Series: The Last Orphans #1
Published on October 9th, 2014
Genres: Dark, Dystopian / Post-Apocalyptic, Thriller, Young Adult
Source: Review Copy
One horrifying day will change the life of sixteen-year-old Shane Tucker and every other kid in the world.
In a span of mere hours, the entire adult population is decimated, leaving their children behind to fend for themselves and deal with the horrific aftermath of the freak occurrence. As one of the newly made elders in his small town, Shane finds himself taking on the role of caretaker for a large group of juvenile survivors. One who just happens to be Kelly Douglas—an out-of-his-league classmate—who, on any other day, would have never given Shane a second glance.
Together, they begin their quest to find out why all of the adults were slaughtered. What they find is even more horrifying than anything they could have expected—the annihilation of the adults was only the beginning. Shane and his friends are not the unlucky survivors left to inherit this new, messed-up planet. No, they are its next victims. There is an unknown power out there, and it won’t stop until every person in the world is dead.
A spine-tingling adventure that will have you gasping for breath all the way until the last page, The Last Orphans is the first book in an all-new apocalyptic series.
As the synopsis covers just about every detail the reader needs to know – I’ll just jump right into my thoughts on this one. First of all, I want to thank the publishers for providing me with a copy to read. The Last Orphans centers around children and teenagers alike who are left to fend for themselves when all the adults on planet earth are slaughtered. What I enjoyed about this novel in that it is for mature audiences. The content and descriptions of the violence are gritty – Harris certainly knows how to make his readers cringe. All I can say is that if I feared bees and wasps before, you can damn well bet I’m terrified of them now. You see that dog over there? He isn’t Lassie – no, he’s Cujo. If you’re an adult you’d better expect a pretty gruesome death.
After Shane, the main character loses his grandma the world begins to go to hell. Quite literally. With little to no order left, children start to ravage the streets and turn into wild beasts. Shane in turn finds his friends, hop on some buses with seventy-some other kids and make their way to an army base seeking answers, and hopefully some adults. However, what they find there will change their lives forever. This story centers on banding together even when it looks like there is no hope. It displays the prosperous and evil side of humanity – what was once good is no longer safe. In a world with no order, who can you trust?
What I thoroughly enjoyed were the emotions we saw from the characters. They were raw and very real – after all, they are just kids. Kids who have seen their parents torn to shreds, kids who have had to murder just to live, kids who have lost everything that made them who they are. With strength as a group, they are forced to rebuild what was taken away from them. The older teens become the parents to the younger children. Their innocence is wiped away and replaced with more responsibility ever imaginable. It’s a very strong message of how life sometimes deals out bad cards, we just have to grab the bull by the horns and keep going.
The story itself held my attention; however, it took me just about a week to read this book – which a long time for me. I myself found that the plot moved so quick that the reader couldn’t catch up to the characters. Which was disappointing because for me the characters are a big part of why I read. While I enjoyed their emotions, I just couldn’t feel any attachment to them. Without that connection I wasn’t as attentive to what I was really reading.
Also, the cover. It ties into one of the scenes.. but to someone who hasn’t read it.. well it appears like a bunch of wild-child teens just set fire to their school as they pose with wicked grins. No.. my dearest friend, you just endured one of the worst moments in your life.. why are you grinning? I know, I know – it’s just the cover! But I can’t get over it.
Other than those things, I found the story interesting and the plot captivating. The Last Orphans ends with a killer cliffhanger. While I wish a few points were stronger in the novel, I will continue to the second once it is released. Harris developed a sinister story which will be sure to chill those light of heart.