Book Review: The Last Feast

  • Title: The Last FeastThe Last Feast
  • Author: Zeb Haradon
  • Series: None
  • Genre: Sci-Fi with some elements of Horror
  • Publishing Date: 6/22/2018
  • Publishing Co.: Indie
  • Length: 169 pages in print
  • Source: Kindle
  • Acquired: From the Author (Free)
  • Amazon LinkThe Last Feast by Zeb Haradon

Jim, the only human still alive in the universe, lives his life on a small escape pod orbiting a black hole, where he survives by replicating himself and eating his clones. Before eating one of his duplicates, he entertains his meal by recounting the story of how he got here and how he managed to survive.

It began when he had decided to travel to an interstellar colony where he could sell some museum pieces he owned. En route, the ship he is on gets momentarily caught in the powerful gravity of a black hole and is flung trillions and trillions of years into the future. The passengers find themselves in a time of maximum entropy, where all life is extinct, all the stars have burned out, and there is nothing left in the universe except a black hole and a complete vacuum extending in all directions.

As the original crew of seven is slowly reduced through suicide, murder, and accident, two factions form. One group believes, against all evidence, that somehow, somewhere, there exists intelligent life in this universe that can rescue them from this hell, and they devote their energies to sending out more and more powerful distress calls. The other group simply wants to preserve the ship’s power, so that they can live comfortably in this hopeless universe as long as possible.

First Chapter Challenge (Prologue):

The beginning of this novel begins with Jim, the only living thing left in the universe, pedaling to keep his small space pod at full battery and then cloning himself for food. With the need for human contact, he begins to tell the other Jim (who is a perfect clone, straight down to the exact same memories) the story of how he got there.

Already, I am intrigued. I know the ending of the story–Jim is the last person alive after all–but how did he get there? Is there any hope for his continued survival? And perhaps the most dreadful question of all: What is the point of surviving if he is the only one left? Or perhaps Jim is mistaken, and there is another life form somewhere out there in the great abyss of space.

The novel is also showing some of its true colors already; yes, it is definitely a sci-fi, but it also contains very adult elements and some hints at graphic horror. I am mentally preparing myself for this ride, as I can tell it may be a hard one to swallow.

Final Judgment: 3.5 Stars

Though I am more familiar with the fantasy genre than sci-fi, this book destroyed my expectations and expanded my view of the genre. It is a very quick read, and perfect for a break from real life, as the story is completely different from any circumstances you may currently be in. I will admit that the book cover put me off at first, but despite its weird, sort of creepy vibe, I can honestly say that it fits the book (in a good way).

The story itself is suspenseful, with some graphic horror and sexual elements intermixed. I would definitely recommend any potential readers to be 18+.  Even with the book being very adult–as I tend to read much softer fantasies–I found the story to be very intriguing. Without giving away any spoilers, I will simply say that I cared about the characters, empathized with them, and was rooting for one of the factions to win over the other. I was even able to comprehend some of the science/medicine behind many of the actions of the characters, which enhanced my reading. The characters were able to dumb-down the science language just enough that I could understand what was happening and why/how they wanted to do something, but not too much to detract from the characters’ respective career fields.

I actually ended up reading this story within one night, as I just could not put the book down! Each scene led to the next, and it continued building and building the climax until the very end. I really liked how the prologue introduced us to the end of the story, as it added to the suspense and forced me to question everything that everyone did.

I also really liked how Haradon included specific quotes in his book from real history sources. It bestowed an authenticity to the story and allowed it to blend easily into a possibility of what our future may hold.

The Persistence of Memory (Dali’s “melting clock” painting), has always been popularly regarded as an exemplar of surrealism. I saw something more surreal though–The Persistence of Memory floating in space, slowly drifting away from our ship after we jettisoned it from our cargo, along with dozens of other paintings, art pieces, a couple ancient artifacts, and a skateboard

What decreased my rating was how easy some events seemed to be. A suicide attempt by one of the crew members just did not seem to fit into that character’s personality, and seemed instead a way for the author to continue the plot. There was also one plot hole that I am still wondering about, and it to seemed like it was just an easy way to move the plot along. *But I will not give any spoilers! Leave a comment if you want to know the loose end I found!* Maybe someone can clear it up for me

However, the biggest thing about the novel that hit my rating hard, was the editing. There were several grammatical/spelling mistakes throughout the novel, as well as misnaming some of the characters. Most notably was in one scene when the narration kept referring to “Alice,” when the character was actually “Dot;” Alice was not even in the same place! But, if you can get over some technical editing errors, I think that sci-fi and casual readers alike will find this novel as an interesting read. One to get us to think about our own moral standards and the meaning (or futility) of life alone. 

In Nature, there are few happy endings

(National Geographic’s Last Feast of the Crocodiles)

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