Book Review,  Reviews

The Last Wild – Piers Torday

“My story begins with me sitting on a bed, looking out of the window. 

I know that doesn’t sound like much. But let me tell you where the bed is, and what I can see from it. This bed is right in the corner of a room only just big enough for it, and the bed is only just big enough for a kid my age.
(Twelve – just about to be thirteen – and skinny.) 
The window is the size of the whole wall, made of special tinted glass that means the room stays the same temperature all the time. The room is locked shut and you need an electric keycard to open the door.”

Kester Jaynes has been kept prisoner in Spectrum Hall for six years now. He is there because he cannot talk, not a single word, even when he wants to. Those in charge, Facto, keep any challenging children in the Hall and there is no escape, for it hall is in the middle of the quarantine zone. The quarantine zone was put in place when the disease that killed all the animals, red-eye, got so bad that people feared it would pass on to them. Kester has never really known anything other than his home, and the hall, but when a flock of pigeons break through the window of his room and start talking to him, telling him to get out, he knows he should follow. Kester doesn’t understand much of what is going on but it is clear that the pigeons understand him and if he doesn’t help soon even the varmint, the lowest of the low creatures, will soon be gone from the world. 

This was a sweet book. I wasn’t sure what to expect and to be honest is was a bit odd, but I did enjoy reading it and thought the concept was really good. 
The story is about a world full of disease, a world where people are told the decent, food chain like, animals are all dead and all that remains are vermin, a world where all the crops have failed because there is no longer any bees and flies spreading the nectar. The world is in a state of disrepair and the only people who can help are those in Facto, the food company that rose to power because they produced a formula which meant people could carry on living without animals and plants. There’s something off with Facto from the start, you can tell they aren’t nice people, especially when you learn more about Spectrum Hall and their ways of disciplining the children there. However Kester gets out of Spectrum Hall very quickly and you soon learn that what he has been taught about the world around him is not strictly true. 
I love a good conspiracy theory so I thought there was more than enough to keep me carry on reading The Last Wild because of that. However the writing got a bit slow and the pace dropped dramatically in the middle for me. It was great but I only really carried on reading because I had invested too much time in it by then. The ending was worth it though. The book seems to have been left open for a possible sequel but I’m not certain there’s one on the cards. If there is I would probably give it a go just to get answers to additional questions I had. 
The Last Wild is a great middle grade, younger teen slightly dystopian fantasy. I really enjoyed it but it didn’t come with the huge amounts of danger that I am used to from the older dystopians I have read. There were some sad bits and some happy bits and I loved the main character, Polly and their companions. I especially loved Sidney and her attitude to everything. 
I probably would have liked this book more had I been reading it with a middle grade aged child or if I was one. It would make for a great bedtime story, even with the sad bits, and I would recommend it if you want to introduce yourself or your child to dystopian fiction. However if you are a hardcore dystopian fan like me it will leave you slightly disappointed I think. 
The Last Wild was published by Quercus on March 28th. My copy was sent as an unsolicited review copy from the publisher. 

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