Book Review - Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis-Goff
This is a book I definitely wouldn’t have picked up if I didn’t see Sarah’s tweet of a very sexist review that a man left of it. I bought it to spite him. It’s an apocalypse book about zombies, which in my opinion, apocalypse dystopian books have been done to death and need a good few years off. There’s a lot of them around. But I’m actually really glad I picked it up, because it’s not like any of the usual dystopian books I’ve read before.
First off, it’s set in Ireland other than America which is really refreshing to see. That means the book comes with some Irish dialect, which at first I found a bit jarring because I wasn’t used to seeing it written, and in the beginning I found that it stopped my flow a bit. It’s not a negative thing at all, I’m glad it was in there because it felt authentic, it just took a little bit of getting used it. It was nice to see the end of the world happening somewhere other than America.
The book follows the story of Orpen who has been raised by her mother and Maeve on an island off the west coast of Ireland. While the island is safe for now, the rest of the world isn’t and has been devoured by zombies known as skrake. (Oh, and it’s the men’s fault. We aren’t told why, which actually fits the story, but we know it’s the men’s fault. Are we surprised? I’m not.) When Maeve gets bitten, Orpen decides that it’s time to leave the island for good and try and search for other survivors in a place known as Phoenix City. It’s a very quick read that will keep you on your toes, it’s all action, which I’m not used to, but it got my blood pumping and I loved it so much.
I’d go as far to say that it’s one of the most realistic dystopian novels I’ve ever read.
While Orpen has never known what the world before was like, she finds and collects things from the old world, with some of it being propaganda about Phoenix City and female warriors known as Banshees. But Orpen is always indirectly reminding the reader of how lucky we actually are, and how we took this world for granted. I’ve never experienced that in a dystopian novel before, and I think it’s a factor that actually made it more believable to me.
In terms of characters, there aren’t many, which is great, because sometimes these types of books can have too much going on in them. Orpen doesn’t have a huge plot to save the world, she just wants to save Maeve. She’s matter-of-fact and a trained fighter, which means she can sometimes be a little cold. But I still loved her. There’s only one male character throughout the entire book, again which I loved. And he isn’t the strongest and most powerful character out of them all, which was refreshing to see. Having a totally female led book was something I really loved.
I would highly recommend this book even if it isn’t your usual style. It’s quite short, fast paced and a real page turner.