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The Last Day

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2059. The world has stopped turning.

One half suffers an endless frozen night; the other, nothing but burning sun.

Only in a slim twilit region between them can life survive.

In an isolationist Britain, scientist Ellen Hopper receives a letter from a dying man.

It contains a powerful and dangerous secret.

432 pages, Hardcover

First published February 4, 2020

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About the author

Andrew Hunter Murray

9 books325 followers
Andrew Hunter Murray is a writer from London. His first novel, The Last Day, is a high-concept thriller set in a world whose rotation has slowed to a halt. The Last Day will be published in the UK and USA in February 2020 by Penguin Random House.

For ten years, Andrew has been one of the writers and researchers behind the BBC show QI. He is one of the co-hosts of QI’s spin-off podcast, No Such Thing As A Fish, which since 2014 has released 250 episodes, been downloaded 200 million times, and toured the world. It has also spawned three books (The Book of the Year, The Book of the Year 2018 and The Book of the Year 2019), and a BBC2 series, No Such Thing As The News.
Andrew also writes jokes and journalism for Private Eye magazine, and hosts the Eye’s in-house podcast, Page 94. In his spare time he performs in the award-winning comedy show Austentatious, which plays in London’s West End and around the UK.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 729 reviews
Profile Image for Andrew Smith.
1,016 reviews555 followers
July 6, 2022
At first the world started rotating more slowly, then it’s rotation stopped altogether.

The year is 2059 and the earth stopped turning thirty years ago. Roughly half of the planet is in perpetual frozen darkness and most of the rest is turning to desert, thanks to the unremitting full force of the sun. there is a narrow habitable region which has, by luck alone, avoided either extreme. Britain won the end of the world lottery and has become the pre-eminent force in the world, and the place everyone wants to get to.

Scientist Ellen Hopper works on an oil rig in the North Atlantic, off the south coast of England. We learn that she’s divorced, has no children and is pretty much fully immersed in studying water flows and currents. But one day she receives a visit from two government officials advising her that her university lecturer and mentor is dying and has expressed a wish to talk to her. She’s reluctant to accede to this request – her relationship with her mentor having ended badly – but she’s put under pressure to pay a visit to the hospital in London where he’s seeing out his final days.

The thing I most like about this sort of fiction is that it offers up opportunities for the story to go in innumerable directions. So this book immediately fired my imagination and created a series of pictures in my mind. A great set-up.

I won’t go into what happens when Ellen meets her mentor other than to say it creates more questions in her mind than it provides answers. We learn that Britain’s totalitarian government rules with an iron fist and limitations are in force to limit the freedom of movement, and harsh punishments are in place awaiting those who flout the new laws. But Ellen’s curiosity has been piqued and she’s inclined to take a few risks in an attempt to find some answers before she returns to the rig.

The strength of the novel, I think, is in the way the people we meet are shown to be reacting to the situation everyone now finds themselves in. Nobody really knows if the planet can survive, or if it can for how long. There are fears that oxygen levels will deplete to an extent that life becomes unsustainable. Already, it seems that the area containing Britain and a few of its close neighbours is the only spot where anyone is left alive. So the mindset is altered: what’s the point of bringing children into this world, say some, and what about study and careers – why bother?

The less satisfactory element here is Ellen’s search for answers. This feels a little plodding and her successes and failures feel a little contrived, even somewhat preordained. The people she has existing relationships with from her former life on the mainland – in other words, those she is reliant on for help - just happen to have jobs and backgrounds that are a perfect fit for the purpose. But I think I could have accepted or even perhaps embraced this if the story hadn’t become quite so one dimensional in the second half. Ellen has gone all in in her quest and it all just becomes a bit of a chase. The ending also feels a little rushed, though it did offer up a nice twisty finish.

I’m somewhere between three and four stars on this one, but I’m going to round it up rather than down because I think the idea is really great even if the execution doesn’t quite match up to it.

My thanks to Random House UK, Cornerstone & NetGalley for providing an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jenna ❤ ❀  ❤.
743 reviews1,108 followers
March 5, 2020
"Then the world
The world stops turning round
Then the world
The world stops turning round
It's a killer but that's the way it goes"

~World Stops Turning by The Angels

What an exciting post-apocalyptic thriller The Last Day is!  

In 2019, the gravity from a passing asteroid slows down the Earth's rotation until it finally comes to a complete stop (not to worry - it didn't actually happen). As you can imagine, this is a catastrophe. One half of the world is plunged into eternal darkness and the other half is constantly baking under the sun's intense heat. Only a small part of Earth's land is habitable.

Ellen Hopper is lucky enough to be in England where human life can still survive. When an old mentor at Oxford summons her to his deathbed, her life is plunged into chaos of a different kind.  The dying man is able to utter two words before his own lights go out: "my house". 

Confused, Hopper sets out on a quest to figure out what Edward Thorne wanted to inform her of, only to learn the government will go to any lengths to stop her.

A strong female lead is always a plus in a novel and I loved Ellen's character: a tough, intelligent scientist who is determined to uncover the mystery even though it places her life in danger. It's not constant action; the beginning is more introspective and slow-moving, but I loved that about the book. We really get to know Hopper, what makes her tick, the pain she tries to hide from. We learn of her past relationships and why she walls herself off emotionally. After that, once Ellen meets with old, dying Thorne, the pace picks up and Ellen is on the run from sinister government agents who will do anything to stop Ellen from learning the truth.

The only thing I didn't get is that there is a shortage of food and yet everyone seems to smoke like chimneys. OKaaaaayyyyyy..... They're growing tobacco instead of grains or vegetables when hardly anyone has enough food to eat? I used to smoke; I know I'd have done with less food in order to get cigarettes if I had had to choose -it's the nature of addiction - so I can understand the choice on an individual level. However, we're supposed to believe the government chose to grow tobacco and let children's bellies protrude with malnutrition just so the adults could smoke? And parents wouldn't protest this when their children are going hungry, even if they personally would rather smoke?

OK, rant over. It's a triviality compared to the rest of the story.

The book itself is addicting and I didn't want to put it down. I love the way Andrew Hunter Murray writes and the story was just damn good. 5 stars all the way!
Profile Image for Mark.
1,078 reviews
February 6, 2020

WOW!

This book is a dystopian thriller set in a world that quite simply has stopped spinning, this has caused half the world to be in constant light and half in constant dark and life chaotic in the few places where humans can now survive

The best place due to its geography is the UK but even here it is perilous after years of temperature changes and, well, basically everything we take for granted being eroded and is now a challenge

Some of the UK is now sectioned off and is America and Europe is known as the ‘breadbasket’ cultivating food

There is much more to it than I can explain but the detail is mesmerising and involving, scary and yet leaves you hungry to find out more, the descriptions of how London is now were chilling, yet I couldn’t read it quick enough all with the thought ‘but this couldn’t happen’...... ‘could it?’...

The story focus on Ellen stuck on a ex oil rig monitoring the seas, not people friendly but kinda ok with her lot, well until Govt big wigs arrive to take her back to London to see her dying professor from Uni days who has demanded to see her, they suspect he holds a secret, they suspect right and he imparts where the secret is held to Ellen who then has to decide what to do....then we have a 24ish section of the book as she...well, thats enough but when she finds it its earth shattering

I hope you can tell that I LOVED this book is it really is flawlessly written, excitingly different and kept me thrilled from page to page

Brilliant!

10/10
5 Stars
Profile Image for The Nerd Daily.
720 reviews342 followers
January 29, 2020
Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by AB Endacott

When I first heard about The Last Day, I was intrigued. The debut from Andrew Hunter Murray who, among many other things, is a QI Elf, is set in a world where, ‘forty years ago, a solar catastrophe began to slow the planet’s rotation to a stop. Now, one half of the globe is permanently sunlit, the other half trapped in an endless night.’ It seems an interesting premise; especially given the setting in Britain, a country which once held the epithet, ‘the sun never sets on the British Empire’.

Certainly, the world of post apocalypse Britain that is one of the few habitable areas left in the globe, is one in which the country is struggling to maintain its supremacy and the old way of doing things rather than adapting to the world that has drastically changed. I somewhat foolishly mentioned the setting to a friend who studied physics and is a self-confessed ‘space nerd’. I fielded several incredulous questions about magnetic poles (late in the book we do learn they are deteriorating), the earth’s molten core, the atmosphere, and orbit. Suspension of disbelief is necessary for a lot of sci-fi books, and given Hunter Murray’s background, I’m sure his research was thorough. However, the science – especially given the fact that the central character, Ellen Hopper, is a scientist, could have been more explicitly defined. I was left with the general understanding that the world may not actually remain habitable, but perhaps that eventuality wouldn’t come to pass. That uncertainty hung over the novel’s conclusion, which made it feel lacklustre in a way that it didn’t need to be. To that end, the ending felt a little abrupt, and provided assumed resolutions rather than a definite ending.

The plot follows Dr Ellen Hopper who has isolated herself from most of society by taking a job working for the repressive British government on an offshore rig, charting the ocean currents that have been altered by the new state of the world. She is abruptly brought back to mainland to speak with her dying university mentor, Edward Thorne, who holds a secret that could ruin the British government. This sets her off on a search across the corner of the world struggling to exist in order to discover what Thorne knew. The fundamental elements of the storyline are solid. Indeed, the film and TV rights to the book have already been bought, and it will likely be transposed into a really engaging piece of watching. That being said, despite several of the promotional claims, The Last Day isn’t really a thriller. It’s slow paced, with the interspersed flashback chapters drip feeding information that probably could have been revealed in a more dramatic or climactic manner. Had there been no reference to it as a thriller, I probably would have enjoyed the pace more rather than waiting for it to pick up.

Some of the key elements to the world could have been established a little faster or with more efficiency. For instance, explanation regarding the Americans who had been resettled in the Southern parts of Great Britain seemed a little convoluted, likewise the fact that they had brought nuclear weapons with them (and presumably the capacity to launch them?), and the tense relationship Britain had with the remaining European states, or how their political structure and climate differed from Britain. Despite all this, the world was an interesting one.

The immediate point of comparison which sprang to my mind was A Boy and his Dog a the End of the World’ which I had the delightful task of reading and reviewing last year. While A Boy and his Dog offers an optimistic portrayal of how people can navigate a shattered world, The Last Day views the world with a certain pessimism, portraying a social environment that’s a mixture of a World War II mutual suspicion and a McCarthyist America. Certainly, in the current political climate, I want to believe in the world Fletcher outlined, but I worry that Hunter Murray’s depiction is more realistic.

For a debut, this is a very solid piece of writing, with an interesting premise at its core. While there are a few issues with the pacing and execution, it’s an easy read with writing that at times is quite lovely. At the very least, this is a thought provoking read that encourages questions about who we are and what we are willing to do when the end of the world arrives, and we are offered a chance of survival.
Profile Image for Blaine.
712 reviews573 followers
November 16, 2021
She could stay on the rig, studying the currents and the paths of the few whales left, and let this episode fade from her memory. She could still do it. This was her last chance.

And then she recalled the face of the boy in the shambling column. And the policeman outside Thorne’s burgled house, and … Thorne’s words to her as he lay in bed. You always wanted the truth. Only the truth. And she realized he had been right.

“I always think it must have been better to be Cain than Adam. No memory of paradise. Just yourself and the new state of affairs.”
The Last Day is set in 2059, 30 years after the Earth stopped spinning (there were sciencey reasons). Half the world, including most of America, was stranded in perpetual darkness on the Coldside, while the other half on the Warmside is locked in perpetual sunlight. Britain is lucky enough to be one of twenty or so Goldilocks Zones around the fringe of the Warmside: warm enough to raise crops and be habitable without being scorched.

Ellen Hopper is a scientist working on an old oil rig off the coast of Britain, studying how the ocean currents have changed and what it might mean for humanity’s survival. She learned a terrible secret from a mentor, Edward Thorne, fifteen years earlier about how Britain established itself in the aftermath of the Stop, and she elected to more or less turn from humanity and live a rather lonely life. Now Thorne is dying, and he reaches out to Ellen with a message that he has something she must see and that she can “prevent a far greater evil being done.”

So The Last Day is a mystery/thriller revolving around whether Ellen find out the big secret, and presumably do something with it, before she’s stopped by the nefarious government agents trying to stop her. By far the best part of the novel is the world building. The future Britain here is richly detailed, a dark, authoritarian but interesting place. And Ellen is a fine character.

Unfortunately, the mystery/thriller part of The Last Day was a bit of a letdown. The plot had too many coincidences, from Ellen having a direct or indirect connection to everyone she’ll need to solve the mystery, to her final escape being dependent on a diversion by an unrelated group of people. It is not at all clear that her “solution” would solve anything, as (I’m trying to avoid spoilers here) there would seem to more government people in a position to stop her solution. Indeed, between the weakness of the ending and the survival of a particular villain, I’m left wondering if there’s a planned sequel for this story. Finally, for anyone who’s ever read Fatherland, this book hits a lot of the same beats, just not as well.

The Last Day is not a bad book. It’s well-plotted and, like I said, is in an interesting world. But it’s a bit disappointing when it’s all said and done.
579 reviews8 followers
March 5, 2020
A SIMPLE MAN'S REVIEW:

How can a book about the Earth losing its rotation be boring? Well, it helps when all the interesting parts are just short asides about the history of what happened instead of actually being part of the story.

The main story is about a woman trying to find out her old mentor's secret while navigating in London's dystopian reality. You'll find the usual things: curfew, dictators, secret police, etc. But nothing you haven't read/seen in the other countless dystopian future-based stories.

And the big secret? Meh. The revelation is pretty obvious and not worth a whole story. The ending does seem to set up potential sequels but I can't imagine the story would get better.

Skip it!
Profile Image for Peter.
673 reviews46 followers
May 14, 2020
This was fine. A generic caper with an interesting setting and a decent protagonist made for an inoffensive read that was enjoyable, but definitely not memorable.

The science behind how the world stopped turning and the consequences thereof, were unfortunately not well thought out, but at least the setting was a good starting off point. The world-building was decent and even somewhat believable, but as the story went along, I found more and more elements not making sense

The characters were also fine. The protagonist was likeable and well written, although her arc was quite lacking. The secondary characters were very shallow and tropey which made them feel like they only existed for our protagonist to move the story along. The antagonists seemed to be motivated by the author's vision for the plot and were precisely stupid enough when they had to be and smart enough when it suited the story.

By far the weakest aspect of the book was the story though. It felt like a derivative thriller with convenient coincidences and poorly motivated decisions from multiple characters. The ending was horrific with one of the most blatant Deus ex machina I've seen in a while. The pacing was quite choppy but mostly on the quicker side. I also didn't enjoy the romantic subplots which felt forced and quite inconsequential.

I considered giving this 1 star at some point, but it definitely wasn't that bad. The writing was competent and there were enough good elements to make it a nice read. I think I could only recommend this to people who like the thriller formula, can turn off their brains for a while and enjoy a fun dystopian/post-apocalyptic setting.
Profile Image for RG.
3,092 reviews
February 26, 2020
A great concept and thought provoking read. I really enjoyed the world the author built. My issue was with the pacing and story itself. The twist or reveal for me was underwhelming espcially against the backdrop of the world. I was expecting more. Plus I also just felt the characters were a little too simple. Good debut
Profile Image for Faith.
1,801 reviews481 followers
April 4, 2020
An untethered dwarf star stopped Earth’s rotation about 30 years ago. There are no more dawns or sunsets. The lucky parts of Earth get to live in light and grow food. The other parts get to freeze. Great Britain is one of only a few habitable places left.. Scientist Ellen Hopper is studying ocean currents when she is summoned to the death bed of one of her former professors who has a secret to convey to her. Hopper spends the rest of the book trying to find out what that secret was.

The author has created both an imaginative post apocalyptic world and an entertaining political thriller. He gave a lot of thought to how the world would change after the last day, including the rearrangement of political alliances. Hopper was a realistic and appealing character. In an interview at the end of the audiobook, the author said that he is considering a sequel to this book. I’d like to read it.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Liz Barnsley.
3,385 reviews977 followers
November 16, 2019
The Last Day is a heady mix of post apocalyptic drama and political thriller, with some intricate world building and intriguing, engaging characters.

It is an end of the world espionage tale as our main protagonist Ellen Hopper risks everything to find out a dangerous secret- dangerous to those in power who are determined to ensure it’s burial. Beautifully plotted, cleverly addictive, you eagerly follow in Ellen’s footsteps through a ravaged and isolated UK, Andrew Hunter Murray adding insightful thought provoking layers as you go.

The ending is thrilling and satisfying, setting up for a sequel yet answering the main question, I read this in two involved sittings and thought it was fantastic.

Recommended.

Profile Image for Andy.
1,120 reviews73 followers
March 6, 2022
Das ist das erste und letzte Buch von diesem Autor, das ich je lesen werde. Würde ich sagen, es hätte Groschenromanniveau, täte ich damit Groschenromanen Unrecht. Die wussten zumindest zu unterhalten, wenn auch auf einem niedrigen Niveau.
Durch niedriges Niveau bzw trivialen Schreibstil zeichnet sich der Roman auch aus. Allerdings weiß er absolut nicht zu unterhalten. Er ist langweilig!

Ich glaube, ich habe einen Ranicki verschluckt 🙊

Alle anderen Kritikpunkte neben der ausschweifenden Langweiligkeit finden sich im meinen Leseverlauf
👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻
February 26, 2022 – 

page 100

 

 20.16% "Wieder ein Buch von erstaunlich schlechtem Mittelmaß. Nach den ersten 100 gelesenen Seiten vermisse ich bereits zu viel.
Logik
Spannung
Logik
Wissenschaftlichkeit
und Logik
Mit der Wissenschaft hat es der Autor nicht so nach dem Motto "wenn ich Naturgesetze nicht erwähne, existieren sie nicht".
Äh... doch, so wie das Verhältnis von Gravitation zu Zentrifugalkraft.
Aber so fällt weder Mond noch Satellit vom Himmel."

February 26, 2022 – 

page 100

 

 20.16% "Alleine die Ursache des Stillstandes der Erde ist absurd. Spektakulär aber Unfug. Aus dem Nichts taucht ein weißer Zwerg in unserem Arm der Galaxie auf - peng - sorgt für Chaos und - peng - ist wieder weiter genug weg. Wie schnell sollte der sein für diesen kurzen Zeitraum? 2fache Lichtgeschwindigkeit? Warp 5 oder 10? Oder ploppte er praktischerweise aus einem Wurmloch und verschwand nach ein paar Jahren im nächsten?"

February 27, 2022 – 

page 120

 

 24.19% "Wie beschrieben jemand diesen "Thriller"?
apocabrexit?
Eine Apokalypse, bei der das essentielle Geschehen in einer Apokalypse durch Brexitgeschehen ersetzt wirf?
Ja! Ich weiß, was derjenige damit meint - abgesehen davon, dass der Thrill hier in slow motion geschieht."

February 27, 2022 – 

page 160

 

 32.26% "OMG schwafelt dieser Autor.
Die Langeweile, die er mit seinem Buch verursacht, ist lebensbedrohlich!"

February 28, 2022 – 

page 210

 

 42.34% "Seine naturwissenschaftliche Bildung bezog der Autor wohl aus Kinofilmen.
In meinem Universum besucht man jemanden, indem man hinfährt, klingelt und eventuell im Hof nachschaut etc. Nicht in diesem Buch. Da solle man sich schriftlich anmelden so die Polizei.
Was für Dilletanten sind Warwick und Blake eigentlich.
Das Gespräch zwischen Hopper und Thorne wurde nicht abgehört, das Krankenzimmer war nicht verwanzt!
."

February 28, 2022 – 

page 210

 

 42.34% "...wäre ja auch zu simpel.
Hopper wird auch nicht durchsucht!
Merke, das Dekollete einer Frau ist ein 1a Geheimversteck!
Lieber konstruiert der Autor eine Szene, in der Blake Hopper beim Verhör vermöbeln kann.
🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️
Und natürlich kommt wieder eine plumpe Erpressungsnummer.
Der Autor ist so kreativ. (Das war Ironie)"

February 28, 2022 – 

page 250

 

 50.4% "Dieses Buch ist eine Katastrophe. Warum? Es ist schlecht recherchiert. Immer noch. Warum ich es weiterhin lese? Muss der Ludolf-Effekt sein. Ich kann mir sehr gut vorstellen, dass Murray Podcasts macht, wenn ich sehe, wie er im Buch den Leser mit belanglosem Zeug zu Tode schwafelt.
Unglücklicherweise verlässt ihn scheinbar sein Talent, wenn es um Logik geht. 250 Seiten ohne nennenswerte Handlung."

February 28, 2022 – 

page 260

 

 52.42% "Wahrscheinlich für alle Leser, die den Überblick verloren haben, worum es jetzt eigentlich geht und für Hopper selbst schreibt diese zum Schluss des 22. Kapitels eine grobe Zusammenfassung.
Wie originell 🤨
Der relevante Inhalt des Romans inclusive literarischen Beiwerks passt auf 50 Seiten. Nicht dass ich hier intellektuell überfordert werde, stattdessen bräuchte ich nur ein Paar Streichhölzer für die Augen."

March 2, 2022 – 

page 350

 

 70.56% "SPOILER?

1) Dass Mark ein falscher Fünfziger ist, kommt doch nur für Hopper überraschend. Das steht doch überdeutlich in seiner Charakterbeschreibung! Wo bitte arbeitet er? Genau. Und diese Enthüllung sollte wahrscheinlich eine DER Enthüllungen im Roman sein, der Kain in der Familie.
Praktischerweise bewahrt ihr Bruder alle Spitzelunterlagen bei sich zu Hause auf.
2) Hev verhindert nicht den Brief aber den Anruf?"

March 4, 2022 – 

page 390

 

 78.63% "Murray hat es auch noch geschafft, in seinen sogenannten Thriller die Trivialität eines Frauenromans zu bringen."

March 4, 2022 – Finished Reading
Profile Image for Edgars.
22 reviews
March 8, 2020
I had high hopes for this book. The title and description of post apocalyptic world were so promising but unfortunately misleading. This is not post apocalyptical work of fiction, this is plain political conspiracy thriller.
The story was not too bad but it was dragged on for so long, that in the end i did not care anymore what will happen. And even when the big secret reveal came, it was not anything special and did not mean anything much for me.
To summarized this is a glorified prologue for the next book in this story.
Profile Image for Susan.
2,576 reviews601 followers
March 4, 2020
It is 2059 and the world has stopped turning – quite literally. More than thirty years ago, the world started, ‘The Slow,’ and gradually came to a stop. Half the world is in darkness, the other burning hot. Only a small sliver is habitable and that includes the UK, although it still has massive problems with climate and how that affects health. The author has cleverly turned politics on its head here – what if the refugee boats heading out were from the United States? However, the US still has some power, including control of nuclear weapons, which gives them a lot of leverage.

Into a world that is changed, but still close enough to our times that we can recognise it, we have a mix of dystopian and political thriller. Ellen Hopper is a scientist on an oil rig, when she is visited by two government officials, who ask her to return to the mainland. Her old tutor is dying and he has asked to see her. Once, he was one of the most powerful man in the country, but became an academic after falling from grace. Now, he is going to trust her to discover a secret that he holds, knowing that she will be unable to resist trying to uncover the truth.

What makes this work is the setting. This is a recognisable world, but completely changed. People ask whether it is worthwhile bringing children into a dying world and there are demands to provide enough food for those left. London is still largely functioning, but full of refugees and, outside of the capital, infrastructure is at breaking point. An interesting and thought provoking novel, with a good central character. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.


Profile Image for Gerardine  Betancourt .
282 reviews50 followers
October 15, 2020
The Last Day deserves to have more hype in the book community. The premise is super interesting.
In 2020 a dwarf star causes the earth to stop spinning. In one hemisphere the earth is in complete darkness with extremely cold temperatures and the other side full daylight with a terrible burning heat all the time. Now in 2059 Great Britain is the only remaining habitable place to live.
Ellen Hopper our protagonist is a scientist who is in the North Sea when some government officials take her to London where her old university teacher Thorne is dying in a hospital. Thorne leaves a clue for Hopper to uncover a secret that he's trying to hide from the government.
Without saying anything else in my opinion, the world-building is extremely interesting and brilliant. I recommend this to anyone who likes dystopian-thriller books.
I like it but I don't think it's a suitable book to read with everything that is happening in the world with the Covid 19.
3.5 stars.
Thanks to Netgalley and Penguin Group Dutton for this arc in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Mark.
261 reviews8 followers
Read
January 4, 2020
DNF at 25%.

I liked the premise here, and the writing was fine. But it just didn't really grab me and I'm being ruthless about setting books aside if they aren't floating my boat.

May well work for others, as the writer clearly has talent, but like the earth in this tale, it was a bit too slow-moving.
Profile Image for Marc.
199 reviews22 followers
June 20, 2020
I really loved this dystopic thriller. It's quite the page turner and one of those books I had a hard time putting down. Ellen Hopper is the strong, smart, and appealing main character and the plot is terrific. I highly recommend this one even if it may not be in your usual "genre" of books that you like to read.
Profile Image for Frank Miceli.
32 reviews
January 17, 2020
While not a long book it took forever for something to actually happen. When the big reveal happened it felt rushed.
Profile Image for Rosie Kirk.
25 reviews4 followers
June 6, 2020
I so wanted to love this - I love Andrew Hunter Murray and the premise was interesting. I certainly didn’t hate it, and it was an easy read with nice enough prose, but it just didn’t deliver for me. The characters didn’t feel fully developed, any depth always seeming something of a trope. Overall I think it could have benefited from more of a “show don’t tell” approach, and I was frustrated as the central mystery was predominantly unravelled through luck and coincidence.

I think a lot of this may stem in part from it being a first novel, and I’d be interested to read any further novels from Murray.
Profile Image for Margaret Schoen.
318 reviews14 followers
Read
January 20, 2020
This is a review of an ARC from Edelweiss.

Just couldn't finish this one. Murray does a slow build to explaining the premise: the earth's rotation has stopped and now some parts of the world are stuck in eternal day, others in eternal night, which led to the complete breakdown of society, except not really because we're about 30-40 years in, and in the parts of the world that are still in somewhat sun everything is basically ok? There's still electric power, and food being produced, and society seems to be continuing along in Britain, albeit with a few minor oddities. Ellen Hopper is a scientist working on a ship in the North Atlantic (whose main job seems to be finding shipwrecks and sinking them because? well, no reason is given?) and gets summoned home to meet with her old mentor, who wants to tell her a big secret before dying.

The thing is, if you're going to have crazy science as your premise, I want you to explain the crazy science, and the repercussions and all that. Maybe this all gets explained better later on, or maybe once the plot kicks in it doesn't matter, but I'm about a third of the way in, and NOTHING HAS HAPPENED and also nothing has been explained, and I just can't care anymore.
Profile Image for Kate.
1,622 reviews321 followers
February 10, 2020
An entertaining post-apocalyptic/dystopian thriller set in Britain. There are some great ideas and concepts in this novel and it certainly has an intriguing plot. However, I've given this 3 and not 4 stars because I wasn't able to engage with the characters as much as I would have liked (making the novel hard to get into) and the plot isn't suspenseful, so the reveal had little impact. Nevertheless, a good premise and a fun read. Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights.
Profile Image for Cheryl.
367 reviews27 followers
January 9, 2021
I do love a dystopian future book and this had all the signs of being a great one and for the most part I wasn’t let down, although perhaps good not great would be more accurate.

There were some wonderful science fiction elements here, I really enjoyed the science of it all and discovering all about this new world. It is bleak in the future when the world has stopped turning and life is a struggle with resources scarce. It reminded me of the films Waterworld and Mad Max at times, although less extreme than they are.

Since the world has stopped turning there are as you may imagine a whole host of problems for everyone and almost everyone suffers to some degree or other, the world has gone back in time with many of the modern technologies we now have lost to them. Unfortunately dire times like these seem to bring out the worst in some people; greed, fear and hate and the more desperate they become the worse they get.

Hopper our protagonist, is a scientist who wants to do the right thing but goes about it often in a terrible way, she is supposed to be smart but comes across as unthinking and naive, and quite frankly she irritated me with her attitude and stupid decisions. It was frustrating watching her make ridiculous choices with complete disregard for other people and their lives, I thought her selfish and self righteous.

There were also some fairly decent baddies in this book which I enjoyed although both goodies and baddies were a little bit cliched at times. It became a bit like an evil mastermind moment in a Bond film towards the end with our villains, however the last 20-30 pages were quite a thrill and made for an exciting ending with action and tension amped up. I couldn’t really work out what was going to happen at one point and the absolute end felt a bit like a link to a possible second book, although it was a little too positive for my liking.

The writing style is simple and straightforward, easy to follow and flows nicely, I like the way he writes and his descriptions are well done too. It made for a nice read and an engaging story. The climate and earth science along with the farming bits were fascinating and I could have done with more of that. I really liked the attention to detail in the setting of the scenes and in the descriptions I felt like I was there and could picture it perfectly. This book is also very English centric which makes a change.

Overall a good science fiction action adventure tale with some really interesting ideas and some great writing with a few twists, albeit a little letdown by some of the characters but nonetheless a good read that definitely kept my attention throughout. Not brilliant but not bad at all, I’m scoring this a fair 4*/5.
Profile Image for Bridget.
1,116 reviews68 followers
January 14, 2022
I’ve had this book for ages and never read it, this is the year of reading a bunch that are like this. My bookshelves with unread potentially great books.

The world has ceased to turn. There is a cold side and a searing hot side. Chaos reigned but now it seems that things are getting gradually sorted. This is a slow burn thriller with s main character of Hooper, a scientist who has been working offshore on currents. She receives a summons to go and meet with a professor she was close to years ago. It seems that the information he passes to her is vital but she has to figure out what he actually told her. Thus ensues a race against those who want the information. She is chased and needs to call in every favour.

I really enjoyed this. Interesting concept, well executed.
Profile Image for Shelley.
5,102 reviews458 followers
July 29, 2020
*Source* Publisher
*Genre* Science Fiction
*Rating* 3.5

*Thoughts*

Andrew Hunter Murray's The Last Day is based on the premise that sometime in the future, the world is going to stop rotating, causing day and night to be the same spot day in and day out all over the world. The cold spots are eternally cold and the warm spots always warm, possibly too warm as they face the sun in the same position without change. The cause of this calamity was a huge celestial body known as a white dwarf star crossing space relatively near to our solar system. As a consequence of this event, the earth begins a period of slowing down in it's ever changing position of moving around the sun.

*Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews*

https://gizmosreviews.blogspot.com/20...
Profile Image for Ian.
355 reviews51 followers
January 7, 2021
'The Last Day' is a rather unusual, well-paced story, that deals with state security matters wrapped up in the world of Science Fiction.

The planet has stopped spinning. Why, what are the catastrophic effects and who exactly stands to gain when the New World comes together to meet with the Old?

A really good idea that keeps the reader guessing with mystery, suspense, interesting detail and plenty of action, although I did find the world Slowing the Stopping and the physical effect on both the planet and the human race itself of far more interest than the actual state secrets side of the story when taken as a whole.

For me, many of the characters started off being both intriguing and interesting, but unfortunately became weaker as the story progressed to a rather predictable final conclusion. All a little too nicely convenient at the end and a lack of 'Epilogue' or, a little glimpse into the future fortunes of the planet, was a disappointing surprise and which inevitably made the story feel slightly incomplete.

A clever, enjoyable and entertainingly fun read.

Rating: 3.7 spinning stars.
Profile Image for Ed.
424 reviews10 followers
March 19, 2020
Amateurish, cliche-ridden, and weirdly offensive.
Bought this book entirely because I used to listen to No Such Thing As A Fish, and definitely enjoyed it for a while; so was hoping to support the creators. Ultimately I wish I'd done a bit more research as I probably wouldn't have picked this up otherwise.
It is a nominal thriller set in a near-future dystopia. And I guess it must be a thriller, because it certainly has all the thriller tropes in here; betrayals, twists for the sake of it, government conspiracies, she-was-actually-being-watched-all-alongs, that sort of thing. But what is missing is the actual thrill. There really just isn't that much here. There are super low stakes for the vast majority of the book, and the main character is pretty entirely unlikable so nothing to latch onto there either.
The rest of the characters are sort of there- none of the minor characters act or speak like human beings. Seriously there are some conversations in this book that made me think I'd slipped into reading the script of an informercial.
The near-future dystopia aspect is entirely unoriginal, with the standard rise of fascism in difficult times. We have an added-on apocalypse which is scientifically implausible and yet tries to be explained in scientific ways. It does not work. Orbital mechanics do not work this way. But ultimately it means that half of the planet is in permanent sunlight, the other in total dark. It could be an interesting setup, but we spend too much time meandering through explanations that never quite line up that it falls completely flat.
And yes, this is quite clearly a metaphor for climate change so JUST TALK ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE YOU COWARD.
What made me hate this book though, rather than just the dislike I would have felt for it otherwise, is the bizarre upper-class sort of snobbery it shows throughout. Clearly, all the important characters attended Oxford. And yes the world is ending, but Britain is steadfast and strong because great British values! Stiff upper lip! Rule Britannia etc. And on a further level, London is holding together while the rest of the country is falling to pieces. It comes so close to interesting commentary here, before ultimately falling into the line that anyone not privileged enough to live in London or other cities are essentially savages. There is a line about the poor, disadvantaged people who couldn't afford to stay in the cities and thus moved into the countryside being "like a tumour, a new kind of tissue pushing outwards and testing the limits of the host body".- pg 141.
That's right- POOR PEOPLE ARE CANCER. . Fucking yikes.

So please avoid this book. Two recommendations that cover similar themes but are actually well written to various degrees; The Wall by John Lanchester, and The City In The Middle Of The Night by Charlie Jane Anders.
Profile Image for Karen’s Library.
1,038 reviews154 followers
March 23, 2020
Holy moly, the premise of this book knocked my socks off! Due to plausible science, the world eventually comes to a complete stop. This took years and years for the earth’s spin to start slowing and one day, stop completely. Parts of the world is in full on daylight ALL. THE. TIME. This means hot hot hot. Parts of the world is in constant darkness, so freezing cold. There is an area that is the perfect temperature to grow crops and this is known as the Goldilocks section, where the breadbasket (viable farmland) sits.

After 30 years, the population of earth is decimated, and the rest are trying to make their way to the Goldilocks section (England, actually), but there’s not enough resources for those that are already there.

Ellen Hopper is a scientist trying to discover the truth of what the government is hiding.

I really wanted to love this book more than I did. To be completely honest, the Coronavirus pandemic started getting really serious about the time I started this and I had a hard time concentrating on reading anything. I honestly don’t know if it was the book, or real life getting in the way.

I didn’t like Hopper at all. And through the entire middle of the book, I kept tuning out. I think that was more the story. Yes, I was distracted by our real life pandemic, but I think I should have been able to concentrate at least somewhat more than I did.

I rated this 3.5 and bumped it up to 4 because the premise was so very cool.

*Thank you so much to NetGalley and to Penguin Books for the advance copy!*
Profile Image for Maggie.
1,541 reviews32 followers
February 18, 2020
Due to a celestial event the earth has been knocked off it's axis. First the days got longer & longer until finally earth stopped tuning completely. Half the world was cold & in darkness whilst the other baked in endless sunlight. A small habitable zone exists & Britain becomes the lead power by being in the right place. Ellen Hopper lives on an rig out in the Atlantic studying sea currents when she gets a message from Edward Thorne, an old Uni tutor who had been a great influence in her life. He is dying & wants to see her. To her surprise a government helicopter arrives on the rig to whisk her off to Oxford. Why are the ruling powers so interested in Thorne? Arriving as Thorne is almost taking his last breath she finds herself wanting to find out what was so important even if it does put her at odds with the totalitarian government.

This dystopian novel, written at the time of Brexit & of the growing awareness of what we are doing to the earth's climate, struck many chords. It was a totally absorbing read & one I won't forget in a hurry. Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read & review this great, but disturbing book.
Profile Image for Jen.
1,824 reviews159 followers
June 28, 2021
I'm not that far into this, but after reading all the reviews I've decided to set it aside for the time being. I'm not sure I like this author's voice; I certainly don't care for the main character much. The audiobook narrator (Gemma Whelan) is excellent. I may come back to this later, but for now I'm going on to other things.
Profile Image for Nafeeza.
251 reviews4 followers
February 4, 2020
It is 2059 and the world has stopped rotating, leaving half of the planet in frozen, perpetual darkness and turning the other half into a scorching dessert. Britain has emerged due to luck of the draw as the world’s new super power. It now occupies the only sliver of the earth that is habitable because it just so happened to be in the right location when the earth stopped for good. Ellen Hopper is a scientist that works on a offshore rig in the Northern Atlantic studying ocean currents. She has been living there in self exile for some time when she is called back suddenly because of her mentor, where he leaves her a cryptic message. Now Hopper is on a mission to find answers.

It took me a while to get into this one, Hopper’s voice at the beginning failed to pull me in. I think this may have been intentional, we are meant to feel as if she is just passing time before the inevitable. That she is basically going about her life, but once the ball got moving, it didn’t slow down. The plot and pacing was excellently done throughout the rest, the writing concise and smart. I think Murray did an amazing job with the characters, their personal experience and how each chose to deal with their current situation felt real. I felt their listlessness, desperation and frustration at being helpless to stop what is coming but at the same time still trying to have hope. And the twist sure did kick things up a notch. The ending left me satisfied but also wanting more. There’s a bit of an open end should the author decide to continue and give us another book or 2 which I would be more that happy to read.

All in all, a solid debut with a thought provoking premise. I thoroughly enjoyed it. And if you are a fan of smartly written, post apocalyptic thrillers, then I recommend picking this one up.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Leah.
1,343 reviews197 followers
March 2, 2020
Stop the world... 4 stars

When a rogue white dwarf star passes through the solar system, its gravitational pull affects the Earth’s rotation on its axis. Gradually over a period of years it slows, with days and nights lengthening; and then it stops completely, leaving half the earth’s surface in endless burning day and the other half in endless frozen night. Humanity scrabbles to survive and Britain comes out on top, lucky to be in the small habitable zone that surrounds the growing desert in the centre of the sunlit side. But when scientist Edward Thorne, on his deathbed, gives his old pupil Ellen Hopper a cryptic message, she is sucked in to uncovering secrets about how Britain has ensured its survival – secrets the authoritarian government will do anything to keep hidden...

There’s a lot to like about this promising début, so let me get my criticisms out of the way first. The book is drowning under the weight of words, being at least a third too long for its content. Murray describes everything in detail – he does it very well but a lot of it is unnecessary and it slows the pace to a crawl. In order to thrill, thrillers have to maintain a good pace and to speed up towards the climax. This is so self-evident that it always stuns me that editors don’t pick up on it even if writers make the basic mistake of getting too involved in their own descriptions of the settings at the expense of maintaining escalating forward momentum. The scene should be set in, say, the first third to half, and from there on the focus should switch to action. And the climax, when it comes, has to both surprise and be dramatic enough to have made the journey worthwhile. Here, unfortunately, the climax is one of the weakest points of the book, both in execution and in impact.

However, there are plenty of strong points to counterbalance these weaknesses. The writing is of a very high standard, especially the descriptions of the scientific and social effects of the disaster. Not being a scientist, I don’t know how realistic the world in the book is but it is done well enough for me to have bought into the premise. Murray shows how science during the Slow and after the Stop becomes concentrated on immediate survival – developing ways to provide food and power for the people – while less attention is given to research into how the long-term future may turn out. As Ellen, herself a scientist, begins to investigate Thorne’s hints, Murray nicely blurs whether this neglect is because of lack of resources, or because the government specifically doesn’t want researchers happening on things they want to conceal. In a world where the government brutally disposes of anyone who threatens them, it’s difficult for Ellen to trust anyone or to involve anyone else in her search for the truth for fear of the consequences to them, but her brother and her ex-husband both get caught up in her quest, and both are interesting relationships that add an emotional edge to the story.

The characterisation is excellent, not just of Ellen but of all the secondary and even periphery characters. I was so pleased to read a contemporary book starring a strong but not superhuman woman, intelligent and complex, who is not the victim of sexism, racism or any other tediously fashionable ism. The only ism she has to contend against is the authoritarianism of the government – much more interesting to me. Murray handles gender excellently throughout, in fact, having male and female characters act equally as goodies and baddies, be randomly strong or weak regardless of sex, and keeping any romantic elements to an almost imperceptible minimum. He also shows a range of responses to the authoritarianism, from those who think it’s essential in the circumstances, to those who dislike it but remain passive, to those who actively or covertly resist it; and he makes each rise equally convincingly from the personality of the character.

So overall a very strong début with much to recommend it – if Murray learns, as I’m sure he will, that there comes a point when it’s necessary to stop describing everything and let the action take over then he has the potential to become a very fine thriller writer indeed. I look forward to reading more from him.

NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Random House Cornerstone.

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