REVIEW – The Last by Hanna Jameson

If I could describe this book in one word, it would be: claustrophobic.

I’m so used to post-apocalyptic books involving a lot of movement and travel and discovery, but we spend the majority of The Last inside L’Hotel Sixieme – and it WORKS.

I don’t want to say too much because I think it’s worth going into only knowing the synopsis. I know it’s probably being compared to Station Eleven, but this also gives me some Bird Box vibes.

One of the blurbs on the back of the book says “It’s Stephen King meets Agatha Christie” and I think that’s fairly accurate. The Last features a cast of characters who aren’t all what they seem, and also there’s horror in the mundane and routine (which is the most chilling part of this book).

We only know what’s happening from the perspective of one character, so I’m sure there’s a lot going on at the hotel that we miss. He also seems to be unreliable at times, but that just adds to the feelings of isolation and insanity that run underneath the main plot.

Don’t sleep on this book – it’s a great one (and make sure you visit the dentist regularly!)

Thank you to Atria for providing me with a copy of this book.

REVIEW – The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey

I would recommend going into this book blind, and I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to ruin it for anyone.

[spoilers start here!]

This book is not at all what I expected. I thought our main character Melanie would be some sort of amazing X-Men type character, but she’s actually a highly intelligent zombie that can control her “hunger.”

This book was SO GOOD at the beginning, and just sort of devolved in my opinion.

I was pretty bummed when Sergeant Parks had to die, because he was probably the most interesting and complex character in the book.

REVIEW – Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

What a beautifully written book about the collapse of humanity. Sounds crazy, right?

A flu starts to spread. People die quickly, and in massive numbers. Life as we know it ends. But a new way of life begins.

The beginning terrified me. The thought of a flu that deadly spreading that fast, with no way to stop it. I read another “flu epidemic” book last year and Station Eleven just felt more real and believable.

Part of that might be attributed to the setting. The “future” part of the book takes place in Michigan. Places like Traverse City, Petoskey and Mackinaw City are mentioned. When I read the line about the Mackinac Bridge, I had to pause for a moment. I’ve spent a lot of time in northern Michigan so it was easy for me to picture exactly what Mandel was describing. (I understand this varies by reader.)

I love how this book reminds the reader about what was lost in the collapse. Sure, you might think about living without the internet, without electricity. But ice cream. Baseball. Even adding milk to tea.

I also love how the book jumps two decades into the future – so many apocalyptic novels (at least the ones I read) deal solely with the immediate aftermath.

Overall an emotional, immersive book.