The Last One
She wanted an adventure. She never imagined it would go this far. It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens—but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it man-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them—a young woman the show’s producers call Zoo—stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game. Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life—and husband—she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all her survival skills—and learn new ones as she goes. But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways—and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing.
I have to say I’m a bit surprised I liked this book so much: I’m not outdoorsy at all and I have never watched any reality shows like Survivor or anything like that. That being said, The Last One is one of the best books I’ve read this year. I loved it from page one and didn’t stop until I reached its great ending.
I don’t want to spoil much, but I’ll say that the concept is awesome: what if you didn’t realize something terrible had happened?
I got nervous, frustrated, I was scared, sad and hopeful. This book makes you feel a lot of different things and that’s something I highly appreciate. I can’t believe this is Alexandra Oliva’s first novel: she’s crafted a wonderful story and clearly knows how to get the reader hooked. Such good writing.
I think it was pretty innovative that you didn’t know the real names of the contestants: they’re Zoo, Waitress, Black Doctor, Carpenter… and the author always makes comments about how each scene is going to be presented to the audience, in a really clever way. There was even a section at the end of some chapters with Reddit-like comments about the reality show: that part was amazing.
As for the characters, Zoo was unlikable at times, but in the end, you understand her. My favorite was, of course, Brennan: I wanted to hug him and never let go. I loved how loyal he was, how he cared about our protagonist.
Some have criticized the ending, but I think it’s actually perfect. Then again, I usually like endings like this one, where you don’t know what’ll happen for sure.
The Last One is original, smart and fresh. It’s true that, at first, it’s a bit confusing, as the story is told via two different perspectives: the actual show and the aftermath with our main character, Zoo. But I guarantee it is worth it: keep reading and you’ll see.
Is there going to be a movie soon? Please, say yes.
I received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.