And so I am back with yet another post-apocalyptic novel! I don’t know what is my fascination with this theme, but I don’t think I’m the only one since there are a TON of books being released about this same topic. I have been waiting a long time to read this one. When I first found out about it, it hadn’t been released yet. Then, when it finally was released, I didn’t have time to get to it, so I’ve been putting it off until now. Today, I came home and sat down and read it all. And I didn’t even want to take a break before writing my review, so here it comes!
It all begins with a reality TV show, where 12 contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges and survive against all odds in a test of endurance. In the woods, they have no contact with the outside world – so they never find out about the terrible destruction that is happening in the word outside of this reality show. When one contestant, a woman the producer of the show has dubbed Zoo, stumbles through the devastation, she imagines it is part of the game and continues to trudge along to where she believes the finish line is. Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt but refuses to quit, relying on every ounce of courage as well as her survival skills to keep pushing through. But as her emotional and physical resolve weakens, she starts to realize that perhaps she has entered back into the real world, a world that she left intact but that has now been altered in terrifying ways – and no amount of pretending will keep her safe anymore.
What an interesting premise! The way the author used a reality TV show was quite ingenious! The story switches back and forth from the present moment, where Zoo is all alone and unaware of what has happened, to the past, when all of the contestants were participating in the TV show. Reading about the way the editing and scripting works in reality TV was quite fascinating; I’m not naive enough to believe that everything I view on TV is real but it’s a whole other story when you find out exactly how producers and editors go about achieving the end result. The buildup was slow but tantalizing and I enjoyed reading how Zoo eventually realizes that the world is no longer the same. Watching her physically and mentally struggle against the wilderness and the truth…well, the author definitely depicted that in an amazing way! The flow of the story was good and at the end of the day, I enjoyed what I read. It reminded me a lot of Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel so if you liked that novel, then you will definitely like this one!