Elizabeth Fuller's Reviews > The Last Town on Earth

The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen
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's review
Feb 16, 2008

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Read in January, 2008

This book has a lot going for it - a very dramatic time (the influenza epidemic of 1918), a very dramatic premise (a town that tries to fend off sickness by isolating itself), and - if possible - even more dramatic situations as the story progresses (what happens when two different strangers try to enter the self-quarantined town). So I should have loved it. And I really wanted to. But somehow, I didn't, and it was kind of an effort to finish. But it was our book group's selection last month, so I did finish, and the discussion it prompted was indeed lively. Near the end of the evening, however, someone noted that the end of the story leaves the future wide open for the main character, and wondered if a sequel might be in the works. Then someone else piped up and said, "But I don't think Phillip is really interesting enough for a sequel." And I think that summed up my hesitations about the book overall: while the situations are very interesting, the characters aren't nearly as compelling. The actions of the main character - a 16-year-old boy forced to act and react in a very touchy life-or-death situation, not once but twice - do drive the story, as they should...but he's not really a very unique or compelling presence beyond the situations he's thrust into. And I think that kind of killed it for me. Despite appreciating much of what I read here, I couldn't help coming away a bit disappointed.
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08/17 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Susan (new)

Susan Hi, Liz, Have you read Geraldine Brooks' "Year of Wonders"? It's a novel about a remote British village that decides to isolate itself after the plague is brought there in bolts of cloth from London in 1666. I read it for my book club a few years back. The book didn't grab me--because, I think, I felt obligated to read it when I really wanted to read other things--but it's well written and raises some interesting philosophical questions. My book club liked it a lot (I missed the meeting).

message 2: by Dan (new) - rated it 1 star

Dan I totally agree with your review - the book has a great premise but the characters were not very interesting and the key situations were not realistic.

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