It would seem that this year I have started a fair few series, most of the books in my GoodReads list have a ‘#1’ behind them. Sadly, many of them haven’t gripped my attention to warrant reading the next books… but it’s one of those things where I’ll just have to see what happens. It’s taking so long to get through books at the moment, which is really unlike me at all.
My most recent read was The Last Girl. I can’t remember if it was a paid download or if I got it free from Amazon, but it was an interesting read.
A mysterious worldwide epidemic reduces the birthrate of female infants from 50 percent to less than 1 percent. Medical science and governments around the world scramble in an effort to solve the problem, but twenty-five years later there is no cure, and an entire generation grows up with a population of fewer than a thousand women.
Zoey and some of the surviving young women are housed in a scientific research compound dedicated to determining the cause. For two decades, she’s been isolated from her family, treated as a test subject, and locked away—told only that the virus has wiped out the rest of the world’s population.
Captivity is the only life Zoey has ever known, and escaping her heavily armed captors is no easy task, but she’s determined to leave before she is subjected to the next round of tests…a program that no other woman has ever returned from. Even if she’s successful, Zoey has no idea what she’ll encounter in the strange new world beyond the facility’s walls. Winning her freedom will take brutality she never imagined she possessed, as well as all her strength and cunning—but Zoey is ready for war.
This was one of those reads that started slow, and left me wondering if it was going to be slow the whole way through. It did pick up, and made for an interesting, some what… strange read. I definitely had to do the suspension of disbelief thing, but then it is a little science fiction-y so that was okay… on the surface.
We start by meeting a girl called Zoey who is held in a compound. She’s been there most of her life. As the story progresses we learn the fate of humanity beforehand – women stopped giving birth to girls and only men were being bought into society. This shady agency basically kidnapped the remaining girls they could find – and would regularly raid towns for girls as well – in order to ‘preserve’ them and make them into the future. They took on the form of educators, indoctrinated to learnt that that was their place, the rules are the rules, and that sometimes one person is worth sacrificing for the greater good. No books, nothing that the director of the compound did not approve of.
They were safe, but Zoey knows there’s more to this life. She’s been smuggled books, be taught to think independently of the director, the compound and it’s regime. Zoey decides she’s going to escape before her 21st birthday, the day where she’s supposed to be reunited with her family, but she knows that this isn’t going to happen, knows it’s a fallacy and it’s time to make a change.
What I liked about this book was that it was gritty. It was bloody, and it wasn’t for kids. Zoey did everything she could to survive, she murdered and fought for her life. She overcame her fears and forced herself to survive in a land that she had no clue about.
Of course, the first group of men she came across would have happily kidnapped her and raped her. Because of course, if you haven’t seen a woman for a long time the first thing you think of is rape. This is probably the aspect of the book I had the most issue with. The guards wanted to rape, these men wanted to rape… I’m not sure it was necessary for the book. It was gritty enough without these attempts. Zoey certainly showed those people what she thought of them with the bullet end of her gun though.
By all rights she should have died out in the wilderness. Affected by a fever from her injuries, definitely very sick and having nothing but some yummy raw rotten fish, she survived a long time before finding the help she needed.
I don’t want to say more about the book or the storyline as it is, but I really enjoyed how this progressed. There are consequences to the actions taken, consequences that Zoey is going to have to live with the rest of her life. There wasn’t quite a happily ever after, and it didn’t end on a cliff hanger like I was expecting. I plan to read the rest of this series to see how it plans out, and how the science is explained…
… and in terms of the science, here I just want to query something. I was under the impression that when embryos are conceived we all start out female then become male. I’m sure that this isn’t something that I’ve made up. So, I was thinking that it would make more sense for the men to be dying out… controversial I know! There’s even scientific ability to create life using women only, so this is where that suspension of disbelief comes into play.
Have you read this one? What did you think of it? What are you reading at the moment?