Monday, October 03, 2016

The Last One

The Last One. Alexandra Oliva. 2016. 304 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: The first one on the production team to die will be the editor.

Premise/plot: What if a virus/plague destroyed life-as-we-know-it in the United States while a survival-themed reality TV show was being filmed? What if the twelve contestants didn't know what was going on in the outside world? What if they stumbled upon the truth but didn't believe it, clinging to the fact that the reality show has a big budget and a cruel sense of humor? Well, I don't know about "they," but Zoo whose perspective we share is the LAST ONE to know the truth.

My thoughts: Didn't care for this thriller. I didn't find it as compelling as 'a thriller' should have been. Zoo--and all the other characters--are minimally developed. And the action/adventure aspect of it lacked suspense because while Zoo may have been the last to know that all the dead and decaying bodies were real, readers were never in the dark. Readers are smarter than Zoo for about 90% of the book. Since Zoo wasn't fully fleshed out as a character--with depth and substance--I didn't get much from her chapters. Though I preferred her chapters--the "now" chapters--to the "then" chapters which focused exclusively on the television show and the twelve contestants. There was no reason to truly keep reading--other than stubbornness (I have plenty)--since there was no suspense.

I think it comes down to this: if I can't have character-driven fiction (my favorite favorite) then give me ACTION with suspense, lots and lots and lots of tension and suspense. Force me to "enter into temptation" and contemplate peeking ahead to the end. Keep me focused on what may or may not happen next. Throw in twists and surprises, if you want. Keep me guessing about the motivations of this character or that character. But somehow, someway engage me. I don't personally think it's suspense when readers know it's real from page one and the main character is the last one to know just about everything there is to know.


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
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  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
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I am not a fan of:

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  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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