Oldest Book On The Shelf Challenge: February Review-The Last Survivors (Books 2 & 3) by Susan Pfeffer

This month I decided I was going to finish a series I started way back in early 2010. I read Life as We Know It (Review Here) by Susan Beth Pfeffer after an incredibly enthusiastic review by Becky @ The Bookette … and I thought it was excellent. So why it’s taken me almost two years to read the other two books in the series I have no idea. Well it’s done now, I can tick it off the list. But I’m sad to say I almost wished I hadn’t…

The Dead and The Gone is the second book in The Last Survivors series, but rather than continue the story we get the same period from someone else’s perspective. This time it’s 17 year old New Yorker Alex.

Alex has big plans and a bright future ahead of him. Born into a poor Puerto Rican family he’s won himself a scholarship at a prestigious boys school and is a star pupil. But the day an asteroid hits the moon and knocks it closer to work, Alex’s plans are ruined. With both of his parents missing, presumed dead, he’s left to care for his two younger sisters in a world where flooding, hunger and death are the new norm.

I enjoyed this book. Not as much as Life As We Know It, but enough to be gripped to the pages and invested in the story of the Morelas family.

This book was definitely darker than than previous, more gruesome, brutal and violent but surprisingly I found it less believable. This is New York right? One of the most highly populated cities in the world. So I found the three Morelas kids isolation in an apartment block a little odd. I saw Pfeffer’s aim at showing how the rich and ‘important’ and the poor would be treat differently, but I didn’t believe they’d be so immediately forgotten about.

I also struggled with the constant religion of this book. Particularly from Alex’s sister Brianna. Her blind faith annoyed me, especially when it put herself and others in danger. Yet everyone in this book pampers her. Julie on the other hand is seen as an annoyance, a liability. Personally I’d prefer her resourcefulness and fighting spirit in the face of the Apocalypse..she was my favorite character.

I think the biggest issue was that there’s no expansion on the first book here. We don’t learn anything new, it’s just another persons version of events. I sound like I actually hated it, I didn’t. It’s still a good read, and the idea behind it is awesome.


The final book in the trilogy, This World We Live In, follows on from both the previous two books and the two families are now fighting for survival together.

This book made me angry. Not in the ‘isn’t life unfair’ way it should have but because after coming up with a brilliant idea and totally snaring me into this world Susan Pfeffer clearly couldn’t be bothered with it any more. This very short book is a disappointing end to the trilogy and leaves more questions than answers.

Firstly, the characters and world never progress. By the end they’re still helpless, at the mercy of the elements and hoping for canned food handouts. Now, I know this is an unusual and cruel world but at some point the surviving humans have to move on and plan for a brighter future surely? This just doesn’t happen.

Secondly it’s like it was skim written. There’s absolutely no depth at all. And you thought you knew insta-love? You’ve seen nothing until you see Alex and Miranda’s relationship. Seriously. Everything is just rushed. The ending left me convinced there’d be an eventual fourth book in the series, but after investigating I found an article on Susan Pfeffer’s blog stating there wouldn’t be. So now I’m also mad I won’t ever get to see how this world will end up.

This series started off so well. I was blown away by the first book in the series. By the third book I was questioning whether it had actually been as good as I remembered after all. I had high hopes and felt bitterly let down, more so that I feel the series will be forever unfinished. I think I could’ve quite happily left after book two and would still recommend those books, but if you never get round to the third, then in all honesty you won’t have missed much.

So February wasn’t a great month for oldest books on the shelf. Hopefully March will be better.
*If you want to share your Oldest Books On the Shelves reads, leave a link to your review here so I can check them out*

One thought on “Oldest Book On The Shelf Challenge: February Review-The Last Survivors (Books 2 & 3) by Susan Pfeffer

  1. Awww, poo! I picked up Life As We Knew it a two weeks ago. I've been reading it during my breaks at work, and I'm currently loving it! I'm sad to hear the next two books in the series didn't live up to your expectations. Of course I'll probably give the books a try anyway. Hopefully they won't let me down like they did to you.


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