Book Review: Last Ones Left Alive – Sarah Davis-Goff

Book Review: Last Ones Left Alive – Sarah Davis-Goff

July 23, 2019 (21)
Release Date:
January 24th 2019
Publisher: Tinder Press
Pages: 280
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.25/5 stars

Synopsis

LAST ONES LEFT ALIVE is the story of Orpen, a young woman who must walk on foot across a ravaged Ireland in the desperate hope of saving herself, and her guardian Maeve, from the zombie-like menace known as the skrake. Sarah Davis-Goff’s strikingly original debut will appeal to readers of dystopian literary fiction such as STATION 11 or THE END WE START FROM.

Watch your six. Beware tall buildings. Always have your knives.

Growing up on a tiny island off the coast of a post-apocalyptic Ireland, Orpen’s life has revolved around physical training and necessity. After Mam died, it’s the only way she and her guardian Maeve have survived the ravenous skrake (zombies) who roam the wilds of the ravaged countryside, looking for prey.

When Maeve is bitten and infected, Orpen knows what she should do – sink a knife into her eye socket, and quickly. Instead, she tries to save Maeve, and following rumours of a distant city on the mainland, guarded by fierce banshees, she sets off, pushing Maeve in a wheelbarrow and accompanied by their little dog, Danger. It is a journey on which Orpen will need to fight repeatedly for her life, drawing on all of her training and instincts. In the course of it, she will learn more about the Emergency that destroyed her homeland, and the mythical Phoenix City – and discover a starting truth about her own identity.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-14T133251.983Last Ones Left Alive is a powerful and poignant debut that follows the story of Orpen, a young woman struggling to survive in a zombie infested Ireland. When her guardian Maeve becomes infected, Orpen knows the only outcome, but will she have the strength to survive what comes next?

I was intrigued about reading Last Ones Left Alive after seeing comparisons to The End We Start From by Megan Hunter, a book I absolutely fell in love with. The stories are completely different but they both focus on the themes of family and survival. Last Ones Left Alive is a really thought-provoking book and I really enjoyed reading it. The story is eerie and unsettling, with a very bleak outlook for the future. The skrake (zombies) are terrifying, zombies that are fast and deadly and it was fascinating learning about how a person changes once they become infected.

I really liked the writing style in this book, full of Irish vernacular and written in a really simple and raw way, it was so easy to get lost in the story. It’s not a very long book and I was so intrigued by Orpen and her tale that I read half the book in one sitting. The characters in this book are stunning. Maeve, Orpen and her Mam are fascinating, complex characters that are incredibly well developed. This story is fiercely feminist at its heart, with Orpen and her family surviving on their island without any help.

Last Ones Left Alive crams a lot into a short number of pages, and because of that it is quite a quick paced read. The timeline jumps back and forth between Orpen current day walking across Ireland in search of the illusive Phoenix City and the past when Orpen lived with her Mam and Maeve. It’s a fascinating read and if you love dystopian fiction this could be just what you’re looking for.

3 Stars (1)

Book Review: The Unadjusteds – Marisa Noelle

Book Review: The Unadjusteds – Marisa Noelle

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Release Date:
November 1st 2019
Publisher: Write Plan
Pages: 314
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository.  Amazon.
Source: The author kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Sixteen-year-old Silver Melody lives in a world where 80% of the population has modified their DNA. Known as the altereds, those people now possess enhancements like wings, tails, and increased strength or intelligence. Although Silver’s parents created the nanite pill used to deliver these genetic modifications, Silver is proud of her unadjusted state.

However, when the president declares all unadjusteds must take a nanite, Silver has no choice but to flee the city with her father and some friends to prevent the extinction of the unadjusteds.

With Silver’s mother in prison for treason, Silver’s father is the unadjusteds’ only hope at finding a cure. But time is running out as Silver’s father is captured by the president’s almost immortal army. Vicious hellhounds are on Silver’s trail, and her only chance to recover her father involves teaming up with a new group of unlikely friends before all humanity is lost.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-01-14T223454.977As soon as I read the synopsis for this book I was dying to know more. The concept really intrigued me – a world where the majority of the population have altered their DNA? It was such a fascinating idea. When I picked up the book I completely fell in love with this world and these characters, a unique and engaging tale, one that is perfect for fans of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and Emily Suvada’s This Mortal Coil.

The story follows Silver Melody, a young girl living in a dystopian future where the majority of people have taken nanite pills to alter their DNA. Silver’s parents are the inventors of these pills and after some people die from taking them Silver’s mother refuses to make them and is taken as a political prisoner. When President Bear announces that all unadjusteds are now required to take nanite pills, Silver knows she has to flee, but with a price on her head and hellhounds closing in on her – will she survive?

The Unadjusteds throws you in right in the middle of the action and doesn’t stop till the very end of the book. It’s a fast paced read and as the tension mounted I found myself turning the pages quicker and quicker to find out what was going to happen next. The ending was a bit of a surprise but the cliffhanger has definitely made me hopeful that their might be a sequel in the works.

The world is really fascinating in The Unadjusteds and I loved seeing all the genetic modifications. Fairy wings, impenetrable skin, invisibility and everything in between. I also really liked the mix of politics and action, it added another layer to this cleverly executed story. It also really delves into the themes of technology and greed – with nanite pills curing so many known diseases, humanity takes it one step further by beginning to alter their DNA – but at what cost?

Silver is a really interesting main character, she’s strong willed, determined to succeed and sticks by her beliefs to remain unadjusted. I really liked her as a protagonist and I enjoyed seeing her character develop as she tries to survive. There is also quite an interesting love triangle in the story, it’s a nice addition to the story without taking away from the main plot. It was fascinating to watch Silver attempt to understand her feelings on top of everything else that’s going on. She’s certainly a powerful main character, and one I was rooting for the whole way.

If you’re looking for a fast paced, fresh take on the dystopian novel, The Unadjusteds should definitely be your next read. A compulsively readable book that will definitely leave you wanting more from this world.
4 stars

Book Review: Book of Fire – Michelle Kenney

Book Review: Book of Fire – Michelle Kenney

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Series:
Book of Fire #1
Release Date: August 27th 2017
Publisher: HQ Digital
Pages: 384
Find it on: Goodreads. Amazon
Source: I received an E-ARC of this via Netgalley
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Life outside the domes is not possible. At least that’s what Insiders are told.

Twins Eli and Talia shouldn’t exist. They’re Outsiders.

Their home is a secret. Their lives are a secret. Arafel is a secret.

An unexpected forest raid forces Talia into a desperate mission to rescue her family while protecting the sacred Book of Arafel from those who would use it as a weapon. As Talia and her life long friend Max enter the dome, she makes some unexpected discoveries, and allies, in the form of rugged Insider August, that will change the course of her life forever.

She’ll stop at nothing to save her family but will she sacrifice her heart in the process?

The Fire Sermon meets Gladiator in this brilliant YA debut.

 

Review

book cover - 2019-04-17T214902.332This is a vivid and wonderfully written dystopian fantasy. The one thing that I really adored about Book of Fire is the imaginative setting and exciting plot. After a nuclear war, only those who live inside the dome are supposed to exist, but Talia and her family exist on the outside, and they thrive in the natural environment. When part of her family are captured, Thalia has to venture into the dome to save the ones she love. But all is not as it seems inside the domes, and she has some tough choices to make in order to survive and find her way out. I really loved the idea for this book. On one side the outsiders, those living in harmony with nature, living in treehouses and working with the land. On the other those that used technology to live an advanced and clinical life.

Book of Fire is a really interesting read, and it puts forth some really interesting questions about the way we live and the advancements of technology – just because we can doesn’t mean we should. The plot was well paced, with plenty of mystery and action to keep the reader intrigued. There were a few times when I just couldn’t put the book down, so desperate was I to know what was coming next. The world building is also superb, laying down the foundations and ideas well, without dumping all the information on the reader.

The characters in Book of Fire were also fantastically written. Thalia who will stop at nothing to get her family back, her wise caring grandfather and my personal favourite is definitely the mysterious August, he’s part of the elite inside the dome but he isn’t all that he seems. I thought the characters felt very human, the make mistakes and stupid decisions, they aren’t perfect all rounded people. These excellent characters are really what made the book for me and I was rooting for them almost from the get go. Book of Fire is a fantastic read and I really can’t wait to find out what’s next in store.
4 stars

Book Review: The Fandom – Anna Day

Book Review: The Fandom – Anna Day

BOOK REVIEW (99)
Series:
The Fandom #1
Release Date: January 4th 2018
Publisher: Chicken House
Pages: 403
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly gave me a copy of this book at YALC 2017.
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis

Violet’s in her element. Cosplay at the ready, she can’t wait to feel part of her favorite fandom: The Gallows Dance, a mega book and movie franchise that she and her friends know EVERY WORD of (canon and fanfic included).

But at Comic Con, a freak accident transports Violet and her friends into the story for real. And in just the first five minutes, they cause the death of the heroine, and get taken prisoner by the rebel group she was supposed to lead to victory.

It’s up to Violet to take her place, and play out the plot the way it was written. But stories have a life of their own, and when you change the script in one place, the rest gets revised too…

Review

the fandomHow many times have you read a book and wished you could go and visit the world in which it’s set? We’d all love to go and visit Narnia or Hogwarts or Middle Earth, but what would you actually do when you got there, and more importantly how would you get home?

I absolutely loved the concept of this book. Violet and her friends are at Comic-Con, they’re having a great time and meeting the star of their favourite book turned film, The Gallows Dance. Somehow they end up travelling to the universe the book is set and have to find a way to keep the story moving, and keep themselves alive.

The story is action packed, and well paced. The story is multi-layered, Violet is attempting to keep on the track of the original story, Alice is forging a new story and Katie is being help prisoner. Meanwhile everyone is trying to figure out how to get back home. The group soon find that just because you know everything about a story, doesn’t mean you actually want to visit.

The one thing that surprised me about this book is how funny it was. The colourful swear words that Katie uses, how clumsy and awkward Violet is, adds another layer to these fascinating characters, and really made me fall in love with them. You really root for Violet and her little brother Nate. I also loved the references to well known YA books – “Just like Tris and Katniss.” This book really appeals to my inner fan girl, and I loved that.

The book is divided up into pretty short chapters, and that also helps to make the book feel even more fast paced and action packed. I definitely thought this was a unique read and something I’ve never come across before. I did feel there was a bit of repetition which jarred a little – Katie’s soft scouse accent must have been mentioned seven or eight times, but overall I really enjoyed this fun and excited story.
4 stars

Book Review: The Feed – Nick Clark Windo

Book Review: The Feed – Nick Clark Windo

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Release Date:
January 30th 2018
Publisher: Headline
Pages: 355
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

It makes us. It destroys us. 

The Feed is everywhere. It can be accessed by anyone, at any time. Every interaction, every emotion, every image can be shared through it.

Tom and Kate use The Feed, but they have resisted addiction to it. And this will serve them well when The Feed collapses.

Until their six-year-old daughter, Bea, goes missing.

Because how do you find someone in a world devoid of technology? And what happens when you can no longer trust that your loved ones are really who they claim to be?

Review

book cover112As soon as I read the synopsis for this book I knew it would be a cracking read, and I absolutely wasn’t disappointed. I read this book in two sittings on the train and just could not put it down. The Feed is brilliantly written and utterly terrifying at the same time.

The story is set in a future where our love of technology has expanded even further, all social interactions are done online in the feed, no one really talks in the real world anymore. The world over is addicted, but what happens when it goes down and people no longer know how to cope?

One of the reasons I loved this book so much was how believable it felt. We’re all already addicted to social media and this dystopian world seems inherently possible as a result. This made The Feed a really scary read, but at the same time I just couldn’t look away.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot, it is just a fantastic read that I wouldn’t want to spoil it for anyone, but it is set after the feed goes down as a group of people attempt to go on living without the technology they were so addicted to. The characters are all very well executed, dealing with their own grief and horror at how the world has changed. The point of view changes throughout the book and it’s a great chance to see events from different characters perspective.

The book is excellently detailed and just a wonderful read. It’s also pretty topical, hitting on not just issues around social media but the environment as well. It was really fascinating watching characters attempt to understand one another through everyday interactions because they are no longer sure how. The Feed is a tense, gripping dystopian thriller that I guarantee is going to be one to watch in 2018.
5 stars