Published: March 2014 by Allen & Unwin
Format: Paperback, 407 pages
Genres: Post Apocalyptic
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I glance at my fellow fugitives in the glow of the fire: black-streaked, white-eyed, faces fearful but fierce. Whoever any of us were a week ago, we've now become people we could never have imagined.
After facing the heartbreaking truth in Shadow Valley, Danby is determined to have her revenge on Jack.
With Jack dead, her little brother Evan and hundreds of other Minions will be free of his control. With Jack dead, she and her friend Nathan will be able to revive thousands more from the millions of catatonic Goners.
But what if she's wrong - about everything?
After Danby confronts Jack on a dying stretch of highway, all of her beliefs are turned inside out. Not only are his feelings for her real, he's working against the clock to save lives and rebuild society. To Danby's horror, it's Nathan who appears to threaten the new order.
With her emotions raging and blood on her hands, Danby has to take a side in a deadly battle that'll decide the future of the world. And as allies become enemies and foes turn into friends, she'll have to embrace methods so dark that the price of survival may be her very soul ...
The Last Shot is the sequel to The Last Girl, a brilliant début set in a post-acopalyptic Sydney. The Last Shot takes up immediately after the last book, and follows Danby as she makes her way back to Jack, determined to kill him to avenge her mother.
The world as we know it has ended. A week ago, a mysterious event dubbed The Snap instantaneously allowed everyone to read each other’s thoughts (inside some radius). People destroyed themselves and each other as their deepest, darkest secrets were broadcast out on the open, and then they became catatonic as their brains shut down, overloaded with information. Danby is one of the rare people who haven’t been affected as badly: she can hear other people’s thoughts, but doesn’t broadcast her own. This gives her a chance of surviving with the help of other survivors such as Nathan, a med-school student, and Jack, a charismatic guy who can bring people back to consciousness, and controls them with his mind.
One of my favourite aspects of the novel is the confusion Danby feels about Jack. She wants to kill him, but proximity to him leads her to second-guess herself and she becomes very conflicted about her decisions. Her hesitancy is sharply contrasted with her attitude in the second half of the book, where she is cold, calculated and ruthless (but also horrified at what life has become for her, and how she’s changed). Her character development is astounding, but I think it’s also realistic given all the things she’s seen and done.
Danby carries this story with her determination to save her brother Ethan and her desire to avenge mother. However, she’s not absolutely perfect – she has plenty of selfish thoughts and isn’t always proud of her thoughts and actions. What makes Danby awesome is that she pushes through it and doesn’t wallow – she embraces all her fears and doubts.
I was very disappointed to leave Nathan behind in the last book – I’d come to love him a little – and I was thrilled that he and Danby are (eventually) reunited in this one. He’s also changed since we last saw him, a by-product of the harsh new reality of the world, but all my favourite thing about him are still present: he’s sweet, gentlemanly, and handles a gun like a boss.
Michael Adams expands his post-apocalyptic world in this book, and we get to see Wiseman’s Ferry, the RAAF base at Richmond, and a few other cool places. I love that I can imagine everything that’s happening, because I know all the roads, the landmarks, how things are laid out in relation to everything else.
We also get a few new clues about why Danby, Nathan and a few others don’t broadcast their thoughts, and why Jack might have developed the mind-control powers he has. I’m looking forward to finding out more about the science behind the Snap and its aftermath in the next book!
The sophisticated and concise writing style I loved in the last book is used again in The Last Shot. It’s the perfect way to tell this kind of story because the danger and heart-thumping excitement are ever present, and the emotions of the characters are raw. The story has always focussed on Danby’s struggle to simply survive – this isn’t a traditional heroic story where the protagonist goes out to save the whole world. Danby’s goals are to ensure the safety of her brother and herself, which works because of the first-person narration.
Danby’s gripping story continues in The Last Shot, and fans of The Last Girl shouldn’t miss the sequel! I think the story-telling is amazing, the characters awesome, and the plot is great. Here’s to the book fairies – I hope I can read the final book in the series soon!