What’s it all about?:
Twelve-year-old Kester thought he had discovered the last wild animals in the land. He thought his adventure was over. He was wrong.
Below the sparkling city of Premium, deep underground, a dark wild remains: animals who believe the time is right to rise up against their human enemies.
And soon Kester realises: he is the only one who can stop them.
Kester Jaynes saved the animals. Can he save the humans too?
What did I think?:
The Dark Wild is the second in Piers Torday’s excellent Last Wild series and for me it was just as gripping and exciting as the first novel. Our hero of the story is Kester, a twelve year old boy who cannot speak but manages to communicate with animals and this leads him to save the last few remaining species on the planet. In a dystopian future, a mysterious virus has swept the globe killing off the majority of animals while others were culled by humans for fear of infection. A mega corporation known as Facto and headed by the ambitious and determined Selwyn Stone now runs the world as he sees fit, manufacturing the world’s only food supply, the unappetising “formula.”
On his previous adventure, Kester meets a young girl called Polly who turns out to be the best friend he never had. In The Dark Wild though, Polly appears to be harbouring a dangerous secret. When she suddenly disappears along with his father whom he is trying to build a stronger bond with, Kester’s worst fears are immediately recognised. He has been hearing a strange but yet not unfamiliar whispering from the drains and when he goes underground to investigate he is shocked to find hundreds of animals plotting together in the biggest animal revolution ever. Their plan? To take back the world they believe is rightfully theirs and to fight against the humans who destroyed them.
Kester must use his gift for animal communication in all the right ways if he is going to save the world, his friends and family and, of course, the animals. He will come across many more challenges in his effort, one of whom is the leader of the opposition, Dagger an aggressive white dog with metal teeth, a thirst for revenge, a bad attitude and a serious grudge against humanity! In the midst of all this chaos, Kester also manages to make a few new friends (animal and human) and he will definitely need all their help too if Dagger’s plan is to be thwarted and Polly and his father rescued.
This novel won The Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 2014 and now I’ve read it, I must pronounce it a very deserving winner! I enjoyed the fact that it was a completely separate adventure for Kester and the gang although it still had connections to the first book. Again, we have the adorable animal characters and I loved them all, even the villain of the piece, Dagger who just fascinated me with his metal teeth. Then we have the return of The Stag and Wolf-
Cub, the latter being the size of a fully grown wolf now but is still as excitable as ever, especially when it’s something he feels he can be “the best” at! The two creatures that really touched me in this book were the Mouse who does her own little random dance to illustrate how she is feeling i.e. The Dance Of The Flying Metal Machine which apparently features a lot of spinning. Of course it does! The second is a new character for the series and quite possibly the most miserable Rat in the world who helps Kester navigate his way underground as long as he promises to be his friend and never leave him. Aw.
For me, this series keeps getting better. The Dark Wild builds on the strength of the last novel and it seems the author’s imagination knows no bounds as he takes us on a journey which is slightly darker than the previous book but greatly satisfying in its conclusion. I appreciated everything the author was trying to get across with important underlying elements like the environment, animal extinction and animal cruelty whilst also stressing the importance of friendship, loyalty and family throughout. Yes, at times it may seem a bit fantastical and you may have to suspend your disbelief but it’s a children’s book. Of course there should be magic, adventure, exaggeration and dastardly villains, that’s what makes young adult or any other young fiction so exciting. It’s also why I’m jumping up and down in anticipation of the final book!
Visit bibliobeth tomorrow for my review of the final book in The Last Wild trilogy – The Wild Beyond.
For my first review of The Last Wild, please click HERE
For my interview with Piers Torday, please click HERE
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):