in this book as there’s the question of how much of the cat’s appearance is in Tress’ head or not. I don’t think Rue’s POV added as much and it came off repetitive at times. I also missed Felicity’s POV but that would have messed with the pacing so I understand why we didn’t get any more glimpses of the past from Felicity’s POV. Ribbit was an interesting new POV and I’m glad we didn’t get him viewpoint in the first book. That being said, I feel like the bullying aspect of the story was kind of muddied a bit. Bullying is such a big and complicated issue and I wasn’t sure the takeaway from this story was a great one.

The action in this story was dialed up compared to the first. Since the first takes place in largely the same setting of the party for most of the story it was nice to expand on the few familiar places in this story. The gross scenes were also on another level but they made sense for the story and didn’t bother me too much. They were definitely strongly written but I’ve also read ‘Be Not Far From Me’ by the same author so I was kind of prepared for that.

Overall, I thought this was a strong story that delivered on the answers from the first book. I did enjoy the first book a bit more but I thought the story as a whole came together well. I do feel like maybe Tress could have come out of the story a bit worse off than she did at the end. 

4/5 stars
Was this review helpful?