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The Last One Audiobook

The Last One: A Novel

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Publisher's Summary

Survival is the name of the game as the line blurs between reality TV and reality itself in Alexandra Oliva's fast-paced novel of suspense.

She wanted an adventure. She never imagined it would go this far.

It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens - but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it man-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them - a young woman the show's producers call Zoo - stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game.

Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life - and husband - she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all her survival skills - and learn new ones as she goes.

But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways, and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing.

Sophisticated and provocative, The Last One is a novel that forces us to confront the role that media plays in our perception of what is real: how readily we cast our judgments, how easily we are manipulated.

©2016 Alexandra Oliva (P)2016 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"The Last One seamlessly melds two of our contemporary obsessions - the threat of global catastrophe and the staged drama of reality TV - into a fiercely imagined tale of the human psyche under stress. This is an uncompromising, thought-provoking debut." (Justin Cronin)

"Haunting, moving, and remarkable, Alexandra Oliva's debut novel is clever in its concept and gripping in its delivery. This propulsive book is for everyone who ever thought reality television signaled the end of the world." (Karen Joy Fowler)

"Taut, tense, and at times almost unbearably real, The Last One is both a compelling read and a terrifyingly believable evocation of survival against the odds." (Ruth Ware)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (192 )
5 star
 (66)
4 star
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3.9 (180 )
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Story
4.0 (179 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (5)
Performance
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  •  
    Howard Cumberland, MD, United States 07-16-16
    Howard Cumberland, MD, United States 07-16-16 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "I had to finish it and finish it fast."

    I found The Last One to be a very interesting read. It has been a while since I devoured a book of this size in four days.

    This is the story of a woman struggling to compete and survive despite being the best equipped for what lays ahead. I enjoyed reading Zoo's journey, but I have to say I felt that her reason for participating in this television reality contest and other parts of her backstory were glossed over. Maybe I just needed to know more about her past to really know what this contest meant to her.

    I also had a hard time believing some of the geography mentioned in the book and how Zoo kept to the forests on her journey home. These are minor quibbles but they took me out of the story as I tried to get a handle on where we were. The story moves along at a very good (and in some cases a very fast) pace even though there are a lot of pages devoted to characters that really just don't matter. There are a couple of other points in the story that, in my estimation, defy logic. However, expanding on those here would give up some spoilers which I expect would ruin your overall enjoyment of The Last One. So, curl up near the air conditioner or slap on some sun screen and take the hike of a lifetime with Zoo!

    For those who make a comparison between this book and Station Eleven, I believe this is a tighter story and one with I'd rather read again.

    I docked one star from the audio performance because there were times I thought the male narrator was inadequate. I can't really put my finger on why I didn't care for Mr. Chamberlain, but I know that I found his cadence was often annoying or too much in contrast with Ms. Zanzarella.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    green ice cream garden miramar, FL United States 08-10-16
    green ice cream garden miramar, FL United States 08-10-16 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "Surprised I survived"

    Understandably this book has some great reviews. It's a different concept, reality TV meets real human horror. Plus the writing is excellent. Despite these qualities the story line couldn't hold it together for me. The character the reader follows is the least interesting of the characters and quickly becomes sappy and annoyingly self-absorbed. There could have been more development of discussion points - the "reality" to reality TV, race, gender, religion, human coping, etc, etc., but they are either treated with bias so there isn't room for discussion or not given enough attention to make an impact. Also, the injections of social media reactions were neither humorous or productive. Alas, it just wasn't for me.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Sutherland Brighton, MI United States 12-28-16
    A. Sutherland Brighton, MI United States 12-28-16 Member Since 2017
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fun & Heartfelt Adventure"

    I downloaded the audio version via Audible to keep my company during my daily work commute. Although I'm not thrilled about the Audible narrators, Alexandra Oliva's wonderfully engaging, heartfelt and descriptive story reached in, grabbed me and invited me along on "Zoo's" adventure. On several levels I could identify with different characters, particularly Zoo. So entertained was I, that when I reached the end, I started listening again from the beginning...twice! Savoring a total of three times now :)

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Betsy 08-19-16
    Betsy 08-19-16 Member Since 2013
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    "Such a good concept but not the story I hoped for"

    There were so many interesting directions this could have gone and it just didn't take any of them. Seemed more like a senior creative writing paper commentary on reality shows. Just kept going. No sympathy for the main character. Ending seemed like she just got tired of writing---I'm sure it was an artistic way to end it, but not very satisfying.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States 08-04-16
    Ann ALBUQUERQUE, NM, United States 08-04-16 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good premise, but frustrating heroine"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Fairly well-spent.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The reality show premise with a pandemic happening during filming.


    Have you listened to any of Mike Chamberlain and Nicol Zanzarella ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes. Good narrators.


    Did The Last One inspire you to do anything?

    Make myself finish the story, though the heroine was overly dramatic and almost hysterical and in denial about what she saw. Her refusal to accept reality was frustrating to me, because it made the book overly long.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julia 07-21-16
    Julia 07-21-16 Member Since 2013
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    Story
    "Great premise, mediocre execution"
    Any additional comments?

    I wasn't sure if I was supposed to like the main character, Zoo, or dislike her. In the end I found her grating on my nerves because she was so callous and unfeeling to other people. I also thought her motivation for going on the show was ok at the outset, but as the story deepened it wasn't enough to carry me through. There had to be something more to what drove her, murder, accidental death, something else.

    Surprisingly, I found the reality show sections of the book incredibly boring. I was much more interested in Zoo's story. I also felt the reality show sections were handled poorly. They would have been much better had there been some development and odd occurrences along their journey instead of just getting sick at the very end.

    The audio performances were good, well acted.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mom 10-13-17
    Mom 10-13-17
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    "Annoying Lead but Still had to listen"

    I liked the story itself. What irritated me is how the main character is in denial for so long. i mean it was ridiculous how she would determine the emptiness was all a part of the show. Overall i did like the story, i just sometimes wanted to smack the lead.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blue Zion Utah 09-28-17
    Blue Zion Utah 09-28-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Awful Narration"

    I like the story - but I wasn't able to finish it, due to the narration. I will probably pick up the book and read it. The male narrator is extremely wooden in his delivery - making it hard to follow the story. He could be reading off the ingredients on a can of soup for all the emotion he puts into it. The female narrator sounds like she is always on the verge of tears. Bummer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joseph Hansen 09-19-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Wonderful"

    Beautifully narrated and well written. I loved the story and want to give it five stars except the ending is utterly botched.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blrrr23 08-19-17
    Blrrr23 08-19-17 Member Since 2016
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great apocalyptic story! "

    Great story. lots of intrigue and surprises. Male narrator is terrible. Female narrator excellent worth the money!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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