Thursday, June 6, 2024

Review: The Last One by Alexandra Oliva

Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pages: 295
Format: ARC
Buy the Book: Amazon

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 human-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.

Kritters Thoughts:  A little bit Survivor tv show with a pandemic on the side and while this book was published in 2016, reading it in 2024 after a pandemic has really happened felt VERY surreal and added an extra element to my reading.  

Twelve contestants are dropped into the woods with camera men and producers, but are prepped to have days and challenges alone where they may not even know they are being filmed, so suspend belief a little, but not too far off from a truth.  With chapters that bounce back and forth in time without the reader getting info made for a few times of frustration, but once I got the gist, I enjoyed going back and forth in time.  While the chapters that take place more at the beginning challenge with all the contestants battling mixed in with the chapters that focus on Zoo/Mae as she is out on her own grappling with admitting to reality and slowly discovering what could have happened beyond the challenge.  

Without spoiling the book, I will have to say in general, I didn't love the ending.  I was left in such a place where I wanted one or more chapters to really feel like I could see Zoo/Mae off onto the next part of her adventure and life.  


Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Ballantine Books.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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