Last One at the Party by Bethany Clift

My Five Word TL/DR review : Horrible, Darkly Humorous, Brilliant, Emotional

LastoneThis is going to be a fairly quick review because I basically don’t want to give away too much about the story.  To be honest I had reservations when it came to reading this, which may seem strange as I did request it, but given the current situation (you know what I’m talking about right now, just picture me waving my arms around crazily) and the fact that we’re yet again in the middle of a lockdown (thank you Covid), reading a book about something that seems remarkably similar to the current situation, not to mention is set in a very close possible future – come on, it’s a bit scary.  I had doubts but as soon as I started to read, the doubts were put to one side.  The main character is a great story teller and you simply can’t help becoming involved in her story.

Like I mentioned, this is set in a very near future.  Couple of years from now. Covid happened, not sure lessons were learned but now, we have a new virus – and it’s not taking prisoners.

So, this novel is refreshingly different – and I will explain why.  Told by one woman as she journeys on a road to self discovery.  We pretty soon find out that 6DM has swept across the world leaving death in its wake.  Why 6DM?  Basically, this is a virus that takes six days maximum to kill.  Within fairly short order life as we know breaks down.  And this is where the difference sets in.  Apart from an initial little blip there’s no rampaging around, no scrabbling for food, no scavengers turning cannibalistic, there’s also no electricity, no gas, no water, nobody taking care of the usual things that we take for granted.  6DM kills quickly, people don’t have time to go through the usual emotions, anger, panic, etc.  they die and they die quickly and they haven’t the energy to do anything towards survival other than giving in to a basic instinct to be with loved ones.  There’s no time for solutions or vaccinations and so the best that the government can come up with is a, well, suicide pill to help people achieve a speedier and more comfortable end. Yes, of course that sounds bleak – but, allow me to continue.

We have our nameless woman.  I confess I was scratching my head there for a moment and trying to figure out her name – basically we don’t find out her name so don’t sweat it.  For some reason, and no explanations are given, this one woman survives and what follows are the emotions that she goes through coming to terms with the death of her husband, her parents and her best friends. I mean, I can see why you might think this would be depressing but in fact the story is well told, gripping, funny (if you will), sad, a little bit horrible at times, not to mention a little bit horrific on occasion and at the same time strangely uplifting.  Of course it’s not very nice reading about an event that virtually wipes out  everyone on the face of the planet, but watching the gamut of emotions that she goes through is just crazily compelling and, at the same time, the story is given some relief by the constant flashbacks that help to fill out the reader’s knowledge of the survivor prior to this.  Having these flashbacks is such a cunning concept because it takes us to places pre-insanity.  Gives us a break of sorts and explains our main character’s pov.

And the simplicity of it all works well.  There’s no threat here for the woman.  She drives from place to place, stays in hotels, drinks a lot of expensive booze – a lot.  Throws herself a pity party and ends up addicted to drugs.  Then she eventually starts to wizen up. The other cunning element that also plays into the simplicity here is that no explanations are forthcoming.  We all know pandemics are a very real possibility and all the author does here is ratchet that up to the next horrific level and of course it seems plausible.  We don’t need the science.  We also don’t know why this young woman has survived – again, no explanations, but for me, this lack of some kind of over the top explanation works well.  She doesn’t know why she survived so we, the readers, also don’t know why she survived.  It really is that simple.

Now, before you become too complacent there are still threats here but they come under different guises and I’m not going to be the one to give them away.  Find out for yourself. Also, there is a little bit of gore – well, there are a lot of bodies decomposing after all.

In terms of criticisms.  Well, I loved the tone, the style, the writing and the voice – but, I felt like the ending was a little rushed.  There was an element of our pov discovering things very quickly and becoming an expert in many things with remarkable speed given her previous ineptitude.  I think I would have preferred a slower ending, a few more bumblings and an ending where she might not be an expert, but is still learning on the fly.  Not a deal breaker though.

Basically, this was quite addictive.  I loved the way it’s written and I must applaud the author for not only dispelling my misgivings but also providing a compelling read with a likeable character who is very easy to become attached to (which is pretty lucky as she is the only character in the story.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4 of 5 stars

Wondrous Words and Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Girl and the Mountain by Mark Lawrence

Every Wednesday I take part in Waiting on Wednesday, I’m also hoping to take part in a new meme being hosted by Elza Reads called Wondrous Words Wednesday.  I’ll be combining these into the same posts as they’re both short and sweet.  

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : The Girl and the Mountain (Book of the Ice #2) by Mark Lawrence.  I’ve been waiting for a description for this one so that I could showcase it.  Here goes:

On the planet Abeth there is only the ice. And the Black Rock.

For generations the priests of the Black Rock have reached out from their mountain to steer the fate of the ice tribes. With their Hidden God, their magic and their iron, the priests’ rule has never been questioned. But when ice triber Yaz challenged their authority, she was torn away from the only life she had ever known, and forced to find a new path for herself.

Yaz has lost her friends and found her enemies. She has a mountain to climb, and even if she can break the Hidden God’s power, her dream of a green world lies impossibly far to the south, across a vast emptiness of ice. Before the journey can even start, she has to find out what happened to the ones she loves and save those that can be saved.

Abeth holds its secrets close, but the stars shine brighter for Yaz and she means to unlock the truth.

Expected Publication : April 2021

You can also check out the first chapter here.

Check out both covers here: do you have a favourite?

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WWW

This meme was first created by Kathy over at Bermuda Onion Blog and has now been adopted by Elza Reads

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where you can share new words that you’ve encountered, or spotlight words you love.  

No rules just enjoy and for further info check out Elza Reads.

My word this week is:

Schadenfreude

Now, as this is my first week, I helpfully made a note of a couple of words that I fancied using and then very unhelpfully didn’t write down which book I read them from.  Yeah….  So, I’ve wracked my tiny little pea sized brain and I’m fairly certain I know where I picked this week’s nugget from.  So, definition:

Schadenfreude, noun
 
a feeling of pleasure or satisfaction when something bad happens to someone else

Here’s an interesting article about the secret joys of the word.

And here’s the book where I’m 99.8% certain I read this last week, for which my review is due on Thursday:

Last One at the Party by Bethany Clift.  Description here.

Lastone

That’s it for this week.  If you’re taking part in both of these or either please don’t forget to link up.