Friday, September 23, 2016

The Last One by Alexandra Oliva

    • The Last One by Alexandra Oliva
    • Published July 12, 2016
    • Debut novel

    • Twelve contestants are cast on an extreme reality show.
      • The game has elements of the TV show "Survivor" but is much more brutal and not nearly as structured.
    • The contestants can quit at any time by using a specific Latin phrase. The winner will be the final contestant after 11 have quit, however long it takes. 
      • They start off with team challenges and will segue into the individual challenges after a few days.
    • Each contestant is referred to by a nickname bestowed by the producer, giving a window on each character's TV "narrative". 
      • "Survivor" does this by editing the footage to create "heroes" and "villains" for each season.
      • The main character is called Zoo because she loves animals (or worked with them, I forget). There are also Rancher, Cheerleader Boy, Asian Chick (who becomes Carpenter Chick after she shows her skills during the competition), Waitress, Engineer, Biology, Air Force, Black Doctor, Tracker, Banker and Exorcist.
    • The story has two threads: one following the competition from the start and the other following Zoo about 3 weeks later as the game continues.
    • From the prologue chapter the reader knows that a deadly pandemic will strike the outside world in about 3 days, killing off millions of people, including the Host, the producer and the cameramen. The contestants are convinced this is all part of the game.

    • I really liked this book and it's "reality show meets the apocalypse" storyline. That said, I would have liked to see the whole thing play out without the deadly disease portion.
      • You get to know the characters from the beginning and it would have been fun to see who thrived and who fell by the wayside without the randomness of the virus killing off people at random.
    • Zoo convinces herself of some rather crazy scenarios but you can see how she might do so, given how realistic TV shows make things seem today.
    • Recommended for those who like apocalyptic fiction and outdoor-based reality shows.
    • I don't get the sense that this is a continuing series so I am pretty sure this is a standalone novel. That earns many points from me these days.


  1. Exorcist? Skilled at head spinning and soup spewing or removing devil possession? Identified three by gender and two by "race." How relevant is the Latin phrase? What does the winner get? I can hardly wait for the sequel...

    1. The "Exorcist" makes his living by removing demonic possession. He is the "villain".
      The Latin phrase translates to something like "I surrender to the night". (The program is called, for the one week it's on the air, "In the Dark".)
      The winner gets $1,000,000.