NB—I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review, In the interests of full disclosure, I should also mention that the political beliefs readers were assumed to have are pretty far from my own. I believe in gun control, I think America’s lack of care for its vulnerable peoples are ridiculous, and I know full well that I am not the target audience for this book
The cover is interesting and professional, and hints nicely at the book’s plot
My opinion on this book is… divided. While I liked the writing style, and found it very easy to read, I didn’t connect to any of the characters and I feel like the world itself wasn’t explored the way it should have been to make it feel realistic. Don’t get me wrong—the future technologies of war were well-developed an interesting; but there were more mentions to the American Civil War (which as an Australian I didn’t get, or care to research) than there were to the events that led to the war in this book. It was as though the author assumed everyone knew about US history and had the same opinion on where the US is now heading as she did, and it made for a strange book, where the war that drives the tension wasn’t really explained. Even the President and Department of Homeland Security (the novel’s villains) were given no real motivation for their actions. Maintaining power, sure, but why take the extreme measures they did? The plot holes in this book were large, and would have been very easy for Debra Tash to avoid, as the quality of her writing is exceptional.
The relationships in this book likewise fell flat, for similar reasons. Beck’s relationship with Poole has odd jumps, from casual acquaintance, to love interest, to soulmate, with no real on-page motivation. The interactions between Beck and her mother and sister also felt two-dimensional, and I found it hard to see of any of the characters as fully-fledged people.
I think the retroactive ‘justification’ of Beck’s father’s gun and supply hoarding was a little far-fetched, and I didn’t like the way a character was killed at every pivotal point of Last Call America to add the emotional depth that was otherwise lacking. I wish Beck’s character had been explored a little more, and I wish her development into a capable leader and guerrilla fighter happened on the page.
This book was easy to read, but the political beliefs that any reader was assumed to have also rubbed me the wrong way, and I didn’t about any of the characters. If you enjoy war stories, traditional romance, and enjoy American history, maybe this book is for you.