Book Seventy-Three of 2014: The Last Orphans by N.W. Harris

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One horrifying day will change the life of sixteen-year-old Shane Tucker and every other kid in the world.
In a span of mere hours, the entire adult population is decimated, leaving their children behind to fend for themselves and deal with the horrific aftermath of the freak occurrence. As one of the newly made elders in his small town, Shane finds himself taking on the role of caretaker for a large group of juvenile survivors. One who just happens to be Kelly Douglas—an out-of-his-league classmate—who, on any other day, would have never given Shane a second glance.
Together, they begin their quest to find out why all of the adults were slaughtered. What they find is even more horrifying than anything they could have expected—the annihilation of the adults was only the beginning. Shane and his friends are not the unlucky survivors left to inherit this new, messed-up planet. No, they are its next victims. There is an unknown power out there, and it won’t stop until every person in the world is dead.
A spine-tingling adventure that will have you gasping for breath all the way until the last page, The Last Orphans is the first book in an all-new apocalyptic series.

It seems that I’ve been reading quite a few young adult apocalyptic books, but not many spurred dreams (or possibly nightmares) like The Last Orphans by N.W. Harris. The Last Orphans doesn’t cut around the disturbing. Within the first few chapters you are either struggling with the characters or devouring every disturbing moment. I flipped flopped between the two.

This book starts strong and keeps going until the end. Everything you can imagine, or maybe not, happens in this book. The way the adults are taking out of the picture is disturbing, but seemed plausible once you learn what caused it. It was pretty easy for me to figure out bits and pieces to the story, but Harris did surprise me as to why the terrible events happened. I was even more surprised near the end. I was literally at the edge of my seat, biting my fingernails, praying that what I was worried was going to happen didn’t happen. I can’t tell you what goes on, but it’s action packed.

What I love is that you can’t really be too close to the characters. Though this isn’t Game of Thrones, people do have terrible things happen to them. Like the blurb states, all the adults are slaughtered. And can I just say that Harris made an absolutely crazy way to do it. Think Alfred Hitchcock birds, but with every animal. You’re an adult with pets? Well, you better hope that the world doesn’t end up like Harris’ book.

There are younger people who die and younger people who become adults way too soon. This book deals with the what ifs. What if all the adults are gone? What if the animals all went crazy? What if the teen gangs are taking over? What if Juvie kids are free? What do you do? Do you sit around with your thumbs up your butt? Or do you fight?

Shane was an interesting character. At first I couldn’t understand why everyone was looking to him for guidance, but it made sense after some reflection. He had just gone through a funeral and seen the death of a loved one. Those things so close together helped numb him and give him a clearer mind than the other teens who might never experienced death or at least hadn’t seen someone die a horrible death. Shane had a good head on his shoulders, he listened and worked with the advice of others despite his personal beliefs. I don’t think I could have been like him. Shane wasn’t only just a leader, he had an innocence to him, but forced himself to push it aside. The sad thing is, he doesn’t allow himself the time to grieve when he allowed others that time. I fear in later books it will burn him out.

And yes, there will be more books. Harris gives a hint as to what caused it, but there’s obviously more to it. On top of that, a complete 180 happens. You won’t even know what hit you. I personally didn’t understand how in the world that was possible, but when I looked at the clothing the visitors had and then remembered the technology involved in the book, I instantly got excited. Sorry, can’t get into it too much without giving too much away.

If you love survival or apocalyptic stories, look into this book. Seriously, the young adult label is more geared at the characters’ ages than anything else. I can definitely see this book as a good read for both adult and teens.

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