Book Title: The Last Wild
Author: Piers Torday
Genre: Dystopian Fiction
Summary: This is a world where animals no longer exist. Contaminated by the red-eye plague, surviving animals were destroyed from fear of further outbreaks and mutations of the disease. Locked away in a special school, Kester’s only companions are the varmints that have remained; cockroaches and moths are the only members of his social circle. Unable to speak, he practises a silent speech in his mind – but then he discovers he is heard. And he, too, can hear and understand the cockroaches and moths. Carried away from the school to the wild, Kester slowly discovers some of the lies and deceit that surround the red-eye disease and disappearance of the animals, as well as his own disappearance from his father and home.
Favourite Scene: It’s hard to choose because there weren’t really any “stand-out” scenes for me … yeah, I really can’t choose one. Sorry!
Favourite Character: It’s a toss-up between the very childish Wolf Cub and the very amusing White Pigeon.
Review: This was a sweet book that I would happily recommend to a mature and confident reader of 9 years, up to a young adult reader who wants to further explore the dystopian setting so popular in today’s books for young people. By focusing on animals and creating a protagonist who can talk to them while the natural world is coming apart, readers are offered a first-hand account of what the “end of the world” means for nature and its inhabitants. This was an approach I really enjoyed as the animals were given their own voices to share their perspectives. At times the dialogue, which attempted to use realistic pauses and hesitations as well as accents, was labourious, often distracted me from what was being said as I was caught up working out how it was being said. This is my main criticism of the novel. Torday has used a simple but effective quest-narrative in a dystopian setting; astute readers will find the novel predictable and, at times, mundane. However readers who appreciate entertaining novels with uncomplicated plots and characters will thoroughly enjoy this story. I wasn’t sure if I should give this a three or four comma rating … I was tempted to go with 3 1/2 but I refuse to do halves! So three it is!
I was provided with a review copy of The Last Wild by the Book Depository. You can buy your copy here.