The Last One

The Last One

A Novel

eBook - 2016
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"For readers of Station Eleven and The Passage comes a dazzling and unsettling novel of psychological suspense. In Alexandra Oliva's thrilling fiction debut, survival is the name of the game, as the line blurs between reality TV and reality itself--and one woman's mind and body are pushed to the limit. 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 man-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. Advance praise for The Last One: "The Last One seamlessly melds two of our contemporary obsessions--the threat of global catastrophe and the staged drama of reality TV--into a fiercely imagined tale of the human psyche under stress. This is an uncompromising, thought-provoking debut."--Justin Cronin. "Haunting, moving, and remarkable, Alexandra Oliva's debut novel is clever in its concept and gripping in its delivery. This propulsive book is for everyone who
ever thought reality television signaled the end of the world."--Karen Joy Fowler. "Taut, tense, and at times almost unbearably real, The Last One is both a compelling read, and a terrifyingly believable evocation of survival against the odds."--Ruth Ware, New York Times bestselling author of In a Dark, Dark Wood. "Page-turning and deeply unsettling."--Rosamund Lupton, internationally bestselling author of Sister"-- Provided by publisher.
"She wanted an adventure. She never imagined it would go this far . . . For the filming of a new reality TV show, 12 contestants of different backgrounds and varying talent are pitted against one another in a remote New England forest to determine who has the best survival skills. Separately, we come to know one of those contestants intimately as she sets out alone, a few weeks into the future, to complete her solo challenge. But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she comes to see that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways while they've been away--and her ability to parse the charade will either be her triumph or her undoing"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York :, Ballantine Books,, 2016
ISBN: 9781101965092
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file,rda
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor

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i
iujigga2003
Nov 25, 2019

Liked the idea and plot of the story but felt author didn't utilize the story line very well. The game show seemed to end rather abruptly and felt like the action and details of the apocalypse was lacking.

r
ryner
Aug 01, 2019

There's a new reality show in production, an Amazing-Race-meets-Survivor hybrid. Twelve contestants are given minimal equipment and provisions, and must complete tasks and navigate terrain using clues and their wits to reach various checkpoints. Isolated in the landscape and focused on their own survival and success in the competition, they are completely unaware that a devastating disaster is transpiring in the real world outside the game.

This is a genuine page-turner, and the entertaining descriptions of common editing techniques used to build suspense, guide the narrative, create (manufacture?) drama and generate intrigue in the reality TV industry feel totally spot-on. Though the ending faltered ever so slightly, I couldn't put it down.

q
queensthief
Feb 12, 2019

Would recommend to those who like Station Eleven, Hunger Games, or Survivor. Should appeal to fans of wilderness skills/social commentary/post-apocalyptic novels.
Exciting, fast-paced, compelling

WCLSFerndaleLibrary Oct 03, 2017

I really liked this book. Going in between different narrators was smart. There were new ideas for the apocalypse genre, and the I found the main character, "Zoo's" interpretation of what was going on around her fascinating.

j
jkroselawn
Jul 08, 2017

Do not waste your time! I rarely return a book w/o finishing it, but I forced myself to give this one 50 pages. It is even rarer for me to post a review. However, I am very discouraged by the fact that this book is written by a young woman. I found it to be sexist and racist. I am surprised none of the other reviewers here have mentioned that. The women contestants are said to be chosen for their hair color or breast size. Is that how the men were chosen? And they are referred to by profiled terms such as "Waitress" (not Waiter or Waitperson?) and such unnecessary racism as "Black Doctor" and "Asian Chick" --a double slur! Yikes. After it was discovered that this woman had skills (so one can only assume all women are surmised to be unskilled in this world...), she is referred to as "Asian Carpenter Chick" -- great. With so many better books out there, I am returning this and moving on to another novel, although I actually feel like burning it and taking it out of circulation!

j
jessica_reads
Apr 29, 2017

Conceptually this book could have been especially intriguing, playing with the boundaries and intermingling of the perception of reality through media and our own interaction with the world. The behind the scenes of a reality television show feels realistic (I say this being of limited exposure to the genre.). The game is contrived and masterfully edited to influence and dictate viewer opinions of the participants. The internet article comments section chapter breaks are fun (with a cult TV reference or two) but don't really add much but to redirect the reader between Past Zoo and Present Zoo. Zoo's survival instincts and drive - challenged by both a Survivor-like TV show and an actual plague - naturally encourage the reader to question their own abilities to survive in those circumstances.

It wasn't terrible, but the casual reader may not want to continue the story. The ending of the book felt open enough in case Alexandra Oliva wanted to continue the story as a series, but would be fine as a a standalone book.

JCLDianeH Apr 29, 2017

What is real and what is staged? How can we tell what is happening naturally and what has been manufactured? And is Reality TV really just a product edited for maximum viewership?

ArapahoeLesley Dec 01, 2016

Told in two interfiled parts, one the commentary on modern social media/entertainment and the other, Zoo's story from her own pov. Now, the commentary was the more entertaining part of the book, the odd manipulations of editors, the impersonal nature of it all (hence the lack of actual names) but this aspect of the book is just this... commentary, not a story.

Zoo's story picks up and leaves off between flashbacks to the beginnings of this reality tv show while she is presuming to be nearing it's end. This part is more repetitive, with Zoo's constant self-reassurance about the game and playing the game and looking for clues and creating clues and justifying everything. For such a short book it's surprising I needed to put the book down to take a break from Zoos inner game playing monologue.

But in the end you see all the whys and wherefores of Zoos behavior and I became more forgiving. Though I just wanted her to let the kid speak for once!

m
miaone
Nov 30, 2016

I found it breathtaking and could hardly put it down. I didn't dare read it at bedtime or I'd never have gotten to sleep.

b
BWilsoned
Nov 11, 2016

When the contestants agreed to be on a survival contest show, little did they suspect it would become a real-life survival struggle. When a pandemic sweeps the world as the show is being filmed, some contestants find it hard to separate themselves from the "reality" show and reality. Taut and suspenseful, this story shows how far a person can go in their minds to make events fit their internal script.

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