I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Last by Hanna Jameson
Published by Atria Books on April 9, 2019
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Post Apocalypse
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"Nuclear apocalypse meets murder mystery, with an amazing cast of characters. It's Stephen King meets Agatha Christie, in this fantastic and highly original novel” -Luca Vesta, author of Dead Gone
“The questions Jameson poses—who will be with you at the end of the world, and what kind of person will you be?—are as haunting as the plot itself. This is a chilling and extraordinary book.” -Emily St. John Mandel, bestselling author of Station Eleven
For fans of high-concept thrillers such as Annihilation and The Girl with All the Gifts, this breathtaking dystopian psychological thriller follows an American academic stranded at a Swiss hotel as the world descends into nuclear war—along with twenty other survivors—who becomes obsessed with identifying a murderer in their midst after the body of a young girl is discovered in one of the hotel’s water tanks.
Jon Keller, is just one of twenty survivors when the world goes to hell. Nuclear bombs have taken out major cities across the world. The internet is down and no one can get in touch with loved ones or find out about the rest of the state of the world. Holed up in a Swiss hotel, L’Hotel Sixième, Jon, an American Historian, decides to record his experience in a form of journal entries chronicling the first few months after a nuclear apocalypse. Despair slowly starts to set in as the group realize no one is coming to rescue them. In the midst of all this, a body of a little girl is found dead in their water tank, leading Jon on a quest to find the murderer. Secrets abound and Jon is determined to uncover them along with the murderer. Will Jon succeed or will he be silenced for good?
I am a huge fan of apocalypse/post apocalypse books, so I really had high hopes for The Last by Hanna Jameson. While I did enjoy the story for the most part, there were quite a few instances where it also fell flat. I do love how atmospheric this book is. At times, I could feel the the terror and the dread especially when people were committing suicide. I mean just imagine giving up all hope and killing yourself is the only answer. Hanna Jameson really paints a vivid picture of the horrors people faced, the desperation, the need for some control even if the outcome was suicide. The haunting nature of the story really shines through page after page. It is almost like I can see the orange clouds, the sun never shining, the leaves dying, I can picture everything and it really is quite frightening. But, on the other end of the spectrum, I just could not get into the mystery at all and I never felt like it ever got resolved after all of the work up leading to the big reveal. I just felt disappointed. I will say that the paranoia associated with the mystery was very well done. Also, I can see why there was a bit of politics thrown in especially with today’s climate, but in all honesty, I felt like it was shoved down my throat. I was really annoyed reading it and feel that if I wanted a political standpoint I can watch the news for that.
The story is told through Jon’s POV and he is not always likeable character. In fact, I don’t see any redeeming qualities that would make him likeable. He is also an unreliable Historian as I felt his ego got in the way of the truth somehow. Although in his eyes, he was trying to do the right thing, but the situation just became to personal and his thoughts and opinions were skewed somewhere within the truth. At times, I thought Jon was about to crack and quite frankly I was hoping for it. Jon is probably one of the least liked characters of any book I have read.
While The Last by Hanna Jameson is quite atmospheric and harrowing, the story never really hit that crescendo for me. Just when I think the story is going to take off, the adrenaline getting there slowly started to come down. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the book, I just wish there was more to it.