“Combines the spare poetry of The Road with the dizzying pace of 28 Days Later.” —Jennie Melamed, author Gather the Daughters
“A riveting novel.” —Eowyn Ivey, bestselling author of The Snow Child
Remember your just-in-cases. Beware tall buildings. Always have your knives.
Raised in isolation by her mother and Maeve on a small island off the coast of a post-apocalyptic Ireland, Orpen’s life has revolved around training to fight a threat she’s never seen. More and more she feels the call of the mainland, and the prospect of finding other survivors.
But that is where danger lies, too, in the form of the flesh-eating menace known as the skrake.
Then disaster strikes. Alone, pushing an unconscious Maeve in a wheelbarrow, Orpen decides her last hope is abandoning the safety of the island and journeying across the country to reach the legendary banshees, the rumored all-female fighting force that battles the skrake.
But the skrake are not the only threat…
Sarah Davis-Goff's Last Ones Left Alive is a brilliantly original imagining of a young woman's journey to discover her true identity.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I actually really loved this one. It's fascinating and completely readable. I found myself enraptured, making my way through dozens of pages without really realizing I was reading. The story of Orpen is very different from your typical zombie post-apocalypse fare. This is a more literary story, one with a sort of chaotic symmetry, a circle of life/apprentice becomes the master feeling. We see both the raising of Orpen and the events that cement who she is as a person living in this skrake-filled world. She's not always a very likable character, but she does feel like a real one. This book is definitely for those who enjoy character-driven stories. Don't go into it thinking you'll get a zombie thriller, or any kind of explanation for how the world came to be in such a state. This is Orpen's story.
"Last Ones Left Alive" by Sarah Davis-Goff is a story about a post apocalyptic Ireland where the fight to survive and endure means to live another day. From the first line of this novel, I knew I was hooked. The story alternates from current to the past on how Orpen, the protagonist, was raised in an island called Slanbeg off the coast of Ireland by her mother and her mother’s partner Maeve. Orpen was trained how to fight and survive against what Davis-Goff calls the zombies or “skrakes”. Once bitten, your fate will be met with demise. The novel opens with Orpen pushing a wheelbarrow with Maeve and her dog by her side to find help and other survivors. I love anything Zombie and I knew I would be a fan of this. I love that women are strong and resilient, and the story is told to understand the human relationships and survival.
The terms “well written” and “post-apocalypse” don’t always go together. Neither do “thoughtful” and “zombies”, but here we are. This does remind me a little of The Road, but is not so distressingly bleak. I think it reminds me most of a recent title A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C.A. Fletcher. Orpen was raised by her birth mother and her mother’s partner, Maeve, on a secluded island off the coast of Ireland. They have trained her to face a hostile world, zombie-like creatures, and the threat of a disintegrating human society. They can’t keep her safe forever, and this book begins with her on the road trying to find her place in the hellscape this world has become. It is a well written book. Orpen’s language reflects her isolation, but also her intense love for her family. The story itself is a rumination on dealing with grief and loss, as well as how we cope with the dangers of the world ouside our small circle of intimate friends and family. Do we choose to isolate ourselves, or do we take a chance and leave the safety of our homes in a search for meaning and belonging? Orpen, is a courageous and capable young woman whose desire to see more of the outside world at once endangers and illuminates her life. Song for this book: Hounds of Love – Kate Bush Disclaimer: I received this book free from Netgalley
Reminiscent of The Road and A Boy and his Dog at the End of the World, Last Ones Left Alive is a literary take on the zombie escape journey. The novel starts out with Orpen and her mother’s partner traveling through a post apocalyptic Ireland to an almost mystical place called Phoenix City. They had lived on a small island off the coast of the mainland until Maeve was bitten and now Orpen carries her in a wheelbarrow with the hope of a cure. Above all else, Orpen is a fighter. Trained for many years by her Mam and Maeve to wield her knifes and block and parry, she feels she is ready to venture out on her own. Flashbacks begin most of the chapters telling about the lessons Orpen learned from her protectors on the little island. To always be alert, to never trust men, to strike first… The skrakes (as Davis-Goff calls the zombies) are just as vicious as any other terrible undead you’ve read about and seen in film. And there’s an interesting transition to becoming one that is described in these pages. Last Ones Left Alive deals with themes of isolation, women’s empowerment, and coming-of-age. Orpen’s parents kept a lot from her in an effort to protect her from the outside. Their little island was free from skrakes, but when they leave she sees that not all is as she thought. The city dwellers have a distinct way of looking at the world and when she meets up with the few that are still alive, Orpen sees that the world is a much different place than she realized. I found some very good lines in this short novel. It is quick read and held my interest like that first season of The Walking Dead. She had a goal and the small objectives kept changing as conditions worsened. There’s a lot of depth as one can pick through the underlying meanings of the world that the author has built. I recommend this one for a reader looking for a strongly-written zombie thriller. 4 out of 5 stars
Ahoy there me mateys! I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . . I picked up this book because it was described as being like the road (loved) or station eleven (one of the best books ever!) but set in Ireland with zombies and a feminist bent. Sadly I only made it to the 20% mark before giving up on this completely. I couldn't connect with the main character, Orpen, at all. I thought that Orpen dragging her sick companion around in a wheelbarrow was silly and should have led to her death multiple times during the brief portion of the book that I read. The dog companion was pointless to the plot and basically did nothing useful either. Even though the setting is Ireland, there was nothing in the story to evoke a feeling of that country. It could have been set anywhere else with little change to the story. I also did not like the first-person narration style or the use of flashbacks for the history of the characters. The flashbacks were jarring. Then there be the skrakes i.e. zombies. These are super fast zombies that roam in packs and can seemingly track deer by scent. But somehow Orpen manages to only encounter them one on one and dispatch them with some unrealistic hand-to-hand fighting and a couple of knives. Plus of the two she fought in the 20%, one was a small zombie and the other was crippled which helped lead to her victory. That was lucky given that the author reiterates multiple times how much weaker the trek is making Orpen. With the defeat of the second zombie came the realization that this book was not to me taste at all. Some of me crew members are highly enjoying this one but the little bit that I read was less than stellar and rather formulaic. Check it out and see if ye be on the side of yer Captain or with the crew. So lastly . . . Thank you Flatiron Books!