Release Date: October 1st 2013
Published By: Allen & Unwin
Goodreads: Add it to your reading list
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis: The end of the world happened quickly. The sun still shone, there was no explosion – just a tsunami-sized wave of human thought drowning the world in telepathic noise as everyone’s inner-most secrets became audible. Everyone’s thoughts, that is, except sixteen-year-old Danby.
Everyone looked like bad actors in a poorly dubbed movie. Their expressions didn’t match their emotions and their lips didn’t sync with what they were saying. But they were all so loud.
The end of the world happens in the blink of an eye.
When The Snap sweeps the globe, everyone can instantly hear everything that everyone else is thinking. As secrets and lies are laid bare, suburbs and cities explode into insanity and violence. What might have been an evolutionary leap instead initiates the apocalypse.
Sixteen-year-old Danby Armstrong’s telepathy works very differently. She can tune into other people but they can’t tune into her. With only this slender defence, Danby must protect her little brother and reach the safety of her mother’s mountain retreat. But it’s 100 kilometres away and the highways are blocked by thousands of cars and surrounded by millions of people coming apart at the psychic seams.
Danby’s escape is made even more dangerous by another cataclysm that threatens humanity’s extinction. And her ability to survive this new world will be tested by a charismatic young man whose power to save lives may be worse than death itself.
Review: The Last Girl is a sci-fi apocalyptic novel set in Sydney, Australia. What is unique about this novel is the concept behind what brings the world to their feet. It’s not zombies, or aliens, or a huge act of nature. It’s our thoughts. When everyone starts hearing everyone else’s thoughts, people start unraveling. It’s the start of the end. Danby is our protagonist, a 16 year old girl. When “The Snap” happens, her father and stepmother end up dying in a violent incident after hearing each others thoughts. Danby has to try and get herself and her mentally disabled younger brother Evan 100km to a remote location in the Blue Mountains where her mother lives and where she hopes there’s relative safety.
What is unique about this novel as opposed to other apocalyptic style novels is that we’re actually there as it starts, and stay with the protagonist during the event itself. Most other novels of this genre begin after the event has happened and then it’s all about fighting for survival. A fair portion of this book follows Danby and other characters we meet and the first emotion they’re feeling is confusion. What happened?
In a world set in the not so distant future, social media is still ever present but if anything more dominant than it already is now. The idea behind The Snap is if that if we already turn on each other, and flame and troll others like we already see over the internet, then why would we expect any different if everyone can hear our thoughts? Instead of us learning from one another and working harmoniously to come together (which is what the internet could be used for in a perfect world), we instead, attack one another and become paranoid and defensive and lash out at one another.
The novel is written in such a way that there’s a strong cinematic edge to it, where the book plays like a movie in your mind as you’re reading it. This would make a fantastic movie or TV series if anyone out there is listening! The way Michael Adam’s describes Sydney around us crumbling makes it irrelevant as to whether you’ve actually spent time in Sydney before. The atmosphere and surroundings are described so well that you can picture it, the cars jammed on the highway, the dead bodies, the Sydney Harbour Bridge on fire and warped after having a plane flown into it, people’s steams of consciousness being broadcast in disjointed bits and pieces. It’s chaos.
The characters were relatable to me, with a real Australian feel about them that I could appreciate. Sometimes I had to remind myself that Danby is only 16 years old, because as smart and wise as she is for her age, sometimes she just made some silly decisions, like trusting people that maybe she shouldn’t be trusting or leaving her brother alone at times. In particular, I adored Nathan, the young doctor in training she meets. Nathan is similar to Danby – they can hear everyone else’s thoughts, but no one can hear theirs (you’ll find out the reason later in the book). You can’t help but become a little bit attached to Nathan, since he proves he is trustworthy and really just wants to help people.
I am delighted that this is going to be a series of three books, and I am so intrigued as to what’s going to happen to Danby now, as the book finishes with her having a major realisation which I think is going to make for an amazing sequel. Definitely worth reading for the unique plot and setting alone, but you’ll continue reading because of the characters.
We will be interviewing Michael Adam’s on this blog on October 28th, so make sure you come back then, as we’ll be talking more about The Last Girl!