Genre: dystopia. ⭐️Stars from Goodreads: 3.77. ⭐️Stars from me: 4.
I fell in love The Last as soon as I read the excerpt. I love good writing. As long as the story flows naturally, I want it, regardless of the genre or description. That was exactly what happened with The Last. More than that, I found the description very intriguing. Who wouldn’t?
BREAKING: Nuclear weapon detonates over Washington
BREAKING: London hit, thousands feared dead.
BREAKING: Munich and Scotland hit. World leaders call for calm.
This is a story about a group of people left stranded in a Swiss hotel after nuclear bombs demolish major cities and wipe out most of the planet’s population. People are left with no connection to the outside world, no ways to learn about their families, no news. There’s also not enough food and it’s getting very cold as the nuclear winter begins. It’s a whole new life now for those who survived. There are new rules, and the values get adapted to the new reality.
What I loved about the book
I loved the protagonist’s voice. I could hear him and I believed him. He felt absolutely real.
Whenever I closed the book, the atmosphere stayed with me. It was so consuming that for a few nights I was having apocalyptic dreams.
I loved how the plot branched out to so many different storylines. I really couldn’t let go of the book, I had to know what happened next.
The higher purpose
The book is very thought-provoking. It makes you debate and argue. The topics will not leave you indifferent, and I am especially thankful for that.
What I liked less
The background stories of characters
I think the book progresses rather slowly in the parts where the background stories are introduced. I really wanted more action in those places and felt a bit bored.
The description of how the community changed
I would love to see more examples of how the community changes. The book merely states that people did change, but because there are no actual actions to demonstrate it, the statement alone feels forced.
What I disliked a lot
One of the choices the characters made
Imagine you live in a diminishing community and suddenly discover a dangerous member amongst you. It’s not clear if he’s really guilty but the presumption of innocence doesn’t exist anymore so he’s presumed dangerous. What do we do with him? Just for the record, we constantly need people to search for food, someone to dig graves, someone to clean, to watch over water supplies. There’s lots of other work that’s needed for the survival of our small community. What would we do with such a member then? Would we try to make him somehow useful? Maybe, we’d lock him in the basement with a task to attempt growing mushrooms for the community (or any other useful task)? Well, the people in The Last make a very different choice.
I feel like the book is trying to make a statement that if people choose wrong leaders, or don’t speak up against wrong leaders, we will have a nuclear war. I would have loved it if The Last had gone even deeper than that. No lunatics in power is a good idea. No power would have been an even better one.
The Last is interesting, fast-paced and easy to read. It’s also multilayered and thought-provoking. I’m giving it 4 stars and I will gladly recommend it to anybody who’s interested in this genre. The digital version of the book is already out. The paperback will be available from 31st January.
Thanks a lot to the publishers for my copy in exchange for my honest review.
4 thoughts on “The Last by Hanna Jameson”
Great review, Alexandra! I love good writing, and it sounds like here it was complemented by a decent plot.
Great review, I finished the book a couple of days ago and it is still lingering. I know what you mean about the decision you refer to but I wondered if it was an example of mob mentality in that sort of situation. Either way it was an uncomfortable read! (I also got apocalyptic dreams!)
I love your review – thank you for so clearly setting out your reactions to the book without providing major spoilers – far harder than you make it look:))
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