Emotionally raw, terrifying and jaw dropping is how to describe Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis-Goff. This visceral read had me experiencing a potent cocktail of emotions including love, fear, heartbreak and loneliness. That, along with it’s fast paced narrative, had me gripped and quite literally gasping for breath.
Last Ones Left Alive is Orpen’s story. Orpen is a young adolescent girl that has been born into a post apocalyptic world set in Ireland. Raised on the isolated island of Slanbeg by her Mother and Maeve who fled the dystopia, Orpen feels love, safe and secure. Yet as she grows older and discovers more about the world she was born into and is taught to fight and survive, her curiosity grows.
Orpen has been sheltered from the dystopian society and the skrake, terrifying zombie like creatures that ravage the land. With one skrake bite, people slowly and painfully transform into the zombie creatures, brutally dying, yet the decaying body still alive with the skrake head just a mess of rot and teeth.
Orpen’s Mother and Maeve are all that she has ever known. Yet when her Mother tragically dies and Maeve is bitten by the skrake, Orpen faces a devastating choice; kill Maeve before her transformation is complete or go and try and seek help and hopefully a cure. I swear that is not a spoiler!
With Maeve tied up in a wheelbarrow, Orpen sets out on an emotional and physical journey that will change her and the life she knows forever.
Davis-Goff’s portrayal of Orpen as a character is so raw, beautiful and real; her pain, vulnerabilities and curiosity are so authentic and stark in the narrative. I really felt and empathised with Orpen.
In this sense, Last Ones Left Alive is very much a coming of age novel.
For me, some of my favourite scenes are Orpen’s scenes with Cillian, who is the only male character in the book, which I found refreshing and unique. I found these scenes particularly tender:
In our hiding place, something touches my hand and I flinch away reflexively. Cillian doesn’t take his eyes of the skrake but he puts his damp hand into mine and I look at his pale, frightened face. I drink it in, before tearing my eyes back towards the fire.
I could be wrong, but from reading Last Ones Left Alive, I genuinely don’t think Davis-Goff has finished with Orpen, Cillian and the world they live in. Personally I hope not as I have not finished with them. It has left me wanting more.
Last Ones Left Alive has only recently been published, 7 March 2019. Only yesterday did I see it boldly on display in Blackwell’s. So if you love reading, love a good zombie story or a good coming of age story, go and get your copy now.
A massive thank you to Sarah Davis-Goff – I so hope you’re writing a sequel. Thank you also to all the team at Headline Publicity for sending me an advance copy of Last Ones Left Alive, and also for inviting me to the New Voices book tour where I got the chance to meet Sarah. Lastly, thank you too to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for arranging for me to be part of the blog tour to help publicise this chilling, vulnerable read.
Today is my turn on the blog tour of Last Ones Left Alive. Take a look also at the reviews of my fellow book bloggers (see below).