The Last One by Alexandra Oliva
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
The premise behind this book really intrigued me, because I'm personally a fan of so called "reality" tv shows, and survival and post-apocalyptic? Reading the synopsis I was grabbed by the idea behind it, my imagination started to go... to different place...but it didn't get any better than that. "So what" was what I thought by the end.
At the beginning it was a struggle to get into the book, because I feel like the introducing was over-done. There are 12 total contestants I believe, but none of them are actually even given set names, but instead have pseudonyms like the Cheerleader Boy and Carpenter Chick and Waitress. The problem is that the main character Zoo, uses their real names in her narrative, in 1st person, so there are two names to every face depending on which lens we are looking through throughout.
Even throughout the book, this mish-mash of stereotypical "labels" got really mixed up in my brain, but maybe that's just a poor memory thing. Frankly for starters, we had one paragraph snippets about each of these people and their individual lives, but the author does an overdose on adjectives right from the start. In my opinion, this was just unnecessary information, because the reader is supposed to get to know the characters naturally as the story progresses. I would have preferred if the editor just cut those parts out, and let our brains decide their personalities.
I think that the root of my dislike that I felt emotional detachment towards the characters. I honestly didn't care at all what would happen to them in the competition or after. They just never clicked in my brain; and I found myself too disconnected, like a viewer watching them from my tv at home. Which would be OK, if that's all that I wanted from this book, but I actually wanted to feel like I'm alongside them participating in their activities. Disappointingly at the end of the book when I sat back and reflected I felt like saying: "so what?"
There was a major lull about 3/4 into the book, and it was boring me to tears. I honestly had to actually force my hands to pick my Kindle up and pledge to not get distracted by other things. I was just so frustrated at Zoo/Mae so I wanted to shout to her to just "wake up and look around you!". By that time, I legitimately hated her ignorance at the present state, and her refusal to believe a truth that was right in front of her. I'll stop there because /spoiler/ but honestly it annoyed the hell out of me seeing that she was literally and mentally blind to the shit going on around her.
Please note, this book is told in reverse order. So there are flashbacks of what happened the first couple of challenges and days/weeks, and then there are the "present" time where Zoo is a wandering survivor, and let's just leave it at that. It all felt a little too disjointed to me, because even though I understood the reason why this had to be done (mystery)- I just felt like there was really only one goal: not quitting the game & also coming out of it alive.
Also can I just rant about how horribly confusing the ending was, not to mention unrealistically lucky? My head is still reeling from those events because of this foreshadowed twist that I didn't necessarily want to happen in the plot. Hopefully, one day I'll put the puzzle pieces together if I reread that last bit; but the author should have done their job the first time.
*Disclaimer: I received this title from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
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