It's the End of the World. Who Will You Be? | Review of The Last by Hanna Jameson
The Last | Hanna Jameson
Publication Date: April 9th, 2019
Publisher: Atria Books (my copy was sent free by the publisher, but that doesn’t affect my review!)
Page Count: 352
Why I Picked It Up: I’m a sucker for a post-apocalyptic thriller, and the gorgeous cover drew me in.
Synopsis: From Amazon - Jon thought he had all the time in the world to respond to his wife’s text message: I miss you so much. I feel bad about how we left it. Love you. But as he’s waiting in the lobby of the L’Hotel Sixieme in Switzerland after an academic conference, still mulling over how to respond to his wife, he receives a string of horrifying push notifications. Washington, DC has been hit with a nuclear bomb, then New York, then London, and finally Berlin. That’s all he knows before news outlets and social media goes black—and before the clouds on the horizon turn orange.
Now, two months later, there are twenty survivors holed up at the hotel, a place already tainted by its strange history of suicides and murders. Those who can’t bear to stay commit suicide or wander off into the woods. Jon and the others try to maintain some semblance of civilization. But when the water pressure disappears, and Jon and a crew of survivors investigate the hotel’s water tanks, they are shocked to discover the body of a young girl.
As supplies dwindle and tensions rise, Jon becomes obsessed with investigating the death of the little girl as a way to cling to his own humanity. Yet the real question remains: can he afford to lose his mind in this hotel, or should he take his chances in the outside world?
Opening Sentence: “Nadia once told me that she was kept awake at night by the idea that she would read about the end of the world on a phone notification… for me, three days ago, it happened over complimentary breakfast.”
My Thoughts: I LOVE dystopian fiction, and THE LAST was a worthy addition to the genre.
Now, this isn't a thriller so don't go in expecting a ton of twists and action. It's more of a well crafted, tense think piece about what would happen if a group of strangers who do not all speak the same language and who are from different countries got stranded in a Swiss hotel after nuclear war has destroyed most major cities in the world. There's also a murder mystery.
Parts of this were really strong. I love the "it's the end of the world- who will you be?" theme. The situations the characters got in to made you consider if some people have more worth than others in this situation. I also liked reading through the moral dilemmas the characters grapple with: what happens when a member of the group does something horrible? Should people be able to have access to the guns? etc. I didn't care for the girl in the water tank element- but I see why the protagonist, professor Jon, did. I would have like to know more of the characters’ stories and had a touch more action. The book was grim, but how could it not be? All of this to say, it was a very interesting and very realistic story about people who strive to keep a semblance of humanity during unthinkable times- and those that don’t.
“It wasn't happiness. It wasn't peace. But sometimes, for us, it had been quiet.”
Oh- and side note. I’d be super dead. I'm too trusting.
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