The Last Day
A WORLD HALF IN DARKNESS. A SECRET SHE MUST BRING TO LIGHT.2059. The world has stopped turning. One half suffers an endless frozen night; the other, nothing but burning sun.Only in a slim twilit region can life survive.In an isolationist Britain, Ellen Hopper receives a letter from a dying man.It contains a powerful and dangerous secret.One that those in power will kill to conceal…

The Last Day Details

TitleThe Last Day
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 6th, 2020
PublisherHutchinson
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Fiction, Dystopia, Apocalyptic, Post Apocalyptic, Thriller

The Last Day Review

  • Jenna
    January 1, 1970
    "Then the worldThe world stops turning roundThen the worldThe world stops turning roundIt's a killer but that's the way it goes" ~World Stops Turning by The AngelsWhat an exciting post-apocalyptic thriller The Last Day is!  In 2019, the gravity from a passing asteroid slows down the Earth's rotation until it finally comes to a complete stop (not to worry - it didn't actually happen). As you can imagine, this is a catastrophe. One half of the world is plunged into eternal darkness and the other "Then the worldThe world stops turning roundThen the worldThe world stops turning roundIt's a killer but that's the way it goes" ~World Stops Turning by The AngelsWhat an exciting post-apocalyptic thriller The Last Day is!  In 2019, the gravity from a passing asteroid slows down the Earth's rotation until it finally comes to a complete stop (not to worry - it didn't actually happen). As you can imagine, this is a catastrophe. One half of the world is plunged into eternal darkness and the other half is constantly baking under the sun's intense heat. Only a small part of Earth's land is habitable.Ellen Hopper is lucky enough to be in England where human life can still survive. When an old mentor at Oxford summons her to his deathbed, her life is plunged into chaos of a different kind.  The dying man is able to utter two words before his own lights go out: "my house". Confused, Hopper sets out on a quest to figure out what Edward Thorne wanted to inform her of, only to learn the government will go to any lengths to stop her.A strong female lead is always a plus in a novel and I loved Ellen's character: a tough, intelligent scientist who is determined to uncover the mystery even though it places her life in danger. It's not constant action; the beginning is more introspective and slow-moving, but I loved that about the book. We really get to know Hopper, what makes her tick, the pain she tries to hide from. We learn of her past relationships and why she walls herself off emotionally. After that, once Ellen meets with old, dying Thorne, the pace picks up and Ellen is on the run from sinister government agents who will do anything to stop Ellen from learning the truth.The only thing I didn't get is that there is a shortage of food and yet everyone seems to smoke like chimneys. OKaaaaayyyyyy..... They're growing tobacco instead of grains or vegetables when hardly anyone has enough food to eat? I used to smoke; I know I'd have done with less food in order to get cigarettes if I had had to choose -it's the nature of addiction - so I can understand the choice on an individual level. However, we're supposed to believe the government chose to grow tobacco and let children's bellies protrude with malnutrition just so the adults could smoke? And parents wouldn't protest this when their children are going hungry, even if they personally would rather smoke?OK, rant over. It's a triviality compared to the rest of the story.The book itself is addicting and I didn't want to put it down. I love the way Andrew Hunter Murray writes and the story was just damn good. 5 stars all the way!
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  • Andrew Smith
    January 1, 1970
    At first the world started rotating more slowly, then its rotation stopped altogether.The year is 2059 and the earth stopped turning thirty years ago. Roughly half of the planet is in perpetual frozen darkness and most of the rest is turning to desert, thanks to the unremitting full force of the sun. there is a narrow habitable region which has, by luck alone, avoided either extreme. Britain won the end of the world lottery and has become the pre-eminent force in the world, and the place At first the world started rotating more slowly, then it’s rotation stopped altogether.The year is 2059 and the earth stopped turning thirty years ago. Roughly half of the planet is in perpetual frozen darkness and most of the rest is turning to desert, thanks to the unremitting full force of the sun. there is a narrow habitable region which has, by luck alone, avoided either extreme. Britain won the end of the world lottery and has become the pre-eminent force in the world, and the place everyone wants to get to.Scientist Ellen Hopper works on an oil rig in the North Atlantic, off the south coast of England. We learn that she’s divorced, has no children and is pretty much fully immersed in studying water flows and currents. But one day she receives a visit from two government officials advising her that her university lecturer and mentor is dying and has expressed a wish to talk to her. She’s reluctant to accede to this request – her relationship with her mentor having ended badly – but she’s put under pressure to pay a visit to the hospital in London where he’s seeing out his final days.The thing I most like about this sort of fiction is that it offers up opportunities for the story to go in innumerable directions. So this book immediately fired my imagination and created a series of pictures in my mind. A great set-up. I won’t go into what happens when Ellen meets her mentor other than to say it creates more questions in her mind than it provides answers. We learn that Britain’s totalitarian government rules with an iron fist and limitations are in force to limit the freedom of movement, and harsh punishments are in place awaiting those who flout the new laws. But Ellen’s curiosity has been piqued and she’s inclined to take a few risks in an attempt to find some answers before she returns to the rig. The strength of the novel, I think, is in the way the people we meet are shown to be reacting to the situation everyone now finds themselves in. Nobody really knows if the planet can survive, or if it can for how long. There are fears that oxygen levels will deplete to an extent that life becomes unsustainable. Already, it seems that the area containing Britain and a few of its close neighbours is the only spot where anyone is left alive. So the mindset is altered: what’s the point of bringing children into this world, say some, and what about study and careers – why bother? The less satisfactory element here is Ellen’s search for answers. This feels a little plodding and her successes and failures feel a little contrived, even somewhat preordained. The people she has existing relationships with from her former life on the mainland – in other words, those she is reliant on for help - just happen to have jobs and backgrounds that are a perfect fit for the purpose. But I think I could have accepted or even perhaps embraced this if the story hadn’t become quite so one dimensional in the second half. Ellen has gone all in in her quest and it all just becomes a bit of a chase. The ending also feels a little rushed, though it did offer up a nice twisty finish.I’m somewhere between three and four stars on this one, but I’m going to round it up rather than down because I think the idea is really great even if the execution doesn’t quite match up to it. My thanks to Random House UK, Cornerstone & NetGalley for providing an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Mark
    January 1, 1970
    WOW!This book is a dystopian thriller set in a world that quite simply has stopped spinning, this has caused half the world to be in constant light and half in constant dark and life chaotic in the few places where humans can now surviveThe best place due to its geography is the UK but even here it is perilous after years of temperature changes and, well, basically everything we take for granted being eroded and is now a challengeSome of the UK is now sectioned off and is America and Europe is WOW!This book is a dystopian thriller set in a world that quite simply has stopped spinning, this has caused half the world to be in constant light and half in constant dark and life chaotic in the few places where humans can now surviveThe best place due to its geography is the UK but even here it is perilous after years of temperature changes and, well, basically everything we take for granted being eroded and is now a challengeSome of the UK is now sectioned off and is America and Europe is known as the ‘breadbasket’ cultivating foodThere is much more to it than I can explain but the detail is mesmerising and involving, scary and yet leaves you hungry to find out more, the descriptions of how London is now were chilling, yet I couldn’t read it quick enough all with the thought ‘but this couldn’t happen’...... ‘could it?’...The story focus on Ellen stuck on a ex oil rig monitoring the seas, not people friendly but kinda ok with her lot, well until Govt big wigs arrive to take her back to London to see her dying professor from Uni days who has demanded to see her, they suspect he holds a secret, they suspect right and he imparts where the secret is held to Ellen who then has to decide what to do....then we have a 24ish section of the book as she...well, thats enough but when she finds it its earth shatteringI hope you can tell that I LOVED this book is it really is flawlessly written, excitingly different and kept me thrilled from page to pageBrilliant! 10/105 Stars
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  • The Nerd Daily
    January 1, 1970
    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by AB EndacottWhen I first heard about The Last Day, I was intrigued. The debut from Andrew Hunter Murray who, among many other things, is a QI Elf, is set in a world where, forty years ago, a solar catastrophe began to slow the planets rotation to a stop. Now, one half of the globe is permanently sunlit, the other half trapped in an endless night. It seems an interesting premise; especially given the setting in Britain, a country which once held Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by AB EndacottWhen I first heard about The Last Day, I was intrigued. The debut from Andrew Hunter Murray who, among many other things, is a QI Elf, is set in a world where, ‘forty years ago, a solar catastrophe began to slow the planet’s rotation to a stop. Now, one half of the globe is permanently sunlit, the other half trapped in an endless night.’ It seems an interesting premise; especially given the setting in Britain, a country which once held the epithet, ‘the sun never sets on the British Empire’.Certainly, the world of post apocalypse Britain that is one of the few habitable areas left in the globe, is one in which the country is struggling to maintain its supremacy and the old way of doing things rather than adapting to the world that has drastically changed. I somewhat foolishly mentioned the setting to a friend who studied physics and is a self-confessed ‘space nerd’. I fielded several incredulous questions about magnetic poles (late in the book we do learn they are deteriorating), the earth’s molten core, the atmosphere, and orbit. Suspension of disbelief is necessary for a lot of sci-fi books, and given Hunter Murray’s background, I’m sure his research was thorough. However, the science – especially given the fact that the central character, Ellen Hopper, is a scientist, could have been more explicitly defined. I was left with the general understanding that the world may not actually remain habitable, but perhaps that eventuality wouldn’t come to pass. That uncertainty hung over the novel’s conclusion, which made it feel lacklustre in a way that it didn’t need to be. To that end, the ending felt a little abrupt, and provided assumed resolutions rather than a definite ending.The plot follows Dr Ellen Hopper who has isolated herself from most of society by taking a job working for the repressive British government on an offshore rig, charting the ocean currents that have been altered by the new state of the world. She is abruptly brought back to mainland to speak with her dying university mentor, Edward Thorne, who holds a secret that could ruin the British government. This sets her off on a search across the corner of the world struggling to exist in order to discover what Thorne knew. The fundamental elements of the storyline are solid. Indeed, the film and TV rights to the book have already been bought, and it will likely be transposed into a really engaging piece of watching. That being said, despite several of the promotional claims, The Last Day isn’t really a thriller. It’s slow paced, with the interspersed flashback chapters drip feeding information that probably could have been revealed in a more dramatic or climactic manner. Had there been no reference to it as a thriller, I probably would have enjoyed the pace more rather than waiting for it to pick up.Some of the key elements to the world could have been established a little faster or with more efficiency. For instance, explanation regarding the Americans who had been resettled in the Southern parts of Great Britain seemed a little convoluted, likewise the fact that they had brought nuclear weapons with them (and presumably the capacity to launch them?), and the tense relationship Britain had with the remaining European states, or how their political structure and climate differed from Britain. Despite all this, the world was an interesting one.The immediate point of comparison which sprang to my mind was A Boy and his Dog a the End of the World’ which I had the delightful task of reading and reviewing last year. While A Boy and his Dog offers an optimistic portrayal of how people can navigate a shattered world, The Last Day views the world with a certain pessimism, portraying a social environment that’s a mixture of a World War II mutual suspicion and a McCarthyist America. Certainly, in the current political climate, I want to believe in the world Fletcher outlined, but I worry that Hunter Murray’s depiction is more realistic.For a debut, this is a very solid piece of writing, with an interesting premise at its core. While there are a few issues with the pacing and execution, it’s an easy read with writing that at times is quite lovely. At the very least, this is a thought provoking read that encourages questions about who we are and what we are willing to do when the end of the world arrives, and we are offered a chance of survival.
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    The Last Day is a heady mix of post apocalyptic drama and political thriller, with some intricate world building and intriguing, engaging characters.It is an end of the world espionage tale as our main protagonist Ellen Hopper risks everything to find out a dangerous secret- dangerous to those in power who are determined to ensure its burial. Beautifully plotted, cleverly addictive, you eagerly follow in Ellens footsteps through a ravaged and isolated UK, Andrew Hunter Murray adding insightful The Last Day is a heady mix of post apocalyptic drama and political thriller, with some intricate world building and intriguing, engaging characters.It is an end of the world espionage tale as our main protagonist Ellen Hopper risks everything to find out a dangerous secret- dangerous to those in power who are determined to ensure it’s burial. Beautifully plotted, cleverly addictive, you eagerly follow in Ellen’s footsteps through a ravaged and isolated UK, Andrew Hunter Murray adding insightful thought provoking layers as you go.The ending is thrilling and satisfying, setting up for a sequel yet answering the main question, I read this in two involved sittings and thought it was fantastic.Recommended.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    It is 2059 and the world has stopped turning quite literally. More than thirty years ago, the world started, The Slow, and gradually came to a stop. Half the world is in darkness, the other burning hot. Only a small sliver is habitable and that includes the UK, although it still has massive problems with climate and how that affects health. The author has cleverly turned politics on its head here what if the refugee boats heading out were from the United States? However, the US still has some It is 2059 and the world has stopped turning – quite literally. More than thirty years ago, the world started, ‘The Slow,’ and gradually came to a stop. Half the world is in darkness, the other burning hot. Only a small sliver is habitable and that includes the UK, although it still has massive problems with climate and how that affects health. The author has cleverly turned politics on its head here – what if the refugee boats heading out were from the United States? However, the US still has some power, including control of nuclear weapons, which gives them a lot of leverage.Into a world that is changed, but still close enough to our times that we can recognise it, we have a mix of dystopian and political thriller. Ellen Hopper is a scientist on an oil rig, when she is visited by two government officials, who ask her to return to the mainland. Her old tutor is dying and he has asked to see her. Once, he was one of the most powerful man in the country, but became an academic after falling from grace. Now, he is going to trust her to discover a secret that he holds, knowing that she will be unable to resist trying to uncover the truth.What makes this work is the setting. This is a recognisable world, but completely changed. People ask whether it is worthwhile bringing children into a dying world and there are demands to provide enough food for those left. London is still largely functioning, but full of refugees and, outside of the capital, infrastructure is at breaking point. An interesting and thought provoking novel, with a good central character. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.
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  • RG
    January 1, 1970
    A great concept and thought provoking read. I really enjoyed the world the author built. My issue was with the pacing and story itself. The twist or reveal for me was underwhelming espcially against the backdrop of the world. I was expecting more. Plus I also just felt the characters were a little too simple. Good debut
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  • Leah
    January 1, 1970
    Stop the world... 4 starsWhen a rogue white dwarf star passes through the solar system, its gravitational pull affects the Earths rotation on its axis. Gradually over a period of years it slows, with days and nights lengthening; and then it stops completely, leaving half the earths surface in endless burning day and the other half in endless frozen night. Humanity scrabbles to survive and Britain comes out on top, lucky to be in the small habitable zone that surrounds the growing desert in the Stop the world... 4 starsWhen a rogue white dwarf star passes through the solar system, its gravitational pull affects the Earth’s rotation on its axis. Gradually over a period of years it slows, with days and nights lengthening; and then it stops completely, leaving half the earth’s surface in endless burning day and the other half in endless frozen night. Humanity scrabbles to survive and Britain comes out on top, lucky to be in the small habitable zone that surrounds the growing desert in the centre of the sunlit side. But when scientist Edward Thorne, on his deathbed, gives his old pupil Ellen Hopper a cryptic message, she is sucked in to uncovering secrets about how Britain has ensured its survival – secrets the authoritarian government will do anything to keep hidden...There’s a lot to like about this promising début, so let me get my criticisms out of the way first. The book is drowning under the weight of words, being at least a third too long for its content. Murray describes everything in detail – he does it very well but a lot of it is unnecessary and it slows the pace to a crawl. In order to thrill, thrillers have to maintain a good pace and to speed up towards the climax. This is so self-evident that it always stuns me that editors don’t pick up on it even if writers make the basic mistake of getting too involved in their own descriptions of the settings at the expense of maintaining escalating forward momentum. The scene should be set in, say, the first third to half, and from there on the focus should switch to action. And the climax, when it comes, has to both surprise and be dramatic enough to have made the journey worthwhile. Here, unfortunately, the climax is one of the weakest points of the book, both in execution and in impact.However, there are plenty of strong points to counterbalance these weaknesses. The writing is of a very high standard, especially the descriptions of the scientific and social effects of the disaster. Not being a scientist, I don’t know how realistic the world in the book is but it is done well enough for me to have bought into the premise. Murray shows how science during the Slow and after the Stop becomes concentrated on immediate survival – developing ways to provide food and power for the people – while less attention is given to research into how the long-term future may turn out. As Ellen, herself a scientist, begins to investigate Thorne’s hints, Murray nicely blurs whether this neglect is because of lack of resources, or because the government specifically doesn’t want researchers happening on things they want to conceal. In a world where the government brutally disposes of anyone who threatens them, it’s difficult for Ellen to trust anyone or to involve anyone else in her search for the truth for fear of the consequences to them, but her brother and her ex-husband both get caught up in her quest, and both are interesting relationships that add an emotional edge to the story.The characterisation is excellent, not just of Ellen but of all the secondary and even periphery characters. I was so pleased to read a contemporary book starring a strong but not superhuman woman, intelligent and complex, who is not the victim of sexism, racism or any other tediously fashionable ism. The only ism she has to contend against is the authoritarianism of the government – much more interesting to me. Murray handles gender excellently throughout, in fact, having male and female characters act equally as goodies and baddies, be randomly strong or weak regardless of sex, and keeping any romantic elements to an almost imperceptible minimum. He also shows a range of responses to the authoritarianism, from those who think it’s essential in the circumstances, to those who dislike it but remain passive, to those who actively or covertly resist it; and he makes each rise equally convincingly from the personality of the character.So overall a very strong début with much to recommend it – if Murray learns, as I’m sure he will, that there comes a point when it’s necessary to stop describing everything and let the action take over then he has the potential to become a very fine thriller writer indeed. I look forward to reading more from him.NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Random House Cornerstone. www.fictionfanblog.wordpress.com
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  • Nafeeza
    January 1, 1970
    It is 2059 and the world has stopped rotating, leaving half of the planet in frozen, perpetual darkness and turning the other half into a scorching dessert. Britain has emerged due to luck of the draw as the worlds new super power. It now occupies the only sliver of the earth that is habitable because it just so happened to be in the right location when the earth stopped for good. Ellen Hopper is a scientist that works on a offshore rig in the Northern Atlantic studying ocean currents. She has It is 2059 and the world has stopped rotating, leaving half of the planet in frozen, perpetual darkness and turning the other half into a scorching dessert. Britain has emerged due to luck of the draw as the world’s new super power. It now occupies the only sliver of the earth that is habitable because it just so happened to be in the right location when the earth stopped for good. Ellen Hopper is a scientist that works on a offshore rig in the Northern Atlantic studying ocean currents. She has been living there in self exile for some time when she is called back suddenly because of her mentor, where he leaves her a cryptic message. Now Hopper is on a mission to find answers. It took me a while to get into this one, Hopper’s voice at the beginning failed to pull me in. I think this may have been intentional, we are meant to feel as if she is just passing time before the inevitable. That she is basically going about her life, but once the ball got moving, it didn’t slow down. The plot and pacing was excellently done throughout the rest, the writing concise and smart. I think Murray did an amazing job with the characters, their personal experience and how each chose to deal with their current situation felt real. I felt their listlessness, desperation and frustration at being helpless to stop what is coming but at the same time still trying to have hope. And the twist sure did kick things up a notch. The ending left me satisfied but also wanting more. There’s a bit of an open end should the author decide to continue and give us another book or 2 which I would be more that happy to read.All in all, a solid debut with a thought provoking premise. I thoroughly enjoyed it. And if you are a fan of smartly written, post apocalyptic thrillers, then I recommend picking this one up.Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Maggie
    January 1, 1970
    Due to a celestial event the earth has been knocked off it's axis. First the days got longer & longer until finally earth stopped tuning completely. Half the world was cold & in darkness whilst the other baked in endless sunlight. A small habitable zone exists & Britain becomes the lead power by being in the right place. Ellen Hopper lives on an rig out in the Atlantic studying sea currents when she gets a message from Edward Thorne, an old Uni tutor who had been a great influence in Due to a celestial event the earth has been knocked off it's axis. First the days got longer & longer until finally earth stopped tuning completely. Half the world was cold & in darkness whilst the other baked in endless sunlight. A small habitable zone exists & Britain becomes the lead power by being in the right place. Ellen Hopper lives on an rig out in the Atlantic studying sea currents when she gets a message from Edward Thorne, an old Uni tutor who had been a great influence in her life. He is dying & wants to see her. To her surprise a government helicopter arrives on the rig to whisk her off to Oxford. Why are the ruling powers so interested in Thorne? Arriving as Thorne is almost taking his last breath she finds herself wanting to find out what was so important even if it does put her at odds with the totalitarian government.This dystopian novel, written at the time of Brexit & of the growing awareness of what we are doing to the earth's climate, struck many chords. It was a totally absorbing read & one I won't forget in a hurry. Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read & review this great, but disturbing book.
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  • Karen’s Library
    January 1, 1970
    Holy moly, the premise of this book knocked my socks off! Due to plausible science, the world eventually comes to a complete stop. This took years and years for the earths spin to start slowing and one day, stop completely. Parts of the world is in full on daylight ALL. THE. TIME. This means hot hot hot. Parts of the world is in constant darkness, so freezing cold. There is an area that is the perfect temperature to grow crops and this is known as the Goldilocks section, where the breadbasket Holy moly, the premise of this book knocked my socks off! Due to plausible science, the world eventually comes to a complete stop. This took years and years for the earth’s spin to start slowing and one day, stop completely. Parts of the world is in full on daylight ALL. THE. TIME. This means hot hot hot. Parts of the world is in constant darkness, so freezing cold. There is an area that is the perfect temperature to grow crops and this is known as the Goldilocks section, where the breadbasket (viable farmland) sits. After 30 years, the population of earth is decimated, and the rest are trying to make their way to the Goldilocks section (England, actually), but there’s not enough resources for those that are already there. Ellen Hopper is a scientist trying to discover the truth of what the government is hiding. I really wanted to love this book more than I did. To be completely honest, the Coronavirus pandemic started getting really serious about the time I started this and I had a hard time concentrating on reading anything. I honestly don’t know if it was the book, or real life getting in the way. I didn’t like Hopper at all. And through the entire middle of the book, I kept tuning out. I think that was more the story. Yes, I was distracted by our real life pandemic, but I think I should have been able to concentrate at least somewhat more than I did. I rated this 3.5 and bumped it up to 4 because the premise was so very cool.*Thank you so much to NetGalley and to Penguin Books for the advance copy!*
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    An entertaining post-apocalyptic/dystopian thriller set in Britain. There are some great ideas and concepts in this novel and it certainly has an intriguing plot. However, I've given this 3 and not 4 stars because I wasn't able to engage with the characters as much as I would have liked (making the novel hard to get into) and the plot isn't suspenseful, so the reveal had little impact. Nevertheless, a good premise and a fun read. Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights.
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  • Jen | Jen Talks Audiobooks
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not that far into this, but after reading all the reviews I've decided to set it aside for the time being. I'm not sure I like this author's voice; I certainly don't care for the main character much. The audiobook narrator (Gemma Whelan) is excellent. I may come back to this later, but for now I'm going on to other things.
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  • Mark
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at 25%. I liked the premise here, and the writing was fine. But it just didn't really grab me and I'm being ruthless about setting books aside if they aren't floating my boat.May well work for others, as the writer clearly has talent, but like the earth in this tale, it was a bit too slow-moving.
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  • Shalini
    January 1, 1970
    The year 2059, earth had stopped rotating so one half saw the burning sun and the other, frozen night. Only a twilit region could survive. Britain was the only safe country which had survived, but it had closed its borders to all. People were trying to survive a harsh world in poverty making use of few resources. One such person was Ellen Hopper who received a message from her professor to meet with him. Therein lay the adventure when Ellen traveled to places to know the biggest secret. My first The year 2059, earth had stopped rotating so one half saw the burning sun and the other, frozen night. Only a twilit region could survive. Britain was the only safe country which had survived, but it had closed its borders to all. People were trying to survive a harsh world in poverty making use of few resources. One such person was Ellen Hopper who received a message from her professor to meet with him. Therein lay the adventure when Ellen traveled to places to know the biggest secret. My first book by Andrew Hunter Murray, kept me hopping in eagerness to know the big secret of this dystopian world. Down the pages I got to know the consequences of a still Earth and life of people. I did not know the veracity of the consequences as I didn't want to analyze the prose. I just went on a quest with Ellen to get to the big secret.The thriller aspect was fun. Ellen was a great protagonist. She was clever and determined, though she did pay the price for it. The writing was great in the thriller bits, the suspense made me read fast. I liked when she found a partner or two to help her. Overall, it was a fun read which kept me hooked to this unknown world.
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  • Scarlett
    January 1, 1970
    This book blew me away. Its not often that I read a book based on name recognition but I love the No such thing as a fish podcast so much I had to read this book. It is phenomenal! The world is deliciously built with no detail left out, the characters are flawed and realistic and the thrill of the plot is undeniable. A dystopian thriller that is entirely unique. This book blew me away. It’s not often that I read a book based on name recognition but I love the ‘No such thing as a fish’ podcast so much I had to read this book. It is phenomenal! The world is deliciously built with no detail left out, the characters are flawed and realistic and the thrill of the plot is undeniable. A dystopian thriller that is entirely unique.
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  • Benoit
    January 1, 1970
    Good book! Very well written and by an author who's presence I absolutely love on the "No Such Thing as a Fish" podcast. Be warned though: where he is funny and witty on the show, this is book is quite the opposite. In fact, it's downright dour in some places which, given the subject matter, is very appropriate. Ellen Hopper, the main character, is on a search for something her former mentor left behind. I'd say about 90% of the book is her being on the run. This is not entirely a bad thing, but Good book! Very well written and by an author who's presence I absolutely love on the "No Such Thing as a Fish" podcast. Be warned though: where he is funny and witty on the show, this is book is quite the opposite. In fact, it's downright dour in some places which, given the subject matter, is very appropriate. Ellen Hopper, the main character, is on a search for something her former mentor left behind. I'd say about 90% of the book is her being on the run. This is not entirely a bad thing, but as things go from bad to worse, hopelessness with the character (and to an extent, this reader) begin to set in. What should sometimes be thrilling ends up exhausting and, while that is a neat narrative trick from the other to evoke such feeling in the reader, it does make it difficult to push through sometimes. The entire premise of the world and environment is very well thought out, and Hunter Murray does a wonderful job of making it believable. There are things happening at the edges of the story, and that enhances the veracity of it. I found that the book wrapped up rather quickly: A LOT happens during the last 10%! I would have liked to see the ending more developed and maybe see more of what happens from that point on. As this is Hunter Murray's first novel, maybe it's not the last of we hear of Ellen Hopper? So, those picked nits aside, I enjoyed it. Good book, good read, good story.
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  • Margaret Schoen
    January 1, 1970
    This is a review of an ARC from Edelweiss.Just couldn't finish this one. Murray does a slow build to explaining the premise: the earth's rotation has stopped and now some parts of the world are stuck in eternal day, others in eternal night, which led to the complete breakdown of society, except not really because we're about 30-40 years in, and in the parts of the world that are still in somewhat sun everything is basically ok? There's still electric power, and food being produced, and society This is a review of an ARC from Edelweiss.Just couldn't finish this one. Murray does a slow build to explaining the premise: the earth's rotation has stopped and now some parts of the world are stuck in eternal day, others in eternal night, which led to the complete breakdown of society, except not really because we're about 30-40 years in, and in the parts of the world that are still in somewhat sun everything is basically ok? There's still electric power, and food being produced, and society seems to be continuing along in Britain, albeit with a few minor oddities. Ellen Hopper is a scientist working on a ship in the North Atlantic (whose main job seems to be finding shipwrecks and sinking them because? well, no reason is given?) and gets summoned home to meet with her old mentor, who wants to tell her a big secret before dying.The thing is, if you're going to have crazy science as your premise, I want you to explain the crazy science, and the repercussions and all that. Maybe this all gets explained better later on, or maybe once the plot kicks in it doesn't matter, but I'm about a third of the way in, and NOTHING HAS HAPPENED and also nothing has been explained, and I just can't care anymore.
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  • Kath
    January 1, 1970
    I have a few reservations about what I just read - you could at a push call them plot holes or inconsistencies - but I prefer the term niggles. But they were few in number and so I was able to accept and move on as the rest of what I read was easily good enough to make the effort for. Spoilers prevent me from going into detail - obviously.So, earth has survived the Slow and the Stop. These both refer to the earth's rotation on its axis, the thing that gives us day and night. Now it is static as I have a few reservations about what I just read - you could at a push call them plot holes or inconsistencies - but I prefer the term niggles. But they were few in number and so I was able to accept and move on as the rest of what I read was easily good enough to make the effort for. Spoilers prevent me from going into detail - obviously.So, earth has survived the Slow and the Stop. These both refer to the earth's rotation on its axis, the thing that gives us day and night. Now it is static as it goes round the sun. This in turn means that there are places that have constant light where others are in perpetual darkness. Needless to say that there have been quite a few casualties; people fleeing from the dark side towards the light but, when our story starts, things have appeared to have settled down. We first meet our MC. Ellen Hopper, as she is working on a rig in the North Atlantic. She is a scientist and is studying water currents. One day she is visited by two officials from the government who inform her that her university lecturer, and indeed mentor, Edward Thorne, is on his last legs and his final wish is to see her. This does not come as much of a shock as it should as he had already written to her requesting a visit, imploring her, as he has something important to tell her. She declines but then finds out that this is not an option. Arriving at the hospital in the nick of time, Edward imparts to Ellen his final words. But they make no sense. As Ellen starts to reminisce about her time at Uni, specifically the time she spent with Edward, of his life prior to academia, and then how he left abruptly, she starts to wonder what he needed to say. And so begins an action packed race against time to get to the truth before the powers that be can stop them. Clueless from the start, we follow as Ellen forms an unlikely allegiance to help her expose the shocking truth...I'm still new to the whole dystopian thing so I have no idea where this stands in the genre but I do know that I thoroughly enjoyed it. When I was reading I was reluctant to put it down. When I had to, I was thinking about it and itching to get back to find out the big secret. One of the things I did enjoy was the trip round the London that it has become. How certain things have decayed for various reasons and also how other areas have fared in the days after the Stop. Also interesting was the politics that had evolved and the way things were governed. Scary stuff indeed but also quite plausible...Characterisation was good. Each one, however big or small their part, was wholly believable and I was able to well connect with the main ones which, in turn, connected me with what I was reading.Pacing was good and always matched the narrative. There were quite a few high octane parts but these were well complemented by some quieter moments which allowed me both respite and time to reflect on what I was reading.The ending left me mostly satisfied. I say mostly. I suspect that there is more to come from this story. Maybe / probably even a trilogy as this is quite common for the genre. Either way, the main story contained within this book was completed. But the door was also left open for one or maybe more sequels should the author decide...My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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  • Edgars
    January 1, 1970
    I had high hopes for this book. The title and description of post apocalyptic world were so promising but unfortunately misleading. This is not post apocalyptical work of fiction, this is plain political conspiracy thriller.The story was not too bad but it was dragged on for so long, that in the end i did not care anymore what will happen. And even when the big secret reveal came, it was not anything special and did not mean anything much for me.To summarized this is a glorified prologue for the I had high hopes for this book. The title and description of post apocalyptic world were so promising but unfortunately misleading. This is not post apocalyptical work of fiction, this is plain political conspiracy thriller.The story was not too bad but it was dragged on for so long, that in the end i did not care anymore what will happen. And even when the big secret reveal came, it was not anything special and did not mean anything much for me.To summarized this is a glorified prologue for the next book in this story.
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  • John
    January 1, 1970
    This is a tricky one to review. On the one hand, Im no astrophysicist. Im also not particularly bright, but my 10 year old aspires to be an astrophysicist. So I asked him, [Son], what would happen to the day and night cycles if the Earth stopped rotating? He answered, The planet would spend about half a year in dark and the other half in light. Then he went on about probably big bad new weather problems, the sudden termination of the magnetic fields, the rapid dissolution of our atmosphere, the This is a tricky one to review. On the one hand, I’m no astrophysicist. I’m also not particularly bright, but my 10 year old aspires to be an astrophysicist. So I asked him, “[Son], what would happen to the day and night cycles if the Earth stopped rotating?” He answered, “The planet would spend about half a year in dark and the other half in light.” Then he went on about probably big bad new weather problems, the sudden termination of the magnetic fields, the rapid dissolution of our atmosphere, the bombardment of the surface by intense solar and cosmic radiation obliterating all life... and I sat with my jaw hanging wide open as I had to reconsider if this fifth grader was really the result of my DNA. This book humbled me before my child and had me questioning my paternity. So basically, the primary conceit of this book is flawed if not totally implausible. Andrew Hunter Murray is an adroit and capable writer. His writing style is clear and the thriller aspect of this book is compelling. The flashback chapters, however, are a bit distracting to the flow of primary narrative. And, because I was so unconvinced of the science, I had a hard time caring.
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  • Frank Miceli
    January 1, 1970
    While not a long book it took forever for something to actually happen. When the big reveal happened it felt rushed.
  • Liz B
    January 1, 1970
    Great setting and world-building. Great bad guys, some fantastic reveals and surprises--altogether a fun read.And yet....would I read another by this author? Mayyyybe. Life is short and there are a lot of books out there. The door was left open for a potential sequel, which would interest me. I can't really put my finger on what I didn't love--anything I would critique is really just a quibble. (Like, why is the protagonist "Hopper" and not "Ellen"? And doesn't she get away a little too easily a Great setting and world-building. Great bad guys, some fantastic reveals and surprises--altogether a fun read.And yet....would I read another by this author? Mayyyybe. Life is short and there are a lot of books out there. The door was left open for a potential sequel, which would interest me. I can't really put my finger on what I didn't love--anything I would critique is really just a quibble. (Like, why is the protagonist "Hopper" and not "Ellen"? And doesn't she get away a little too easily a few too many times?)So, should you read it? If you like stuff like The Bourne Identity and other run-run-run-from-the-enemy thrillers, then yes, definitely. If post-apocalyptic fiction is your catnip, then maybe--this is set enough after the apocalypse that all of the tearing down and rebuilding is pretty much done, so it depends on what aspect of that you like.Basically--I can't recommend it very strongly, but who knows? You might love it.
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  • Denise
    January 1, 1970
    This debut apocalyptic thriller features a dystopian society set in a futuristic Great Britain, the last remaining habitable country on a planet that slowed its orbit to a dead stop. Thirty years after the slowing began, the earth's remaining population now resides only in the area of continual sunlight with temperatures that are able to allow the production of food and the continuation of human life. Things are not good in this new world order and only those who are towing the political line, This debut apocalyptic thriller features a dystopian society set in a futuristic Great Britain, the last remaining habitable country on a planet that slowed its orbit to a dead stop. Thirty years after the slowing began, the earth's remaining population now resides only in the area of continual sunlight with temperatures that are able to allow the production of food and the continuation of human life. Things are not good in this new world order and only those who are towing the political line, working ceaselessly and keeping the borders secure are surviving, but barely. Everyone who tried to flee to relocate to Great Britain on ships from other continents was sunk into the ocean and channels surrounding that country. Isolationism is paramount. The USA has a toehold in the southernmost part and are holding their own. Now they need more resources and are about to make a deal with the British government -- but Prime Minister Richard Davenport, the man who engineered the survival of the country -- wants America's nuclear weapons in exchange for more food and resources. But there might yet be hope to save the planet. Dr. Ellen Hopper, a scientific officer stationed out in the North Sea, has been contacted to the deathbed of her former teacher from her Oxford Days. He has information he needs to give her. Helicoptered to the hospital by security agents, Ellen is unable to get what she needs when he dies and soon finds herself targeted by the government and pursued as she attempts to figure out what is meant from a single clue. Can she do it? NO SPOILERS.The premise was good, the futuristic aspect was chilling, and the writing was excellent. The story, however, moved very slowly and it seemed to take forever to get to the gist of the secret. I both love and hate the world building in novels that portend a hideous and bleak future for humankind. I'm still holding out for a new world that is more like the Jetsons (old TV show I never missed) and less like the collapse of knowledge and civilization -- barren wasteland of the nearly dead and starving. I have no idea if the science that explained the whole situation is accurate, but could appreciate the concept of half the world in eternal darkness and the other in nonstop sunlight, massive cold, blistering deserts that encroach the land mass, falling oxygenation, etc. Dismal. The basic narrative line has a lone woman facing off against nearly insurmountable odds to find some hope. I did enjoy this overall but definitely would have liked a more definitive ending as it seems to conclude rather abruptly after all the build-up. The descriptions and detail were good in some areas but deficient in others. Then again, I don't think the book needed more pages. Not sure how apt the title is either.Anyway, I'll be eager to read more reviews of this one. Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton/Penguin Random House for this e-book ARC to read and review.
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  • Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
    January 1, 1970
    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight What happens if the world literally stops spinning? Well, The Last Day posits that question, and ventures a guess at the aftermath. The scenario appealed to me at once, as I absolutely adore stories like this. I will say that for me, the one negative was that this focused less on rebuilding the world and more on a bit of a mystery at how/why/at whose hand the world was falling deeper You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight What happens if the world literally stops spinning? Well, The Last Day posits that question, and ventures a guess at the aftermath. The scenario appealed to me at once, as I absolutely adore stories like this. I will say that for me, the one negative was that this focused less on rebuilding the world and more on a bit of a mystery at how/why/at whose hand the world was falling deeper into an abyss. As such, it lent to some draggier bits, at least for me personally.Overall though, I quite enjoyed the story. The world-building was great; the author did a wonderful job incorporating knowledge of the whole Earth (not just England), while explaining gaps in the knowledge base of the characters. Honestly, it's what I beg for from every similar book and rarely get. Hopper.. she's bitter, jaded, and leery. And it makes complete sense for her to be such. She's lost her parents and lives fairly reclusively on a rig until an old college mentor seeks her out on his deathbed.And sure, I wanted more rig (guess I'll just have to write that one myself!), but I loved seeing what was going on in London and its outskirts. At first glance, it seems somewhat close to "normal". But when you look deeper, things are not going great. People are starving, and there simply isn't enough arable land to support the population. And so, with a final clue from her mentor, Hopper goes off in search of answers. Can anyone be trusted? Can the world, humanity, be saved? These are the questions Hopper seeks to solve, and in doing so she'll find out exactly who she can- and more likely, can't- trust. Bottom Line:  While it has a few slower bits, I enjoyed Hopper's journey so much that I was eager to find the answers with her.
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  • Graham Dauncey
    January 1, 1970
    An excellent take on a near future dystopia. Like all great dystopias this one stays close enough to reality that the loss of control and slip into totalitarianism feels scarily real. This one adds a nice sci-fi twist as the explanation for the country's acquiescence with this new reality - the world has stopped spinning and become in lock-step with the sun. This means that one side of the planet is permanently in sunshine and therefore becomes too hot to be habitable, and the other side is An excellent take on a near future dystopia. Like all great dystopias this one stays close enough to reality that the loss of control and slip into totalitarianism feels scarily real. This one adds a nice sci-fi twist as the explanation for the country's acquiescence with this new reality - the world has stopped spinning and become in lock-step with the sun. This means that one side of the planet is permanently in sunshine and therefore becomes too hot to be habitable, and the other side is permanently in darkness, becoming to cold to be habitable. All that is left is a thin band of normally habitable ground in the twilight zones between light and dark. This is a clever construct and thought experiment. A reality such as this would definitely cause the chaos and threat of 'other' that could lead to the type of dystopian state being proposed.The central story is around a secret hidden by a dying former member of the government. What this secret is and who wants to reveal/suppress it becomes the main bulk of the story.I really enjoyed this - the world building with its paranoia and totalitarian state was believable and all the more scary for it. The sense of isolationism and fear of foreigners that pervades the fight for resources seems sadly too real. With the main setting being the UK and the current Brexit isolationism being actively promoted it seems very apt for the times too. I got a very 'Children of Men' type vibe from the story too.
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  • Reid Edwards
    January 1, 1970
    Murray does a great job setting the tone in The Last Day, building a world trying to recover from a catastrophe years prior, with the grime of a dystopian future shading his prose. The book evokes the feeling of a world left to slowly crumble, as his protagonist struggles against the downtrodden acceptance of the situation of its inhabitants. Murray builds tension quite well, as you never are quite sure if Hopper will accomplish her goals, or who is entirely trustworthy (if anyone can be in this Murray does a great job setting the tone in The Last Day, building a world trying to recover from a catastrophe years prior, with the grime of a dystopian future shading his prose. The book evokes the feeling of a world left to slowly crumble, as his protagonist struggles against the downtrodden acceptance of the situation of its inhabitants. Murray builds tension quite well, as you never are quite sure if Hopper will accomplish her goals, or who is entirely trustworthy (if anyone can be in this authoritarian society). The action, while sparse, feels the more real and vivid due to its scarcity; you're never expecting Hopper to suddenly become an action hero. I don't think there is a plan for a sequel, but I'd love to explore more of this world that Murray has expertly crafted.
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  • Sivvy
    January 1, 1970
    Turns out that not only is Andrew Hunter Murray an excellent podcaster (check out No Such Thing As A Fish) and skilled QI Elf, hes also a very accomplished writer. This dystopian near-future novel manages to weave some interesting characters with geopolitical intrigue, climate catastrophe and the dangers of fascism - while staying very readable throughout. Ill forgive the couple of overly-convenient plot devices as I found the book nicely paced and refreshing in its boldness not to neatly tie up Turns out that not only is Andrew Hunter Murray an excellent podcaster (check out No Such Thing As A Fish) and skilled QI Elf, he’s also a very accomplished writer. This dystopian near-future novel manages to weave some interesting characters with geopolitical intrigue, climate catastrophe and the dangers of fascism - while staying very readable throughout. I’ll forgive the couple of overly-convenient plot devices as I found the book nicely paced and refreshing in its boldness not to neatly tie up every single loose end, leaving the reader to draw their own conclusions. A very smart debut.
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  • Vikki Patis
    January 1, 1970
    Gripping and exciting, The Last Day is the kind of dystopian novel that gives us a terrifying glimpse into a possible not too distant future. I felt my heart racing as I read, desperate to uncover the secrets, and I felt a distinct 1984/Black Mirror vibe. The ending was slightly too open for my liking, though I imagine it was done so to allow the possibility of a sequel.
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  • Traci
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book from Goodreads. This is a very entertaining, well-written thriller. And I like the way that it ended, it left you with things to think about.
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