Originally reviewed for the Lovereading Review Panel.
‘Can we go to the rocks and chuck bottles?’
‘We don’t just chuck bottles: we send messages. There has to be a purpose to everything.’
‘Because we lost our adults to the virus. Because we’re alone.’
There’s nothing that fills me with more dread than being left alone. I don’t mean for a day of peace and quiet; I mean completely alone, wandering the streets and wondering if there’s someone, something, close by, surviving, watching. This creeps me out more than I care to admit.
The Last of Us is exactly this kind of story. And to make it creepier, it’s the kids who survive. Told by Rona, we learn the story of how the children became ill, watched their parents and families die or disappear, and lived through the virus, only to have to struggle to carry on surviving.
Ewing does an excellent job of creating a desolate wasteland. With the narrator being a child, there’s an innocence to the story, which only makes it all the more scary. The inclusion of Gaelic is a beautiful addition, and Ewing allows us a peek into life on a Scottish island – not just after the virus strikes, but before, where the smaller population meant familiarity, rather than loneliness.
This is a story of survival, of being left alone and struggling to cope, but it’s also a story of hope and trust. It’s a story of friendship, and strength. It’s horrible and terrifying, but wonderfully crafted. The Last of Us isn’t a horror story in the traditional sense, but it’s bound to give you shivers. Thank you, Ewing, for creating something I will continue to see in my nightmares.
The Last of Us will be published this April. For more information, visit the HarperCollins website, or follow the author on Twitter, @robewinguk.