Thursday, July 28, 2016

Review: The Last One by Alexandra Oliva

Blurb from Goodreads:
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 man-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:
This is a book where, even by the end, I'm not sure I was really into it -- I had a lot of moments of considering a DNF but I kept reading.  Although I had a hard time being engaged, I do think this was well done and it will appeal to a certain reader (more on that below).  I was hoping for a bit more tension but it only came in spurts -- the survival part was interesting to me and this was also told intercalary so what actually is happening is only hinted at and you're left to figure it out (which you will).  I just don't have a lot to say about this book -- the premise is good, the ideas were interesting, it had the ability to be compelling and seemed accurate, I just didn't love it.  Sometimes why you didn't ultimately love a book is something that's hard to articulate, especially when there is nothing glaring in terms of plot or writing but that was just the case here.

This is a mash-up between the TV show Survivor, the actual Hunger Games and Station Eleven.  Certain fans of any of those could really like this! The Last One came out earlier this month on July 12, 2016, and you can purchase HERE.
For a moment, I'll just stand there, looking.  Taking in the sight of so many familiar faces, the face of the man I love.  The person who taught me what it was to be honestly generous, to give without expectation or resentment.  Whose steady demeanor and realism helped me to learn that attempting to achieve perfection with every decision is a sure path to unhappiness; that when it comes to choosing a house or a car or a television or a loaf of bread, good enough really is good enough.  Whose cereal-slurping helped me learn that being irritated at someone isn't the same as ceasing to love him, a distinction that I know should be obvious but which has always troubled me.  Who taught me that together is better than alone, even if it's sometimes harder, even if I sometimes forget.


  1. Oh I know what you mean, Eva. Sometimes, there's just something missing from a book that you can't pinpoint. I do like Survivor and The Hunger Games, so I think I'll give it a try. But it's too bad there wasn't enough tension. I would definitely expect a book like this to have lots of tension.

  2. IA, sometimes there's something that just doesn't work in a book -- through no fault of anything in it. I have seen this one around and I've been about two minds about it because I didn't like any of the shows/books you mentioned it's a mix but I think I'll give this one a miss overall

  3. I can't decide if I want to try this one. It's not my normal read. Lately I'm really into romance, so maybe I'll try it way in the future. Great review!

  4. Oh no. That sucks. I've seen this around a lot so I was interested in it. But if that's the case, it may take the back-burner. Great review!

  5. As I was reading the description, The Hunger Games was the first thing to pop into my mind. And then you think the same thing. No, I just don't want to read this one. Even if it is adult. Great review!

  6. Glad you kept reading even if you still didn't love it by the end. ;)

  7. Hmmm I don't think I like the sound of this one. There are too many other books out there that are similar!

  8. Valuable information! Looking forward to seeing your notes posted.
    Invoice Books

  9. I was really looking forward to this, so I hope the reason you didnt enjoy it won't be a reason I won't. Great Review!!
    Tori @ In Tori Lex

  10. This does sound like an interesting concept. I'm really curious, but I don't know that I'd like it seeing that is lacked in execution for you somehow. Great review. I'll do some more investigations. :)

  11. I'm glad you were able to finish this one, because I couldn't! Lol, I had to DNF it. It wasn't for me for sure.

  12. I couldn't get into this one unfortunately. I was so drawn in by the Station Eleven comparison and the overall premise. The writing style just wasn't for me. Great review, Eva!

  13. Great review. As you know, I loved this one but I can see why not everyone would be in love with it. Sorry you didn't love it more.


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