Published: 4 February 2021
Author: Bethany Clift
Published by: Hodder & Stoughton
Length: 400 pages
Reading dates: 18-21 January 2021
THE END OF EVERYTHING WAS HER BEGINNING
It’s November 2023. The human race has been wiped out by the 6DM virus (Six Days Maximum – the longest you’ve got before your body destroys itself). 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?
When I was invited on the blog tour for Last One at the Party, I instantly knew I had to read this book! I haven’t read any books about pandemics or the end of the world since we found ourselves in the middle of our own pandemic but I felt I was ready! And this one was a great choice!
The book begins with a terrifyingly short timeline of how the virus 6DM kills everyone in the world. It starts in a small town in Kansas on 23rd October 2023. And by mid December 2023 most of the world is dead. Unlike covid-19, no one survives – there is no cure and death is violent and painful. The UK actually lasts a lot longer than other parts of the world as the government learnt their lessons from the covid-19 crisis and quickly locked down our borders, including blowing up the Channel Tunnel. But it still found a way in. The only solution is government issued suicide pills.
Our narrator is an unnamed woman in her early 30s who finds herself the only person to have survived. And what a great narrator she is. Her solution to finding herself alone after watching her husband die, is to get drunk and take drugs – which to be honest is a completely believable scenario! She eventually comes up with a plan to try and find other survivors and this sees her travelling the length of Britain, picking up a stray dog along the way, discovering the new challenges (including no internet!) and dangers (huge rats and seagulls) of a world without humans.
Told with warmth and humour there are some absolutely devastating scenes but the overall message is one of hope. I loved how she grew as a person throughout the book – how she learns to survive and her amazing resourcefulness and courage. Part of her narration is her looking back on her life before 6DM – how she suffered with depression throughout her life which makes her determination to survive even more remarkable. She has her flaws but my goodness was I routing for her!
The forward to the book explains how the idea for this story came about back in 2018. I really liked how the author referenced our current situation though (I’m assuming the author made some quick edits to the story to incorporate it). I absolutely loved Last One at the Party and I’m positive it will make it into my top 10 of 2021. I didn’t want it to end. If you are tempted to purchase a copy, can I recommend the Waterstones edition? It has gorgeous pink pages and I have treated myself to a copy for my forever shelves!
Thank you to Steven Cooper for inviting me on the blog tour and for my copy of the book. Please check out the other blogger reviews below:
About the author
Bethany Clift is a graduate of the Northern Film School and has had projects in development with Eon and Film 4, as well as being a director of her own production company. Last One At The Party is her debut novel.