review

THE LAST – HANNA JAMESON

The LastThe Last by Hanna Jameson
My rating: 4/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

i was offered an e-ARC of this book and encouraged to go in blind. i read the synopsis, obviously, to make sure it was within my (admittedly very broad) reading tastes, and from that, i gathered that it was a locked-room mystery with a twist: a young girl’s body is found on the premises of a swiss hotel that is still standing in the aftermath of a nuclear war that has destroyed most of the world, leaving twenty people struggling to make sense of this altered global landscape and now also a murrrrderrrrrr.

the blurbs name-dropped Stephen King, Agatha Christie, The Girl With All the Gifts, Annihilation, calling it “nightmarish,” a”dystopian psychological thriller,” “haunting;” a combination that made me think this was going to be Clue + The Shining + The Road, and that’s a big old ball of YES PLEASE for karen.

do those blurbs accurately convey the tone and content of this book? weeeeellllll… again, i was encouraged to go in blind, and i don’t want to make decisions for anyone else, but mother nature gave us spoiler tags, so imma use them. not to talk about any *actual* plot spoilers, but to share more broadly what this book feels like to read; which expectations were met by the readalikes and which were not. so, it will be tonal spoilers only.

to click or not to click? think of it this way: say you saw the trailer for The Cabin in the Woods and thought – ooh – a horror movie! and then you watched The Cabin in the Woods and realized it was just pretending to be a horror movie. did you feel:

A) misled and cranky
B) delighted
C) what’s The Cabin in the Woods?

if A, view spoiler. if B, do not view spoiler. if C, put down that book, ya nerd!

so.

View Spoiler »

so, that’s what the book is and is not. did i like it? i did. mostly. it meanders a bit, as i’ve mentioned to those of you who went to spoilertown, but for the most part, it achieves its goals of what-iffing the apocalypse and showing how miscommunication, paranoia and sectional alliances can be pretty darn destructive. and nukes. also destructive.

the only other thing i struggled with is a completely personal gripe that i’m mentioning strictly as a self-reminder should i ever need to catalog my own aversions.

the world we live in is fucked. and it’s an especially embarrassing time to be an american. but i have a personal squicky discomfort when contemporary political elements creep into my escapist entertainment.

there’s something off-putting to me about reading this book, whose end-of-world scenario was clearly brought about by our great orange shame, where a character who voted for him is berated by others as complicit to this end-of-world scenario and it basically turns into any day on twitter – vitriolic, divisive, unproductive, issue-laden. it’s completely me and my problem – i had the same reaction to American Horror Story: Cult, and even The Good Fight, although it was used in a much more organic n’ humorous way there.

i think my problem is when what’s already bad is made worse for entertainment; an alarmist spear poking me in the place i’m turning to as an escape.

we know it’s bad. trust me, we are all fully alarmed. the news already feels like a horror movie, i don’t want my horror to feel like the news.

but that’s just me being feeling overwhelmed by how everything is falling apart. quick – raccoons!

three and a half stars cats, rounded up.

read my reviews on goodreads

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