I found The Last One from a link that said if you liked Wonder Woman, you’ll like these books. I read the description, and thought that maybe it would be too much for me (I do not like scary things AT ALL, I am a big wimp), but I made it through and I liked it well enough. The book tells the story of reality show contestants sent off into the woods and put through the usual team and individual challenges in order to survive. The show seems like it has a bigger budget then your standard reality television show, and there is more money spent on special effects designed to torment the contestants. So Fear Factor meets Survivor meets a Bear Grylls. The contestants aren’t given names, just stereotypical titles. The main character is Zoo, a woman who wants to have her last adventure before having kids.
Then a plague strikes the area of production, and somehow no one gets to Zoo and tells her what happens. No one looks for her, and no one with a car is alive long enough to get her out of the area, Even though it is revealed that all of the other contestants were evacuated that survived the initial spread of the disease. She strikes out to find her way home, thinking it is another challenge from the show. Then you have to suspend your belief for a long time. There are multiple occasions where she encounters dead bodies, and bodies of children. She either doesn’t check them, or just assumes they are special effects from the show. The author makes a case that at first, she might think the bodies are faked, but at a certain point, it is hard to believe she blindly presses forward without finding out what it going on around her.
Zoo runs into a young boy who is the only survivor of a large group of people including his parents. For several chapters, they have dueling conversations where she thinks he is an actor from the show, and he thinks she’s a crazy lady wondering in the woods. The moments where she finally realizes she is not on the show anymore are heartbreaking. There is also a point where you see her husband (who survives) trying to reach out to anyone on the show and find his wife. Zoo is an interesting character,and the book moves along at a quick pace. I can’t say I enjoyed it, but I thought it was an interesting book and I’m glad I stuck with it. There is something fascinating about the bubble that reality show contestants are put in. I like that you have to put together who the contestants during the sections from her point of view. Some readers might find the ending abrupt and incomplete. This is not my typical genre, so I am glad I read something out of my usual comfort zone.