The Last by Katherine Applegate
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
This is an engaging read. The Last, which is actually the first in the Endling series is a book targeted to middle-grade readers. It should appeal to children who have loved anthropomorphic fantasies along the lines of the Redwall series. Applegate gives us an appealing protagonist in Byx, member of a sentient species called the dairne, who have a dog-like appearance but walk upright like humans. Set in the world of Nedarra, war ravages Byx's world as humans try to conquer the other sentient races. A simple nighttime escapade leads Byx away from her family's camp and she later returns to find them slaughtered. Fearing she is the last of her kind, Byx sets out with her friend Tobble, a wobbyx, to find safety and hopefully other dairne. Along the way, Byx attracts a band of friends of different species, including some humans, finds intrigue, and a potential threat to Nedarra.
A charming and well-written book, Newbery Award-winning author Applegate giving her readers an epic fantasy with a heroine you root for and some deeper thoughts about extinction. One of the benefits of anthropomorphic fantasies is that they encourage children to view animals as sentient creatures, capable of emotions and higher thought, and thus a little bit more like us humans. That hopefully leads to deeper thoughts about humans and the way we impact our world.
I received a Digital Review Copy of this book from Edelweiss and Harper Collins, in exchange for an honest review.
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