Death in Siberia (The Last Woman on Earth)
In an alternate timeline, a military officer and the self-proclaimed ‘last woman on Earth’ embark on a journey to uncover the truth behind a world without women.
Alexei Vronsky is having a hard time coping with reality after his comrade was killed in battle and his army stuck in a prolonged siege, but that’s the least of his problems. He finds an intruder in his room, who claims to be ‘the last woman on Earth’. She doesn’t seem to have the slightest clue about the world, the ongoing war, and keeps referring to Russia as ‘the land above the snow’. As they get to know each other, Alexei Vronsky has to face a difficult choice: either abandon his secret mission to join the woman on an adventure to face the unknown, or turn her in to fulfill his loyalty towards the State.
[Apart from being a war novel, this story is also a progression fantasy. The MC will get stronger, acquire more special abilities and fighting gears. They come later in the story, though.]
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Style: Quick and clear. No purple prose. No complaints here.
Story: Mostly well plotted, but I did have a few issues that could be easily resolved. I felt it took too long to get to the science fiction part of the world building at the end of chapter 3. I would cut the first chapter and start with the MC mourning his friend so that the readers are aware that this world is devoid of women at the end of the first chapter.
Also, I was wondering why homosexuality wasn't commonplace. As in, was there an in-world reason or was the author himself uncomfortable with the subject. It's in-world by the way, but that didn't become apparent until the eighth chapter. I would introduce the commander starting with the torture. Not only does this inform the reader about the world, but also is a better show of the commander's ruthlessness. In the same chapter, I would have the landing of the craft. Also, I'd move this chapter after the cliffhanger of the thrown sharp object. This would reduce the using nature of the shift from first person to third person if we spend the first two chapters in first person.
Allthe elements are there, but it could be more effective in a different order.
Grammar: Except for using semicolons to link dependant clauses in the first chapter, the grammar is clean.
Character: Despite the MC being a soldier on a military base and despite being attacked, he is friendly with the interloper. If he's so afraid of the commander, would he shoot first and ask questions later? Also, he perceives the interloper as male at first. Wouldn't he be disgusted with himself for being attracted to this other "man" if this culture is so homophobic?
Then the last woman on earth is felt up by the MC. I find it very hard to believe she would be so passive during this violation. Wouldn't this be traumatizing for her? I feel that having the characters react in a more realistic way would create more conflict and thus more interest in the reader.
Allin all, this is a good story, but with a few improvements I think it could be great.
Daniel Newwyn’s “The Last Woman on Earth: A Military Science Fiction,” is a masterful work of writing. Newwyn does an excellent job of drawing you into this world without women. I wish there was a category for setting or world building, because honestly, that is the true highlight of the story for me. Newwyn has created a believable world that seems to be in near constant war, describe by characters who run the whole spectrum of opnions of it. I particularly enjoy the cuts to other characters between the Chapters focusing on Alexei the main character. Again, the world building and storytelling through these scenes really put the conflict into focus and give the reader a new understanding the struggles that Alexis and the last woman must overcome.
It is well written throughout. If there is one area where the writing struggles, it is
the dialog when the main character meets the last women on earth.
Though as that is not a problem anywhere else, it may just be me misinterpreting character quirks. It is not your standard “meet cute” but still a wonderful scene.
Altogether, this is a well-crafted tale that anyone who enjoys militaristic science fiction with a dash of mystery will find impossible to put down!
From a writing stand point it's good the story gets across what it's going for plot wise however my reasons for the low score can are due to the characters and the world around them as well as certain descriptions that constantly hit against my suspension of disbelief and eventually just caused me to drop this.
So apparently all men in this country (as far as we know) are meant to be stoic "stereotypical manly men" with the MC stating they'd never seen a man cry before this immediately starts to hit against my wall of suspension why? Because i find it hard to imagine that in war no man would ever crumble but sure let's say they're literally made ready for war or any of the more emotional outputs are killed with an element of social norms also influencing people for good measure.
Going on from this stereotypical features of women such as soft hair apparently don't exist in men at all but sure i can also suspend myself this with the same they're not made that way or their environment just doesn't allow softer hair to develop for whatever reason (although considering moobs are mentioned earlier i find this highly doubtful).
The fact that sex is considered a crime i can believe as can i believe that the act if sex is considered socially gross but on this i find it downright confuzzling that apparently sex drives aren't a thing for the majority in terms of masturbation or wet dreams in this no sex world but this is fairly minor and didn't really hit my wall that hard.
On social norms is where i finally broke, in a society of all manly men the introduction of the last woman and how she ascribes to many of the stereotypical traits of women is just worldbreaking here you have a girl who from what we gather was raised only by men who grew up in a society of "manly" men yet somehow doesn't behave like that at all in fact no defining features of this type of society seem to be in them at introduction it just seems disturbingly wrong considering reality and how social norms typically dictate behaviour.
Writing that's way above the standard of this site. Very atmospheric is what I would call it. The characters are also written well, including their thoughts and interactions. The world is set in an alternate history earth, a believable one at that.
The author also presents the horrors of war in a realistic way. Usually, the term "dark" is thrown around recklessly, and stories touting themselves as dark aren't actually such; more like edgy. This is not the case here. There is no forced scenes just to paint a dark story but it rather flows organically.
As can be seen from the synopsis, this is a world without women and the main character discovered a person purporting to be the last woman. Their interactions are genuinely engaging, through how awkward they seemed, how they relate to each other, how one would act not knowing what a woman is.
The author uses present tense in writing the story (past tense for flashbacks and such). It is a cool usage of tenses, however, I know most people are used to reading past tense. The author does a very good job in using present tense that you won't notice it anyway.
That said, I am saddened that many readers might not give this a try just because it is not one of the more mainstream/popular genres here on this site. Since reviews are meant to be for perspective readers, let me encourage you to give this a try. You might like something different than the usual.
This is an extremely well-written piece of speculative fiction. The story sings, the characters are well written, and the plot is intriguing. If you like science fiction and mysteries, you'll like this story!
First off, I want to talk about how good the author is at description. The setting, the characters, the scenes all have an extremely visceral and grounded feel to them. You have no problems visualizing anything, and I personally really appreciate that in a story.
Style: The style is clear and consistent, for the most part. There is a little bit of changing back and forth, depending on which character we are with. There was one chapter where I was a little thrown by the transition, but that could just be me.
Grammar: Out of the 8 chapters I've read so far, I've noticed less than one hand's worth of grammar mistakes so that's definitely well done!
Story: The story is excellent. We have many mysteries to unravel. Where did women go? Why is there constant war? Has really only two generations gone by? Where did the woman come from? I agree with another reviewer that I had serious questions about homosexuality within this world (that are answered). I think this information should occur earlier in the story however, or at least some hints dropped for the reader.
Character: All the characters are well described and feel like real people. You can understand their motivations and personality and they seem grounded and reasonable. The woman is, at least at the moment, a bit blank, but I'm sure we will come to understand why that is the case as the story progresses.
I've read up to Chapter 15, and I will continue to keep reading the series, but I feel that I've had a good sense of where the story is headed so far! Overall, The Last Woman on Earth features a fantastic historical AU (alternate universe) world with an intriguing hero, who is a lot more than he initially leads the reader into believing. I normally do not read military or war-centered stories, but the writing style and worldbuilding as well as the distinctive character voices convinced me to keep reading to the point where--now, I have questions and I need answers!
To start, every character who is introduced has a unique personality and voice of their own. I like that even the ones whom you do not generally get to know well have traits that are either sympathetic or traits that makes you feel really hateful toward them, further highlighting the type of world or historical AU timeline that you are experiencing as a reader. The story isn't happy-go-lucky, considering that it is a story that revolves around a World War that seemed to have gone on forever--so, don't expect happy endings for everyone. At the same time though, it is that same sense of brutality that helps bring forth the protagonist's humanity, his compassion, and his struggle with what is right versus what is wrong. You cannot help but root for him!
The worldbuilding and the plot are also well-paced! I've read many web novels or online stories where it leaves me wishing for more worldbuilding or slower pacing because I can get easily confused; however, this one does it just right. While the action parts can be fast, they are well-executed and thought out in a way where you also get some world-building over time. Every character interaction or moment of taking in their surroudnings is not wasted. It always feels purposeful and helps you, the reader, better understand why the writer described it in the way they did for later scenes. This was refreshing, and it helped me appreciate The Last Woman on Earth even more!
All in all, this was a nice starter for me, a reader who rarely reads military stories and is not too familiar with the genre. Not only did the writing style got me reading, the grammar is also nearly flawless! So, if you're looking for something new to read, a well-paced story plot that expands over time and with worldbuilding, and perhaps--some adventure/action elements to go with that--I believe that this is the story for you!
What reaction would you have to a woman In a world without them? The protagonist's reaction and inner monologue for what might as well be an alien to him is realistic, and quite funny with his misinterpretations. He's a soldier, in a cruel battlefield and the closest thing to a friend of his just died, and out of nowhere some useless 'thing' shows up, expressing weakness and frailty. His suspicion and negative outlook on the situation is really well written.
The war setting is a World War One, hell in the unmoving trenches deal, exacerbated over the fact that the soldiers inside them are lab grown clones, taught to be unfeeling and fiercely loyal to their armies. Emotion and humanity is frowned upon, and the concept of love is outlawed.
The protagonist has his own secrets, and the war has fashioned him into an effective and remorseless killer. His inner monologues are usually negative, and suggest he is more than what he seems.
Great work! Will definitely be following this to the end!
Welcome to an alternate timeline of Earth where women have X-ray vision, metallic skin, and exploding beasts!......What? They don't? Ah! What a shame?
In all seriousness though, this fiction has taken a very interesting what if, and has beautifully embedded it into a very well-paced psychological war thriller. What if, there were no more women and humans reproduced asexually? How would society thrive? How would the males cope? Well, writer Newwyn has an opinion.
Story - As already mentioned, the story is set in an alternate world ruled by human males in a state of constant war and turmoil. In a land where soldiers are literally made into emotionless kill machines through 'cloning', the author beautifully portrays the aspects of hidden trauma and mental health of our characters. The concept of 'forbidden love' has also been explored along with a realistic world-building. Adding the self-proclaimed 'Last women on Earth' into the recipe, you have got one heck of a dish that can keep one hooked.
Style - The prose is exceptionally well written. It goes into amazing detail to help the reader visualize the cruel world and remains concise all the time. There are a few tense changes coming up with the change in pov but that has been addressed by the author himself.
Grammar - Couldn't even find a single typo.
Characters - The most well-written aspect of the story in my opinion. The interactions are extremely grounded and interesting. How they test the waters with strangers, how they develop a bond, how they react when one such bond breaks, really believable.
The story seems to get into the high sci-fi genre with plot progression which is definitely another plus point. A well-recommended read.
I like the story and the characterizations. The interpersonal interactions are engaging. I especially like how the "Last Woman" is revealed alongside the history of the conflict. The description of where the woman came from adds just a hint of mystery, which does not progress too quickly. This adds to the reading experience as you try to figure out exactly what is going on.
The style of writing works well for the story being told and adds to the general feeling on tension in the story. The first-person narrative restricts the knowledge, and a great deal of attention is paid to the idea of show and not tell. The imagery is excellent.
The characters are well developed, I especially like the tension created with the main character at the beginning. There is a depth to all of them that is not just 'word deep'.
The pacing is good, a little slow for me, but then i hate stories that develop too fast too. so .. there is that.
I did not run into any grammar errors that i noticed. Everything flowed as I was reading it. The only problem I ran into is that i ran out of chapters way too soon.