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Summary

The end of everything was her beginning....

It's November 2022. The human race has been wiped out by the 6DM virus (Six Days Maximum - the longest you've got before your organs disintegrate and you melt from the inside out). The end of the world as we know it.

Yet someone is still alive. Alone in a new world of burning cities, rotting corpses and ravenous rats, one woman has survived. A woman who has spent her whole life compromising what she wants and hiding how she feels to meet other people's expectations. From her career to her relationships, to what she wears and where she lives, she's made a lifetime of decisions to fit what other people want her to be. 

But with no one else left, who will she become now that she's completely alone?

©2021 Bethany Clift (P)2021 Hodder & Stoughton Ltd

What listeners say about Last One at the Party

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story. Superb performance

Gripping, emotional, disturbing, laugh-out loud funny and thought-provoking. The central character was beautifully drawn. Congrats to the author.
And to the wonderful narrator who was really brilliant throughout.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Narrator deserves award

The narrator makes this book what it is. I'm not sure I would have finished it if I was reading it. The main character is quite unlikeable for the first half of the book and her back story doesn't make her any more likeable.
It's more self-discovery chic lit with the apocalypse as a plot device. There are some harrowing scenes but mainly it's just girl against nature.
She does grow on you and by the end you want her to do well, you are willing her to succeed.
All in all, I did only check how long left a couple of times, and listened to it over the course of a day and a half. Would recommend for a rainy afternoon but not as a holiday read. Especially not in the current environment.
It made me wonder if I should freshen up my survival skills though.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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With a whimper

If you were given a choice of Apocalypses, this would be a good one. No rampaging zombies. No marauding gangs. Just a nice empty Britain with nothing to contend with but the stench of decomposing flesh. It's just as well because our heroine has all the survival instincts of Paris Hilton and the pluck to match. When she's not dissolving in puddles of self-pity, she's getting herself into scrapes entirely of her own making. She's also not particularly likeable and I almost gave up on her when she failed to show any empathy for the suffering of animals starving to death in a zoo. But I finished the book, and that was in part due to her unlikeliness - she was the opposite of the resourceful, tough women who usually figure in these kinds of tales - and I was curious to see how she ended up despite being totally exasperated with her a lot of the time.

As others have pointed out: this not an entirely successful attempt to mix genres. There are lots of flashbacks to the character's former life written in chick-lit vein and I confess I skipped many of them. There are also a few attempts to inject some Stephen King elements later in the story - menacing from feral rats and birds - that doesn't quite come off.
What was more successful was the 'Robinson Crusoe' aspect of the book. Stories about people trying to survive on their own have a universal appeal and, in that respect at least, it did work for me.

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant listen.

Emotional, poignant and thought provoking. Really enjoyed it and didn't want it to end.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved it

I wasn’t expecting to ever like the main character. But it was a gradual shift towards great fondness for the character. I’m so glad I listen to it on audio rather than having read it as I enjoyed the occasional sound affects and definitely the narration. I did laugh I did have a few tears and the last hour was very tense. Fantastic debut novel👍🏻👍🏻

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Cliche ridden chick-lit posing as genre fiction

This book takes every single trope of the genre and does absolutely nothing original with it. It just regurgitates multiple storylines from far better novels - from the killer pandemic, to the inevitable looting of luxury items, to the survivalist makeover and the bleedin’ obvious twist providing the protagonists reason to carry on (hey Sarah Connor!).

It’s like a tick list of post-apocalyptic literature, without the zombies or killer robots (which also means there are no thrills, scares or even the slightest bit of intrigue). Instead, the writer weaves in a mind numbingly run-of-the-mill backstory that tries to tackle anxiety and depression, but only serves to emphasise how indulgent, boring and self-involved the lead character is.

The book genuinely reads like a dire chick-lit novel from the early naughties, that got dusted off and reworked with a genre slant. The publishers are obviously trying to push this as Sally Rooney meets Richard Matheson. It’s not and never will be. Do yourself a favour and just read Normal People and I Am Legend concurrently.

1 person found this helpful

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Spellbinding

I read the book. I bought it on Audible . It’s the most original story I’ve read in years. I just loved it; it’s a cracking story filled with wit, wisdom, fear, and humour. Not a fluffy story a proper nail biter. I even shed a few tears along the way. Please, please write a sequel. I beg you. And thank you.

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Captivating listen couldn't stop!!!

This was all too easy to believe, with the world we are living in now.
I was frustrated and sometimes found myself tutting rather loudly at her but in the end rather admired her resusiliance. Will come back & listen again. The narration was really good too.

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Personal apocalyptic horror / suspense drama

There are some lovely moments in this book, but be warned before you start that pretty much the entire story leaves you in a state of heightened suspense, and there are a number of horrific scenes (some gory, some featuring sheer terrifying levels of inhumanity).

Broadly, the story follows an ordinary woman navigating the end of the world as we know it due to an extremely contagious and deadly new disease, with a focus on her state of mind and backstory.

The well written main character is flawed and very human, and much of the focus of the story is on exploring her personality and backstory which helps forge a connection with her. As you gradually learn more about her backstory (through memories recounted throughout the story) you come to understand more of who she is. As the main story progresses in parallel you see her start to grow personally, and practically to meet the challenges of the new world she now inhabits, or perhaps at other times is forced into situations where her old flaws and worries are simply no longer relevant, depending on your perspective.

It's not focused on at the time but I think you have to interpret her actions early on in the story through the lens of her probably being in shock to some degree, and unable to come to terms with the enormity of what has happened. It is slightly frustrating at the time seeing her act completely irrationally and with some level of indifference to animal suffering, but I think it makes sense if you think about what she's been through and her state of mind at the time.

Having just finished this book I'm in two minds about it. On the one hand it was gripping, had an interesting main character that developed through the story, balanced and believable portrayals of other characters, lots to think about, and felt generally well written. On the other hand it is quite clichéd, was perhaps too intense for me, some moments of horror almost felt gratuitous, and I wish there was just a little bit more 'niceness' to balance out the horror, a bit more looking forwards, and that the main character arc had carried on a little bit further. The author has a background in film, and I think you can tell - wouldn't take much to reimaging this story as a film. However it still works well as a book.

I don't think I'd recommend this to many people just because of how intense and draining it is, but if you're prepared for that then it is subjectively a good book in my opinion, and think most people will probably get something out of it.

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  • Lugsy
  • 03-03-21

A great listen

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I think it will become quite popular in the near future as more people read / listen to it.

I was somewhat reminded of Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road’, and midway through I started thinking of this book as a companion piece. This is not just because the two books share similar themes. The writer’s prose is disciplined, sparse and economic. Different from McCarthy (of course), but not world’s apart.

I was impressed with how the writer weaved in the unnamed protagonist’s reminiscences almost seamlessly to offer insight and context to her apocalyptic predicament, and unveiling an impressive character arc.

Lastly, I thought the narrator did a great performance supported by some subtle and provocative production.

Highly recommended.