The Last One
by Alexandra Oliva
Published: July 12, 2016
The brain is a terrifying and wondrous organ, and all it wants is to survive.
I really liked The Last One, but I didn’t love it. I read it pretty quickly, which would normally make me call it a page-turner, but it wasn’t. I could have easily put the book down and forgotten about it at any point. I think certain parts of the book made me continue to pick it up again, while other parts I felt dragged on.
I liked the premise of it where it is a survival-type reality show with 12 contestants that were given nicknames instead of real names, which is exactly what I do when I watch The Amazing Race. These people had solo challenges and team challenges while sometimes being followed by cameramen, and other times, they were told cameras are mounted out of sight. They were aware that even though they were in the middle of the wilderness, they were constantly being filmed. This part of the book I actually liked even though it was written like a reality show recap that also shared behind the scenes of what gets edited out to show the television audience compared to what actually happened. That part made me want to keep coming back to it.
The reality show part alternated with later on in the game where some plague has attacked a good portion of the country and people are dying, but the main character doesn’t know this and thinks that she is still playing the game, even though she hasn’t seen her cameraman in days. She was told that she might not so she thinks nothing is weird about it. While she moves along in the wilderness by herself and fighting off dangers, while later telling herself that it was all fake and part of the game, I wanted to go back to the reality show part where there was more interactions with the characters.
It wasn’t until halfway through the book that I felt I got a sense of the main character. Maybe that is what didn’t draw me in right away in the chapters focusing only on her and why I kept wanting the book to go back to the beginning of the game when everyone was working together or fighting each other.
There were other parts that dragged on for too long, like I never needed to read in graphic detail about how to skin and gut a deer. Ugh! Then, it is described another time for a squirrel and I’m not sure what else. I started skimming as soon as I saw that’s what was being described again.
Towards the end of the book, I was having The Walking Dead flashbacks minus the zombies. There were so many similarities, even though it was different enough that you couldn’t guess what would happen. I liked the hint of a happy ending, but I think I would have liked to actually read about it than being left with what could possibly happen.
This is the author’s debut novel so I’m curious to see what else she writes about because the parts of this novel that I did like, make me want to read more.