Chris's Reviews > The Only Ones

The Only Ones by Aaron Starmer
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's review
Jan 12, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: j, sci-fi, ya, not-graphic

Well, that came together quite nicely.

I’ve come to the conclusion that there are two types of readers: those who like a straightforward story firmly based in the rules of standard plotting and those who enjoy feeling off-balance as they puzzle through strange pieces of information parceled out in bits. I don’t just mean the challenge of solving a mystery or the surprise of a twist ending, but of having no real idea just what the book is about or where it’s going, of having to figure out the very rules of reality in an unknown, possibly fantastical setting, of not knowing whether you can trust anything an unreliable narrator says, of swimming in ambiguity and uncertainty and the unknown. If I’m succeeding with this review, you should have an idea which camp you fall into by now based on whether you’re intrigued to know what I’m doing or frustrated at having to read a book review that has yet to mention the book.

And you’ve probably guessed that this book is most likely going to frustrate the one group and delight the other.

We don’t know why, but Martin’s dad has raised Martin in isolation, the two of them living alone on an island, having no contact whatsoever with the few outsiders they occasionally see in the distance. We don’t know why, but, just before Martin’s eleventh birthday, everyone in the world disappears--although we don’t really see the extent of the disappearance until two years later, when Martin finally decides to venture forth from his island to explore the mainland. We don’t know why, but Martin finally wanders into a village of forty other youths his age who have spent the past couple of years trying to rebuild some kind of civilization and community. They are a strange group with strange dynamics, dynamics so delicate that the arrival of someone new for the first time in over a year can throw everything off kilter quite easily. Martin doesn’t know much about the world or interacting with others, and neither do we since this isn’t a world any of us knows.

But it was fun following Martin as things unfolded and finally getting to make sense of what was going on. This, as the cover blurb by James Dashner says, is a unique and captivating journey.
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message 1: by Lauren (new)

Lauren Can't wait to be delighted!

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