I had heard a lot of great things about The Last Of Us by Rob Ewing so was thrilled to have been lucky enough to win a copy in Rob’s recent Twitter giveaway – thank you Rob!
‘Mum are you still listening?
This is the story of how I got to be here. But it isn’t an easy story for me, because it hasn’t ended yet.’
The Last Of Us tells the powerful and moving story of a small group of children and their quest for survival. It is a post apocalyptic novel, in which a pandemic has wiped out most of the population of a small Scottish island, leaving these children the only survivors. As a result they have no choice but to fend for themselves in a frightening and lonely new world. In it they must hunt for the supplies to keep them alive, avoid coming under the attack of the dogs that roam the island, all whilst hoping that they may be rescued. It was heartbreaking to see them send messages in bottles in the hope that help may arrive and save them from their grim fate. From the start I was gripped by this bleak tale and I really felt for these children and their extraordinary situation. The oldest of the group, Elizabeth, tries to add some normality to their situation by introducing rules and acting as a teacher. However, other children have different ideas, and brothers Calum Ian and Duncan rebel against the rules and the group fight and bicker amongst themselves as their situation becomes more desperate, as the youngest in the group is running out of medication…
‘Funny how some things you can’t know all at once. It takes maybe the third or fourth try. It’s maybe even my fifth look that tells me things went very bad.’
This was a very bleak story which is made all the more frightening as it is narrated by Rona, an eight year old girl. Rona’s narration means we get to see this world through a child’s eyes and see the events unfolding around her which no child should have to experience. There are some particularly powerful moments in the novel as the children go door to door, searching for the food and supplies that they need to sustain their small group. But there are horrors waiting behind each door, and who knows who or what could be inside. As the children discover the full extent of the pandemic’s impact in each building there are some grisly moments but the writing is not overly gratuitous and the children remarkably have built up their own system and routine in dealing with these situations. I was gripped until the end as the children continued on their journey, and I liked the memories shared of life before the illness took hold, and the events leading up to the children’s extraordinary situation.
‘The only obstacle is us. It’s better to believe in being alive than what the opposite might be. It’s infinity better to believe that.’
The Last Of Us was an enjoyable read about survival within a harsh and isolated landscape. It follows a path to survival paved with danger at every turn, but it is also a story of hope, and the determination to survive against the odds.