The Last Survivors: A Dystopian Society in a Post Apocalyptic World is book one of a pentalogy by Bobby Adair and T.W. Piperbrook. Set in the three cities of Brighton, Davenport and Coventry the story centers around the various people as they struggle to live in a society reduced back to medieval times in terms of technology and knowledge(most people don’t know who to count higher than they have fingers), and plagued by demons(zombies) created when people are exposed to plant spores that bloom in the fall.
The story primarily centers around Ella and her son William who has been exposed to the plant spore and has the characteristic smudges that identify the afflicted from the general populous.
Every year the three cities hold the Cleansing, a mandatory public ceremony where people disrobe and have their bodies examined for smudges. Having already lost her husband to the previous year’s Cleansing Ella is distraught when she discovers her eleven year old son, William, is infected by the spores . Rather than lose him too she plots an escape to her aunt and uncle’s farm in Davenport.
I couldn’t put this book down. Even though it lacked diversity in characters I still found it a good read. Ella’s fears were real and palpable and I readily identified with her struggles.
For essentially a zombie story the authors found a believable way to present the demons without falling into the stale tropes, such as being infected by their bite.
Also I thought it was a good call of their part not to have the people killed by the demons to come back as ones themselves. In this way the demons were made a potent threat without overdoing it and breaking suspension of disbelief.
Aside from a few typos the book was otherwise flawless, however I did have issues with the story. For example Father Wintrope was the cliched lecherous priest and only believed in the Word, the in universe dominant religion, so far as it enabled him to live the good life while the masses slaved away just to scrape by.
Also General Blackthorn was the trite blood thirsty soldier and his actions made little sense given that people were barely getting by and should have revolted given Blackthorn’s heavy hand. Yet you’d be hard pressed to see anyone brave, or stupid enough to go against either Wintrope or Blackthorn.
I also take umbrage with the lack of diversity in the characters. It wouldn’t have killed them to have a few people of color in there instead of the wall to wall white characters.
I also didn’t like how the book just abruptly ends once they arrive arrive in Davenport. Without spoiling the ending for you i’ll just say it could have been handled better after all that build up it just stops.
Overall this book was a fun read and if you’re looking for a good read to tide you over get it. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series and will review them as I finish them.