Last One at the Party by Bethany Clift – eARC Book Review

Blurb from Goodreads

THE END OF EVERYTHING WAS HER BEGINNING

It’s November 2023. The human race has been wiped out by the 6DM virus (Six Days Maximum – the longest you’ve got before your body destroys itself). The end of the world as we know it.

Yet someone is still alive. Alone in a new world of burning cities, rotting corpses and ravenous rats, one woman has survived. A woman who has spent her whole life compromising what she wants and hiding how she feels to meet other people’s expectations. From her career to her relationships, to what she wears and where she lives, she’s made a lifetime of decisions to fit what other people want her to be.

But with no one else left, who will she become now that she’s completely alone?

My Review

I knew what this book was about from the blurb. The last woman left alive post a global pandemic. So it has very obvious echoes with our current global status. But I thought to myself this is fictional. I love dystopian novels because of what they reveal about ourselves and humanity. They’re brilliant insights into what makes us human. And the premise of this regular, everyday woman being the last person left alive was too compelling to not pick up.

And I can only highly praise the writing. It’s truly brilliant. Immediately the book sucks you into this world. It’s thought out incredibly well. The main character is wonderfully compelling. She’s utterly clueless about survival… but in the same way that you or I would be. How would we forage for food in the morning? How would we know how to grow sustainable crops etc.? I loved her attitude to realising she’s possibly the only one left alive… she broke into a swanky hotel and got incredibly drunk on champagne. It’s just brilliant!

And how she dealt with the death of her loved ones… watching her husband die. Returning to her childhood home to find her parents dead… it was incredibly moving but with brilliantly dark humour. In a sort of if life gets too sad all you can do is laugh kind of way.

But I just couldn’t find a way to finish this novel and that is 100% on me. The author chose to acknowledge 2020 and COVID-19 as having also occurred in this world… the book is set just a few years ahead of us in 2023. And that dose of reality and talk about how society in the book’s past dealt with its most recent pandemic just freaked me out.

I couldn’t get past it.

COVID-19 and its global ramifications has made me quite anxious this year and seeing it written in a book was just more than I could deal with. It was too weird. Too unsettling, and the presence of COVID-19 wasn’t a narrative choice I was prepared to have been made in this book.
I really did try to keep going because I loved the author’s writing, I loved this main character. Honestly I could see this book as eventually being quite an uplifting read as this character learns more about herself and her truths. But sadly at this point in time it appears that I just can’t read anything that mentions our current pandemic state.

Because of the quality of the writing, world building, character development I feel that if I were to have continued reading the book it could easily have been a four star read. I read 24% of the novel, and from even just that percentage read I know that this is an incredible author with a bright future. There is also a wonderful forward written by the author that acknowledges the weirdness of releasing a book that features a pandemic in the midst of a global pandemic. They also recognise and pay wonderful tribute to frontline workers who are dealing with the cold face of COVID-19. I wish the author every good luck with this book and hope it finds its right audience.


*An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley. This review contains my honest thoughts and opinions*

Publishing 4th February 2021, Hodder & Stoughton

2 thoughts on “Last One at the Party by Bethany Clift – eARC Book Review

  1. Wow, this has a great premise and from what you’ve said about it, it really sounds like a fab read despite covering issues of the pandemic. I’m sorry that it got too overwhelming but that’s totally understandable! I think I might keep this one on my TBR because it sounds really interesting. Great honest review, Emer!

    Like

  2. Sorry this one wasn’t for you! I can understand why Covid isn’t the best topic in books when it is all too real!

    Like

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