The Last One
Ballantine, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
ere's something both very different and totally engrossing - Alexandra Oliva's
The Last One
. In it, a happily married, adventurous young woman decides on one last fling before she and her husband start a family. But after she signs up for a reality TV wilderness challenge, she gets much more than she bargained for.
he show producers tag her '
' for her love of animals. Other contestants get names like
. The author takes readers back and forth in time between the early days of the production of
In the Dark
and the time it all fell apart. Essentially, a terrible pandemic strikes while contestants refine their survival skills out in the wild, and after they are separated from each other. Some, but not all, are extracted.
oo is one of the ones left
in the dark
. She suffers several days of illness but assumes that it was something she ate or drank. Afterwards, as she sees signs of devastation all around her, she's in denial. Is it real or a part of the reality TV experience that is still remotely monitoring her? Somehow it's easier to believe the latter. It's only after a young survivor, Brennan, convinces her to let him tag along with her that Zoo gradually starts to accept what has really happened.
he Last One
is very well done and kept me glued to its pages, anxious for Zoo's survival. The tale seems especially apt when current global politics also feels like reality TV. I keep pinching myself and asking, '
can this possibly be real?
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