Format: E-Galley, 371 pages
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian
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.
The Last Girl is the first installment in Joe Hart's The Dominion Trilogy. Set in a not too distant future, the story features 21-year old Zoe, no last name, who is one of a few females to have survived a pandemic that has prevented women from giving birth to female babies. After the dust and violence of a rebellion has settled, Zoe and other girls were taken to a secretive conclave deep in the heart of Washington State. Zoe and the other girls are basically hostages of an organization called Advanced Research Compound and the National Obstetric Alliance.
They are told they are being "protected" for their own good and the good of humanity. They are forced to go to school on a daily basis where they are indoctrinated into being mindful and well behaved young ladies. Of course, this concept is highly disturbing since the girls are basically in a prison where they get 3 meals, a job to work, and one hour of daily exercise. On the bright side, when a girl turns twenty-one, she is supposed to be given an induction, freedom, and the ability to meet once again with their parents.
This is an unusual story to review. There are so many things to talk about. Each female has their own "Cleric" who is supposed to watch over them. Some are better than others. Zoe's is Simon who just happens to have a son, Lee that she may or may not have a romantic interest in. There are a whole lot of situations where Zoe has to stand against bullying and harassment from the other girls and guards who are looking for something more than she is willing to give.
I loved Zoe's feistiness, her skeptical nature towards those who are holding her hostage, and her protective nature towards a girl with severe difficulties named Lily. Zoe is perhaps the only character who has made plans outside of the complex and isn't afraid to express herself in ways that may rile others. So, when she gets the opportunity to escape, she does so.
If I might be so blunt, this escape sequence was amazing. I loved the danger, the action, and the unknown that Zoe has to face now that she is outside. When she later meets some survivors who have not had the best lives since the plague and ensuing wars, she knows she has found a home. Yet, she knows that she can't leave the other girls behind. Not Lily, not even the bullies who would rather kill her.
Yes, I am looking forward to the sequel called The Final Trade which is supposed to release September 13, 2016.