Genre: Fiction, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Thriller
Survival is the name of the game as the line blurs between reality TV and reality itself in Alexandra Oliva’s fast-paced novel of suspense.
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 human-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.
Sophisticated and provocative, The Last One is a novel that forces us to confront the role that media plays in our perception of what is real: how readily we cast our judgments, how easily we are manipulated.
*Received from Netgalley*
This book was a little confusing for me which makes this review quite difficult. There are two timelines in this book, one from the main character “Zoo” and one from the TV show perspective of all the contestants.
Zoo is a young woman who has signed up to this survival TV show where basically she is being tested to see how far she can be pushed before she snaps, she is among 11 others competing for a million dollars if they are the last contestant standing. They are told that they will be alone for long periods of time and that they will be tested and pushed to their limits, therefore when they do not encounter anyone for days they do not see anything out of the ordinary, they just think it is part of the game. In reality a plague has struck and has wiped out most of the population leaving our main character alone in what she thinks is a twisted game when in fact it is reality. What is real and what is fake in this world?
So the idea of this book sounded amazing, is is twisted and definitely in the category of psychological thriller. However I just found it a little slow, when action occurred it was great and I flew through those parts however the majority of the book was just filler and so I found it quite difficult to get through.
I really liked how the book portrayed the media in this book, how they can manipulate things to make the viewers think something happened when it didn’t. It made the book quite an interesting read. The book also contains little sections of forums which show comments made by the viewers about what they think of the characters and the show itself, I liked this aspect, it was different to see that viewpoint of someone who only knows what the media wants them to see, they don’t know the ins and outs of it like the reader does.
It was interesting to read knowing that the world had ended but also seeing it from the contestant’s point of view, them just thinking it was part of the game and that it was just the producers being twisted. It built up the tension because the reader knows that eventually the contestant will find out and obviously we don’t know how they will react to this news after everything they have already gone through.
The ending was a bit sudden for me although I do like stories where everything is wrapped up neatly in a little bow, however this didn’t happen so I did finish the book feeling like there could have been more to the story, maybe just one more chapter would have neatly summed everything up but it didn’t so I wasn’t too pleased with it and was left feeling a little underwhelmed.
For me this book was ok but not great, it definitely has the potential to be an amazing book for it just wasn’t quite there. I think it does have a great story idea and I would say read it but at times it can be a little slow and the two timelines can be a little confusing but the twists are good so it might just balance out as good.
Summing up: A twisty apocalyptic tale