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.
This is my third review of the week, folks. I have no idea what has gotten into me.
I'm thrilled that I get to praise another book today, though!
The Last One! I was so skeptical about this book. I thought it was going to be another standard entry in an oversaturated market, but trusted reviewers were making me want to give it stronger consideration.
Most of the reviews I've read are from people who don't watch reality TV but say it doesn't matter to the enjoyment of this book. I don't watch much reality TV, but the one show I do watch is Survivor so I can address it from that point of view. You definitely don't need to be any kind of reality TV fan, but I enjoyed the perspective. We all know those shows boil down to the editing so I got a lot of enjoyment in the portrayal of how heavily edited the shows actually are. The viewer sees the "reality" that gets created on the editing floor.
But enough about the reality TV bit because it's really only a means of setting up what The Last One is all about. The first line of The Last One is "the first one on the production team to die will be the editor".
What is happening while these contestants are out vying for a million dollars? Is it all part of the competition?
I enjoyed this book so much. I read it because I wanted some distracting entertainment. I got that and so much more.
And this is a debut! Two of my favorite books I've read this year are debuts. (This one and Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace.) That's exciting.
The range of folks I would recommend this to is pretty wide. I think it's billed as science fiction. In my opinion, the best genre books blur the lines through all of the speculative fiction genres. Fans of post-apocalypse, zombie (not a zombie book), dystopian (not a dystopian), YA (not a YA), will all find reasons to love this one, too.
8/10: Great Read