Thursday, August 11, 2016

Quick Pick: The Last One, by Alexandra Oliva

  • Opening lines: The first one on the production team to die will be the editor. He doesn't yet feel ill, and he's no longer out in the field. He went out only once, before filming started, to see the woods and to shake the hands of the men whose footage he'd be shaping; asymptomatic transmission. He's been back for more than a week now and is sitting alone in the editing studio, feeling perfectly well. His T-shirt reads: COFFEE IN, GENIUS OUT. He taps a key and images flicker across the thirty-two-inch screen dominating his cluttered workstation.
  • Reason I picked up the book: I had downloaded a copy via NetGalley, and wanted something to read on my flight out to LA for BlogHer last week. 
  • And what's this book about?
  • 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. Sophisticated and provocative, The Last One is a novel that forces us to confront the role that media plays in our perception of what is real: how readily we cast our judgments, how easily we are manipulated.
  • Favorite paragraph: "The game will continue until only one person remains, and the only way out is to quit." No one knows how long the show will last, not the creators, not the contestants. Their contracts said no less than five weeks and no more than twelve, though a fine-print footnote actually allows for sixteen weeks in the case of extenuating circumstances. "Ad tenebras dedi," says the host. "There is no other way. And regarding this, the contestants are truly In the Dark."
  • Recommended for: Anyone who likes an interesting story, and particularly those who are fans of The Walking Dead, Survivor, and/or The Hunger Games.
  • Something to know: I found this to be a mashup of The Walking Dead (minus the zombies) meets Survivor (the TV show) and it was very interesting, especially after an event occurs that Zoo (main protagonist) doesn't know about; she still thinks she's playing the game/still in the TV show that she signed up for.
  • What I would have changed: Nothing. 
  • Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
  • Where can I find this book? Click here to order on Amazon.


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