Book Review / Reviews with Spoilers / Will Dean

Will Dean | The Last One

The Book: 

The Last One by Will Dean
Published August 8, 2023 by Emily Bestler Books
Date read: August 21, 2023

The Characters: 

Daniel, Frannie, and Smith

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Buy it on | Amazon

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The Plot (from Goodreads):

When Caz steps onboard the exclusive cruise liner RMS Atlantica, it’s the start of a vacation of a lifetime with her new love, Pete. On their first night they explore the ship, eat, dance, make friends, but when Caz wakes the next morning, Pete is missing.

And when she walks out into the corridor, all the cabin doors are open. To her horror, she soon realizes that the ship is completely empty. No passengers, no crew, nobody but her. The Atlantica is steaming into the mid-Atlantic and Caz is the only person on board. But that’s just the beginning of the terrifying journey she finds herself trapped on in this white-knuckled mystery.

How did The Last One end?

Click here for book spoilers for The Last One
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read The Last One, I suggest you turn back now.

The Reveal:

What the heck! The four remaining passengers were unwittingly part of a reality TV show. There were cameras all over the ship streaming their actions to millions of viewers. After a few days of them stumbling around the ship trying to figure out what was going on, a TV screen turned on and someone who wanted to be called The Admiral gave them an infuriatingly small amount of information. They were competing for a large sum of money, they would have to complete challenges in order to win, and the other passengers were okay.

Smith got the first challenge. He had to complete an escape room style task in the library, and the answer led them to a cabin with some food and supplies. That night, though, someone opened the box marked DO NOT OPEN. Caz’s task was next, and since the box had been opened, her task was much more deadly. She had to jump off the ship and hope that her companions would rescue her. They managed to, but it wasn’t easy.

Daniel’s task was to climb a rock wall, zipline into the pool, and then dive to retrieve a room key. He completed the task, but the ship’s controllers closed the pool cover with him still inside. He presumably died, but the other passengers didn’t know for sure.

That was when they met Michelle. She was The Admiral, and she supposedly had been in a secret room on the ship the whole time. She admitted that she had signed up to host a reality TV show, but she had no idea how far they’d take it. After Daniel’s task, she had had enough.

Frannie’s task was to climb up the ship’s mast to retrieve another room key, but she nominated Caz to do it instead (without anyone else agreeing). Caz managed the task fine, but Frannie was overcome with guilt and jumped off the deck to certain death.

Michelle was helicoptered off the ship, but they didn’t pick up Caz and Smith. The two decided to leave in hopes of swimming back to shore. Smith got lost in the waves, and then Caz got a phone call saying she had won. She was rescued by a boat.

Frannie was on the rescue boat, as well as Daniel and Smith. No one had died. Frannie and Daniel were actors–Caz and Smith were the only ones playing. There was supposedly never any danger. Caz was distraught and had severe PTSD.

Pete showed up at her hotel one night but wouldn’t answer any of Caz’s questions about where he went the night he disappeared. He said he was just swept away by the crowd and later was told that Caz was accounted for.

The Ending:

Pete and Caz get on a flight back home. Caz goes to the bathroom, and when she comes out there is no one else on the plane, starting the plot over again.

My Thoughts:

I loved this up until the last paragraph. Are we setting things up for a sequel? Is Caz just nuts? I hate open-ended! (I know, that’s just me). I thought Caz’s boyfriend was a dick for his lackluster explanation of why he just left her on the boat, but the very end makes me think he was in on it all along.

Open-ended last paragraph aside, I loved this unique thriller. I loved the claustrophobic cruise ship setting and the escape room vibes. Very creative and well-written! This would make an amazing screen adaptation.

The Review: 

This book was cuckoo for cocoa puffs! Honestly, if I say literally anything beyond the blurb it’s going to spoil it. Just go read it without looking at any reviews on Goodreads or anywhere else, and then come back for the spoiler discussion! It’s best to go in totally blind like I did. I think if I had seen any reviews beyond “just read it” it would have given away the shock value.

I definitely recommend The Last One, though!

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