The Last One by Alexandra Olivia

Details/Synopsis

  • My rating: 3 Stars27245997
  • Goodreads
  • Amazon
  • Pages: 304 Hardcover
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • Spoiler-free review

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.


My Review

Hey guys, long time no see! I’ve had a huge reading slump, but the good news is that I’ve gotten through enough books to reach my goal of 100 for 2016! Yay! I was nervous that 100 would be a little ambitious, but I’ve been reading about 10 books a month until recently so it wasn’t too much of a problem. How are you guys doing on your reading challenges?

I was so excited when I received this in the mail (disclaimer: the awesome lady at Random House sent this to me in exchange for a review, but this does not affect my opinions in any way). The blurb for this book sounds totally awesome–a sort of mix between “Survivor”, “Lost”, and The Hunger Games. Unfortunately, the story fell totally flat for me.

The narration alternates between the present POV of our main character, Zoo, and the past. This was my first obstacle. It was strange adjusting to such a drastic change every chapter, and usually I would forget what was happening in one or the other. I think it would have been better for the author to write chronologically, because the plot of the game show portion of the book was pretty entertaining. However, when it was interjected with Zoo’s POV, it just became totally overwhelming.

The next strange thing for me was the weird mixing of genres. Like I said before, there is kind of a Survivor-esque theme, but then Olivia adds weird twists of other genres…because apparently an apocalypse also takes place in the book. While the main character is on a game show. In the middle of the woods. Which I guess is kind of cool, but it seems very forced. It doesn’t flow naturally. I think Olivia was trying to create a “real or not real” vibe, but unfortunately it was very easy to see through this.

I honestly don’t know how to explain how weird this book is. On the one hand, there is extreme detail of the survival show, like you’re watching an actual episode, and on the other is post-apocalyptic disease fighting. The match-up just didn’t connect for me and the book was almost unbearable to read.

Otherwise, the writing was average, the characters were average, the ending was average. This book is just average. A disappointment, but at least now I know that I don’t like apocalypses and game shows in the same book.

Sorry for such an incomplete (and incoherent?) review. It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these but hopefully I’ll get back on track soon. Bye for now!

(P.S. I just finished The Midnight Star by Marie Lu and WOW. WOW. Why is she so good at beautiful, bittersweet endings? I cried Champion-level tears on this one.)

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