Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The Last Three by Almon Chu

"'Just three more stops,' I thought to myself. I gripped my knife, the handle digging into my flesh. I closed my eyes and tried to think of Eris." A descent down the path of self-destruction, does salvation lie around the corner or is it merely an illusion? The Last Three is a captivating story of a lost soul on the streets of a modern dystopia.

The author himself asked me if I'd review this book, and as soon as I read the Amazon synopsis, I knew I'd love it. And I absolutely did. The story is set in a sort of modern dystopian world, and revolves around this guy called Jon. Throughout the novella, it talks a little bit about his past, and how he will proceed in the future. But it is a tale of mice and men - no matter how you might plan for the future, something can - and will - change it.

What I first of all want to say about this novella is that nothing is really revealed throughout all of it. Although I found myself slightly annoyed at this, since I always want to know the nitty gritty details, I think it was a brilliant technique to cloak Jon and his backstory in mystery, which kept me hooked on reading it, keen to find out where the plot was going. It also doesn't give away anything about where he lives, how long he's lived there, what the worlds state is in, which gives the story a quite small, secluded setting. I think Chu wrote this story so that the reader could interpret certain events as they felt fit, which helped them to connect to the storyline. Personally, I felt like this was set in a few future decades, in small area of a big city. Jon, to me, felt like he had grown up with very few people around, and now he lived practically on his own, not really sharing his inner thoughts and feelings with anyone. This gradually built up inside him until the events in this book pushed him over the edge, ending the story with the Voices in his head mocking him.

I think the only word I can find sufficient enough to sum this up is powerful. This book is powerful. Although it is only 65 pages long, the depth of emotion in this story is so huge that you are left with a kind of aftershock, which can only be the combined product of an amazing plot and a brilliant brain. As a debut novel, I think it is really impressive, and the only thing I would fault is how short it is; even after I finished, I wanted more of Jon's story. I think it could possibly have been improved with a '10 years later' kind of scenario, but I think that depends on your preferences.

Overall, it is a beautiful piece of work, and if you haven't read it, I plead you to go and buy it from Amazon. It takes a lot for a book to change someone's life, and although I wouldn't call this one life-changing, I would say that it leaves a strong impression behind. Almon Chu is definitely a name we have to watch out for in the future.
Rating: 4/5

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