Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The Last by Hanna Jameson

Jon was attending an academic conference in Switzerland when the news hit. Nuclear weapons had been deployed in multiple countries. Washington is no more. Scotland has been obliterated. His fellow conference attendees decided to try and get out, find a plane or some other way back home. He stayed. 

As a historian, he feels it's his duty to chronicle the happenings for future reference. Even if there won't be any future reference, he prefers to be prepared. He and the fellow survivors holed up in his hotel are stretching their resources, rationing their food, and doing their best to stay alive until help comes. But when a body is discovered in one of the water tanks on the roof, Jon turns his eye from simple record keeping to investigating. 

As time passes, not only does it seem someone might not want Jon to solve what is clearly a murder but their careful semblance of order begins to turn into chaos. Resources are dwindling and there's danger outside the hotel's walls. Not only that, they've come to realize help is probably not coming at all. 

I enjoyed The Last as much as I enjoy any other post-apocalyptic read. And I do still quite enjoy post-apocalyptic reads! 

This one differed just a bit in that it tied current events into the book, making it all that much more unsettling. One of the things with this kind of read is that you can't help but calculate the feasibility of the particular apocalypse chosen by the author and, in this case, that feasibility is definitely high. It's one of the points of tension throughout the book as well as the characters, spread in nationality, turn their eyes to those they think are responsible for this event due to political views. Something I also find quite feasible. 

The addition of the murder is what set this book a bit apart. But the balance seemed somewhat off, as though the story wasn't quite sure what it wanted to be. Is it a post apocalyptic story with a mystery intertwined within it? Or is it a post apocalyptic story showing how quickly the breakdown in humanity occurs? More the latter than the former and yet the focus still wasn't quite as sharp in that regard as I thought it should have been either. 

All that's to say The Last is an entertaining and dark read but not a particularly intellectually deep one. Which is completely fine with me as I'm not sure I could have handled too much deep though with something that hits so close to home politically. 

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