My enormous thanks to Georgina Moore at Headline for a copy of Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah Davis-Goff in return for an honest review. I know I’m mega early in posting my review but I couldn’t wait to tell everyone what a fantastic read this is.
Last Ones Left Alive will be published by Tinder Press on 7th March 2019 and is available for pre-order here.
Last Ones Left Alive
Remember your Just-In-Cases. Beware Tall Buildings. Watch Your Six
Raised by her mother and Maeve on Slanbeg, an island off the west coast of Ireland, Orpen has a childhood of love, rockpools and stories by the fireside. But the stories grow darker, and the training begins. Ireland has been devoured by a ravening menace known as the skrake, and though Slanbeg is safe for now, the women must always be ready to run, or to fight.
When Maeve is bitten, Orpen is faced with a dilemma: kill Maeve before her transformation is complete, or try to get help. So Orpen sets off, with Maeve in a wheelbarrow and her dog at her side, in the hope of finding other survivors, and a cure. It is a journey that will test Orpen to her limits, on which she will learn who she really is, who she really loves, and how to imagine a future in a world that ended before she was born.
My Review of Last Ones Left Alive
Orpen is on the road hoping to find a cure for Maeve – but will she survive?
My goodness. From the very first page my heart was thumping as I read Last Ones Left Alive and it didn’t slow down until the final syllable. What a debut novel! The pace isn’t so much fast as supersonic and the short chapters meant that I simply could not put it down. I had to know what might happen next and devoured it over 24 hours because I was so gripped by the story. Put simply, my free will was entirely removed by Sarah Davis-Goff and although The Last Ones Left Alive isn’t a genre I usually choose and I found it very unnerving, I thought it was outstanding. I had absolutely no idea how the narrative might resolve itself, making for an enthralling read and I had to remind myself to breathe as I read. Frequently brutal and often beautiful, Last Ones Left Alive is always brilliant.
The exciting, and for me often terrifying, plot aside, The Last Ones Left Alive is so enthralling because of the themes it weaves into the narrative. It is quite feminist in nature and Orpen is an utterly believable example of a female taking her destiny into her own hands. I cared about her, I respected her and admired her whilst simultaneously thanking my lucky stars I didn’t have to be her. The human desire not to die alone is so effectively illustrated here as Orpen wonders if there is anyone left in Ireland. However, in amongst Orpen’s fierce willingness to fight and kill if need be, Sarah Davis-Goff illustrates a raw, visceral portrayal of deep and abiding love so that what emerges from a bleak and challenging existence is the understanding that love, loyalty and family are the true values in life – whatever that life may actually hold. I found this such powerful writing and as well as being scared and unnerved by events, I was deeply moved too.
I found Last Ones Left Alive a searing portrait of what it means to have humanity and to have it threatened, so that the potential resonances with modern life left me feeling disturbed and disquieted. Sarah Davis-Goff has written a blistering cracker of a novel. Equally terrifying and beautiful, I cannot recommend Last Ones Left Alive enough. It will stay with me for a very long time.
About Sarah Davis-Goff
Sarah Davis-Goff was born and raised in Ireland. After going to college in the US and UK, she eventually returned, and now lives in Dublin. Last Ones Left Alive is her debut novel.
You can follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahDavisGoff.