Anissa's Reviews > The Last One

The Last One by Alexandra Oliva
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2016, arcs-analog-netgalley-edelweiss-etc, apocalyptic-and-post-apocalyptic, science-fiction
Recommended to Anissa by: netgalley
Recommended for: fans of quieter post-apocalyptic stories

I quite enjoyed this one. Admittedly, the blurb referencing Station Eleven and also The Passage pulled me in. I'd read the former within the last month or so & had just finished reading the final installment in the latter's trilogy. So was I ready to read more post-apocalyptic fiction? Most definitely. I'm not exactly sure where this comes in as an intersection between the two but as a reader of both of those books, I did enjoy this, so the mentions worked this time.

Zoo (our main character, her name is revealed very near the end) is a participant in what promised to be an all out blockbuster budget reality show. I admit now that I've never watched any reality television so I can't say how the portrayal of that part of the story matches with actual. I don't know that I appreciated that part of the story as much as I could if I were more familiar with them. Honestly, none of the characters who peopled The Dark Wood stayed with me and ultimately, they didn't feel as important that the time spent with them would have suggested. What I did appreciate was the unvarnished look in at the staging of it all from casting to how drama and events may be created or obscured by a master manipulator, the editor. It was cringeworthy in a way that felt true and I thought it was well done.

What I very much enjoyed was the part of then story that was focused on Zoo once she is away from the group and after she's entered the world in the after. Her thoughts about her husband and parents were rendered well and also her anxiety about becoming a mother. She was an interesting character to follow and I cared about her mental state but also understood the duality of believing the game to be wholly immersive and the denial that the world has gone through something utterly cataclysmic and she may be alone. Who wouldn't want to cling to the idea that the game was still in play and everything in the wasteland is all a set piece? But I still desperately wanted her to have something happen that jarred her in a way that she could deny no longer. This aspect of the story held good tension. I won't spoil because the journey is so worth it but I will say that as a girl with glasses, I empathized with her trekking along with only one lens remaining from her broken pair. I don't know how long I could stand it, in the after, with my uncorrected vision. I was amazed she wasn't rooting through a drug store earlier on for a pair of Foster Grants or whatever. Who knew I could muster so much happiness to have a character finally come upon a Lens Crafters?!

I did think there were a few happenstances that felt a bit trite in the ending (view spoiler) but I didn't mind them enough that my overall enjoyment was hindered. I loved all things Brennan.

Definitely recommended and I'll keep a lookout for future books by the author. This is definitely a very good debut.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
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Reading Progress

April 25, 2016 – Started Reading
April 25, 2016 – Shelved
April 25, 2016 – Shelved as: 2016
April 25, 2016 – Shelved as: arcs-analog-netgalley-edelweiss-etc
April 30, 2016 – Finished Reading
May 13, 2018 – Shelved as: apocalyptic-and-post-apocalyptic
June 15, 2020 – Shelved as: science-fiction

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