The Last Orphans
The Last Orphans Series: Book I
Author’s Website: https://nwharrisbooks.wordpress.com/
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Scott
The adolescent market is one of the hardest book categories to break into, and The Last Orphans is a good demonstration of why. Combining the “fantasy land” of a world of adolescents without adults, a sinister plot and a healthy dose of Stephen King’s The Stand thrown in, the book has a “railroading” feel to it, pushing the reader along a linear plot with no underlying subplots that could have made the book a little more three-dimensional.
When animals turn on adults, and adults turn on each other, the last orphans, a ragged teenage and younger band of survivors from Leeville, Georgia, begin their journey into a world without anyone over the age of 18. The plot proceeds in a linear fashion from start until end, eschewing subplots and side stories, for a straight action read. The book reveals a little more of the world surrounding the small town existence of these kids to the glowing neon of Atlanta, ever so slowly showing the ravage first on a small personal world then to the wide scale panoramic vision of the world.
The survival horror genre is a place this book certainly belongs. The trials and tribulations of Shane, Kelly, Tracy and others fit neatly in this trope. Suddenly, without adults to protect them, they have to often fight for their place in the world, usually out of necessity, often as a last resort. They see so much disturbing things, that the reader is propelled out of sheer desire to see how far their coping mechanisms hold out. They are pushed along following the traditional five act play all the way to the sinister climax and a denouement that paves the way for the next book in the series.
The characters are what make the book, as we can all remember our high school friends and how we stuck together, through good times and bad, and the almost apocalyptic mayhem that surrounds the book cements the bonds between the primary characters. Basically, it’s high school students trying to take care of a group of children, all the while suffering from the pangs of adolescence. Placed in impossible situations we probably all have dreamed of (well, at least I have) they find the inner strength to carry on despite the over mounting obstacles that lay before them. Staying true to Shane’s viewpoint throughout, we get the glimpses of high school stereotypes shatter as they get called into action. The plot may be linear, but the characterization was three-dimensional.
Overall, The Last Orphans, is a light, well executed survival horror read. The book borderlines on its disturbing imagery and scenes of violence. Not to say that it is all bad, but the violence at least rates an over 14 age demographic. A fun read for fans of the video game The Last of Us, Stephen King’s The Stand (although meant for older audiences), or the Resident Evil franchise of games and books will find this to be a read that will stay in the mind for a while.