Review: The Last by Hanna Jameson

Nuclear weapons are detonated over Washington and cities around the world. Jon Keller, an American historian, is trapped in a remote Swiss hotel with twenty strangers. Then, one day, the body of a young girl is discovered. She's been murdered. But by who?

The Last by Hanna Jameson Featured Image
The Last by Hanna Jameson Cover

The Last

Genres: ,
Publisher:

Published: January 31st 2019

Format: Paperback

CONTENT WARNING: THE LAST contains mentions of suicide and drug use

Background

Hanna Jameson wrote her first book, Something You Are, at just seventeen. Since then, she has published four books. The most recent, The Last, was published in 2019. On the 6th of April 2019, The New York Post named The Last one of "the best books of the week".

Review

Jon Keller is an American historian visiting Switzerland when the world ends.

The hotel is in pandemonium. Jon watches news footage in horror; nuclear weapons are detonated over Washington and other cities across the globe. Phone lines are jammed and Jon, like most others, can't find out if his family back home are safe.

With transport shut down, Jon decides to stay at L’Hotel Sixieme. Many of the other guests and staff flee in panic, while others remain only to succumb to the struggle of their new existence. Of those that remain, some choose to take up tasks to better living conditions. Jon volunteers to check the water tanks on the hotel roof.

In one of the tanks, something unexpected is discovered. In the bottom lies the body of a young girl - murdered.

With a newfound sense of responsibility, Jon decides to investigate. Is there a killer among them?

The Last is a tense novel. The claustrophobic location of a hotel set in an isolated area creates a constant feeling of unease. The hotel is just large enough to elicit a fear among some of the guests. They are also aware of the encroaching winter, finality of supplies, and the silent threat of the environment.

"Every time I think I've reached the zenith of my capacity, I find a situation that surpasses it. This was the feeling of being part of the food chain."

Hanna Jameson, The Last

Hanna Jameson has crafted an eerily realistic portrait of a possible near future. As some of the characters remark, the detonation of nuclear weapons was inevitable. The reactions of the hotel residents are equally believable and often reflect the current political climate.

Although written only from Jon's point-of-view, Jameson has done an excellent job of wielding the voices of such a large cast. There are a handful of primary characters of various ages, nationalities, genders, and personalities. It was refreshing to read about such varied characters. Conversations between each of them are incredibly authentic. How Jameson is able to get into the heads of so many people is nothing short of amazing.

The Last is an ambitious novel. It's political, suspenseful, compelling, and thought-provoking. Ultimately, The Last isn't a murder mystery, nor a dystopian novel. It's an exploration of morality, the self, and society. How will people cope in the aftermath of tragedy and uncertainty? Will we be the same people we were before?

If you're looking for a creepy end-of-the-world read that will hook you in, drag you through the snow, and leave you a little haunted, this book is for you.

I'm not afraid to say that The Last will probably be one of my top reads of the year. I also won't be surprised if it gets optioned for film or a short series.

This one's good!

Why Read This Book?

  • Female author
  • Strong female characters
  • Multi-cultural cast
  • Atmospheric
  • Character study
  • Political relevance

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4.6Overall Score

The Last

Nuclear weapons are detonated over Washington and cities around the world. Jon Keller, an American historian, is trapped in a remote Swiss hotel with twenty strangers. Then, one day, the body of ...

  • Plot
    4
  • Characters
    5
  • Theme
    5
  • Structure
    4
  • Dialogue
    5
  • Pacing
    4
  • Setting/s
    5
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