Thursday 4 February 2021

Last One At The Party by Bethany Clift BLOG TOUR @Beth_Clift @HodderBooks @Stevie_Coops #LastOneAtTheParty #BookReview


It's December 2023 and the world as we know it has ended.

The human race has been wiped out by a virus called 6DM ('Six Days Maximum' - the longest you've got before your body destroys itself).

But somehow, in London, one woman is still alive. A woman who has spent her whole life compromising what she wants, hiding how she feels and desperately trying to fit in. A woman who is entirely unprepared to face a future on her own.

Now, with only an abandoned golden retriever for company, she must travel through burning cities, avoiding rotting corpses and ravenous rats on a final journey to discover if she really is the last surviving person on earth.

And with no one else to live for, who will she become now that she's completely alone?

Last One At The Party by Bethany Clift is published today, 4 February 2021, by Hodder & Stoughton.
My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy to review for this blog tour.

Last One At The Party is a book with an enormous hook, there's no doubt that readers will be split by the premise. There are some who do not wish to read anything that could even vaguely be related to the COVID19 pandemic that we are currently bang in the middle of.  There are others, like me, who are relishing tales of dystopian futures. That's how I roll, and this book came at the perfect time, for me.

The author has explained, in her author letter that her story was written before the current pandemic. She's not 'cashing in', and I suspect that she has worried about this. It's clear that minor changes have been made to the book, as there are references to our current situation, which for me, only added a heightened sense of reality to it. After all, who could publish a book set in 2023 and not mention COVID?

6DM is named because, anyone who contracts the virus has 'six days maximum' to live. What a terrifying thought. There's no vaccine, or treatment. There are no restrictions in place. It's a total free for all.  The UK Government actually did appear to learn some lessons from 2020, and were able to avoid the virus for some months. However, it did arrive and our narrator is the only person still alive. 

She watched her husband die. Her parents are dead. Her best friend is dead. Shop assistants are dead, all of the Government are gone and the Royal Family are also no more. However, she doesn't seem to be affected at all. No sneezing, or vomiting, no temperature. She's fine, but not mentally. Oh no.

She is not a born survivor. She has no idea what to do, and it is this totally chaotic, no planning frame of mind that really moves the story along. She's a flawed, sweary character. She's real, she could be any one of us. 

There are utterly devastating, stomach churning scenes, vividly described that will burn an image into your brain that is difficult to get rid of. Seagulls, rats, hungry dogs ..... the stuff of nightmares, really. 

However, this is not just a story about the end of civilisation. It's told in a clever narrative, a kind of rambling diary that allows the reader to learn more about the women who is speaking. She's totally honest about her past failings, and why wouldn't she be?  There's nobody left to judge her. 

Startling, clever, heartbreaking, funny and bang up to date. Last One At The Party is an exploration of one woman who faces the most uncertain of futures. It's the exploration of a person with brutal, frank honesty. It's endearing, yet terrifying. Hilarious in places, utterly devastating in others. A clever story with an ending that raises so many questions, but is also the perfect finale. 

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.

Twitter @Beth_Clift

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