There is nothing better than the feeling of reading the first 20 pages of a book and immediately sinking into another world, feeling like you’re there, watching the story unfold. That is exactly what happened to me when I started reading The Last.
I’ve read many dystopian, apocalyptic, and post-apocalyptic novels but The Last is the first one that seemed so very real and induced a sense of anxiety in me.
The Last follows the diaries – sorry, records! – of Jon, who is holed up in a hotel following the outbreak of nuclear war. Jon’s records give us an insight into the varied psychologies of the people around him as he tries to work out who he can trust and who is a threat to their new post-apocalyptic community. We also gradually get to know Jon, and I particularly enjoyed the rollercoaster of emotions (empathy, anger, frustration) I felt towards him.
The plot is multifaceted and complex but in a way that you might not recognise it until you’ve finished the whole book. I was left with questions about the role of faith, religion, spirituality, politics, and most intensely, the role of women and men in society and what would come of those roles in a post-apocalyptic world.
I am always nervous about the conclusion of post-apocalyptic novels but in this instance, the author got it right – in fact, it caused me to go “OH!” in the middle of a coffee shop, which prompted a few strange looks but it was totally worth it.
Dark, compelling, and disturbing – this book and the emotions it evoked in me will stay with me for a very long time.
Hanna Jameson’s book ‘The Last’ is out on 31st January 2019. Thanks to Penguin Books (UK) and NetGalley for providing a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review.