The Last Book Review
The Last: One Hotel. Twenty Survivors. One of them is a murderer.
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
This book was given to me as part of the marketing campaign, and I have worked with the publisher before. However, this review is my honest opinion.
Yes, you read the title right, it’s a book review! For anyone who has been following me on Instagram, my year started with a massive reading slump. No matter what book it was, it just wouldn’t grab me and I was getting really frustrated by the whole thing. And then I was sent a free press copy of The Last by Hanna Jameson and I was hooked from the first page. It lives up to all of the review quotes on the front cover; it really is fast paced and thought provoking, it was what I needed to reignite my love for reading.
The Last follows the story of Jon Keller, who finds himself staying in a hotel in Switzerland when the world ends because of nuclear weapons. He finds the body of a murdered girl in a water tank, and now he has no idea who to trust anymore. Intrigued? I certainly was!
What I loved about this book is that it was very believable and very current. On multiple occasions, the American characters have arguments over who they voted for in the presidential election, blaming them for nuclear war. It doesn’t sugar coat anything, there’s a lot of suicides, drug misuse and paranoia… All of which would likely happen if the world suddenly came to an end. The book is told by days instead of chapters to keep along with the theme that Jon is actually just writing down what is happening to him. Because of this, the fourth wall gets broken a lot and Jon often talks directly to you, the reader. For some reason, this really took me back and freaked me out a little bit. It really did feel like I was reading about how the world actually ended, and I’m reading about what happened to a character who I have no idea is actually alive or dead thanks to the open ending!
Character wise, I thought this book was done really well. They are all flawed, and I wouldn’t really say they were ‘good’ people, they were imperfect and that’s what made it so darn believable. Jon I thought was a bit annoying at some times and he could sometimes write in clichés, but I think this was done intentionally by Jameson. Jon isn’t a fiction writer, so he therefore wouldn’t be all that great at writing. Plus, it’s the end of the bloody world! A lot of writing rules were broken in this, like when Jon would randomly decide to say ‘I should probably tell you a bit about myself’ and decide to tell us backstory rather than show us, which writers are always taught not to do. But it works for this book, it really does. By far, my favourite characters were Tomi for her bad-assery and constantly showing up the men, and Adam for his britishness. He was great, and also has a ghost boy that watches him when he sleeps, so yeah, that’s fun.
But this book is so much more than its plot and characters. It’s a book that made me question my own ethics and morality. I’m very strongly against the death penalty, but when the group had to decide whether someone who had done something terrible should be exiled, lived and imprisoned, or die, I found myself siding with the die option. It made me question what type of person I would become if I found myself living after the apocalypse. Would there really be any right or wrong anymore? How far would I go to ensure my own safety and protection? Would I really be able to kill someone if it came down to it? The Last gives you a lot of impossible questions to think about.
I really, really loved this book and I’m always going to remember that it was the book that got me out of my reading slump. It’s dark, unique and thought provoking and would recommend this to any reader who wants something fast paced because this is a real page turner!
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