Last ones left alive

Sarah Davis-Goff

Book - 2019

Raised in isolation on a small island off the coast of a post-apocalyptic Ireland, Orpen's life has revolved around training to fight a threat she's never seen. More and more she feels the call of the mainland, and the prospect of finding other survivors. But that is where danger lies, too, in the form of the flesh-eating menace known as the skrake.

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Apocalyptic fiction
Dystopian fiction
Science fiction
New York : Flatiron Books 2019.
Main Author
Sarah Davis-Goff (author)
First U.S. edition
Physical Description
280 pages ; 22 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Welcome to an Ireland beset by skrakes, ravenous monsters whose bites transfer their infections to their victims. Amid the desolation of this new world, a young girl named Orpen pushes an injured woman in a wheelbarrow, driven by hope and rumors of a town called Phoenix City. Orpen has been trained to survive since birth, but barbarous creatures aren't the only threat she might face. Though she yearns for human contact, other people could prove more dangerous than the skrakes. The book is strongest when constructing its characters, especially Orpen, whose Irish-lilted prose conveys her voice with total authenticity. Even readers who are averse to post-apocalyptic or monster fiction are likely to be charmed by her. The skrakes themselves are rarely seen and not particularly ingenious (for the most part, they're your basic fast zombies). But it really doesn't matter, as the stellar character work and rapid pacing will be enough to hook readers. First-time novelist Davis-Goff has a firm grasp of good storytelling and one hopes that this confident debut will mark the beginning of a long bibliography.--Craig Lefteroff Copyright 2019 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

In gloomy post-apocalyptic Ireland, a young woman wanders the landscape with her dog and a dead body, trying to avoid zombies.Debut novelist Davis-Goff creates an atmospheric drama in which zombies (called skrake) are both plot device and metaphor, and she throws in some gender exploration along the way. Orpen, a young woman raised on an island off the coast of Ireland by lesbian mothers, has never known other people. Her birth mother, Muireann, and Muireann's lover, Maeve, ran away from Phoenix City before her birth, and together they created an idyllic childhood for Orpen in an abandoned village on the island. As Orpen grows up, her mothers begin to train her to be a warrior of sorts, able to defend herself against what they say are the three most fearsome things: other people, skrake, and men. But when a series of tragedies strike and Orpen ends up trying to find Phoenix City alone, she meets a man, a pregnant woman, and a small girl on the road, and plenty of adventure and emotional turmoil ensue. Orpen learns to confront not only the harsh reality of the world in which she lives, but the inherent human need for connection. "I can nearly understand the hunger of the skrake..." she says. "The desperation of having nothing and needing needing needing." Davis-Goff writes language evocative of melancholy longing in a landscape both beautiful and brutal, and she's created the distinctive voice of a first-person narrator who is both confident in her abilities and filled with fear and grief. The lone male character, however, flattens the female characters and does not seem necessary.With a bleak setting, waves of action, and immersive worldbuilding, Davis-Goff's debut successfully blends horror, lyrical prose, and feminist themes. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.