I thought I would like this book. A dystopian novel, it has some similarities to The Wall by John Lanchester but is more of a thriller and does not have an engaging narrative voice.
The story is set in the future – sometime this century – in which the Earth has stopped rotating, causing half of the planet to be eternally cold and dark, while the other half is hot and bright. This has disastrous effects. In Britain, there is also an Orwellian government and an intolerance of foreigners. The main character, Ellen Hopper, is a scientist who has been studying ocean currents, but a dying request from her old tutor, Edward Thorne, brings her back to London. She then gets drawn into solving some kind of mystery with the help of her ex-husband David.
I liked the concept, but in between the descriptions of desperate and oppressed humanity, there seemed to be little real plot, other than Hopper going to various buildings and being chased by the police, plus flashbacks to conversations with her college tutor. The idea of the Earth’s rotation ceasing is an intriguing one but the cause being a random astronomical event, rather than something terrible that humans have done, seemed like a missed opportunity to me. There was too much description of previous events, making some of the text a chore to read. Everyone seemed to exclaim ‘Jesus’ and ‘Christ’ every few pages, which was a bit annoying. Unfortunately I had to skim read the second half of the book because I really wasn’t engaged at all. There needed to be more twists and an unexpected ending.
Thank you to the publisher PenguinRandomHouse for an ARC via NetGalley. The Last Day will be published on 6th February.