25/100 Books: THE LAST GIRL

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THE LAST GIRL by Joe Hart

What the heck is it about? The Goodreads summary:

A mysterious worldwide epidemic reduces the birthrate of female infants from 50 percent to less than 1 percent. Medical science and governments around the world scramble in an effort to solve the problem, but twenty-five years later there is no cure, and an entire generation grows up with a population of fewer than a thousand women.

Zoey and some of the surviving young women are housed in a scientific research compound dedicated to determining the cause. For two decades, she’s been isolated from her family, treated as a test subject, and locked away—told only that the virus has wiped out the rest of the world’s population.

Captivity is the only life Zoey has ever known, and escaping her heavily armed captors is no easy task, but she’s determined to leave before she is subjected to the next round of tests…a program that no other woman has ever returned from. Even if she’s successful, Zoey has no idea what she’ll encounter in the strange new world beyond the facility’s walls. Winning her freedom will take brutality she never imagined she possessed, as well as all her strength and cunning—but Zoey is ready for war.

My rating: 1/5 stars

I try not to be too negative with my book reviews, since what makes a good book is sometimes so subjective, but every once in a while I come across a book that rubs me the wrong way. This is one of those times. I got this book for free through Amazon Prime’s Kindle First program (one free book a month!) but I still feel like I should get my money back.

This book is boring, first and foremost. Nothing particularly interesting happens for 50% of the book (other than long, drawn out descriptions of day-to-day life in the most uninteresting setting ever, and the occasional torture the main character endures just to prove how she’s a Strong Female Character.) When the inciting incident finally happens (halfway through the book, ugh) it somehow manages to continue to fail to grab my attention. And to put this in perspective, I have a degree in English literature, I’ve read the longest, most frivolous Victorian novels and still been perfectly entertained. I love narratives, and I always try to sink into stories even when I can see their flaws. (that’s why so many of my reviews are 4- and 5-star, I’m easy to please.)

None of the major plot points make sense, none of the characters are particularly fleshed out, and even the main character is 2D. Add to that how the author makes some textbook rookie mistakes in his prose and I’m starting to get baffled as to how this book ever made it past an agent’s slush pile.

But oh, that’s not even the worst of it. The female lead is subjected to unnecessary amounts of sexual violence (I’m getting the feeling the author can’t imagine a world in which women are scarce without there also being rampant rape and abuse of women.) It also does that annoying dystopian thing where the narrative only talks about what’s going on in the US. For all I know as a reader, the rest of the world is handling the lack of female births just fine.

This book is a mess from start to finish, so my advice is to pass this one up and read something else.

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