Joe Hart’s The Last Girl is a forgettable dystopian “thriller.” I’m honestly not sure why it’s classified as a thriller. In basic summary, the world has suffered a widespread issue (virus? plague? genetic abnormality? microwaves?) where no girls are born. As such, this causes problems and the globe eventually swings into political and societal turmoil. The protagonist is a young woman housed in a facility that is supposedly trying to find a cure. Nothing felt particularly new or original about this novel, though the characters weren’t awful and it was somewhat entertaining. I’m glad I got it free through the Kindle First program. If you’re looking for a generic novel about survival in a dystopian world, this might not be a bad read for you. In my recommendation, however, it is definitely a READ WITH CAUTION.
Here, There Be Spoilers
Hart’s The Last Girl attempts to create tension and suspense with the mystery of the “facility.” As with many stories of this type, the protagonist is essentially a prisoner inside a system that is trying to research a cure for the issue that caused the birth rate of baby girls to drop significantly enough to change the entire world.
The main character is smart, and there is definitely tension among the characters themselves. There’s a variety of clandestine romance, as well as a few tense moments, but overall you simply find out about how the facility is not what it seems to be in more detail as the story goes along.
The main character’s breakout was just this side of realistic. She at least had the foresight to pay attention to things and watch for openings, which helped her in escape. She also didn’t get herself killed going back for the other women, which would have made her escape impossible and completely ruined the validity of the novel. After this bit of saving grace, she survives a helicopter crash–but at least had the decency to be injured.
I liked the concept of the society, and felt that the world was fairly true to what might be if such a global disaster were to happen. The facility itself and the “Fae Trade” in the outside world that sold women were both believable. The main character’s level of suspicion was also refreshing, along with the diversity of the group of survivors. Old man sniper, younger soldier type, and mute seen-to-much young boy were fairly stereotypical, but had enough personality to not be too boring. I’m still not quite sure exactly how they used a boat to break into the facility through a laundry chute, but at this point I’m not going to dedicate the brain cells.
The ending, while believable in a certain sense, was a touch too melodramatic for my tastes.
Unless you’re incredibly interested in this type of story, I’d pass. I call it a READ WITH CAUTION. It’s certainly no Arena One or Armada, but it definitely isn’t compelling.