Review of ‘The Last Wild’ by Piers Torday

WrenI’ve been a bit quiet recently because 6 weeks ago I gave birth to a lovely baby girl called Wren. Throughout my pregnancy and early weeks of being a new mum I was very distracted and found it much harder to find the time to read. This is a particular shame as obviously I adore reading.

I am determined to get back to reading much more frequently and have just finished the first book since I gave birth. I managed to do this by reading out loud to Wren when I am feeding her. It’s supposed to be really important to read to children and I’ve decided that since she’s so long it doesn’t really matter what I read it’s just the reading that counts.

The Last WildI picked The Last Wild because I thought it would be a short easy read to get started with, but I’m really glad I did. It is a funny, engaging young adult book which I genuinely enjoyed and which actually lent itself quite well to being read out loud.

I didn’t know anything about this book, from the cover I thought it would be about a boy running around on Scottish moors and befriending a deer, so I was quite surprised when it opened with a boy who can’t speak living in a boarding school in a future dystopia where all the animals have died. One day the boy Kester Jaynes discovers that he is able to speak to vermin, seemingly the only non-human creatures left. He is rescued from the boarding school by some cockroaches and pigeons and taken to the last place on earth where animals live. Here he joins with a stag and a wolf cub to take on a quest to cure the illness which has killed the animals.

In some ways this book is your standard children’s quest book, with a journey and various challenges and dangerous situations along the route. However, I think it is a cut above many of these books because it is genuinely funny in places. I loved the character of the wolf-cub, who is constantly declaring that he is the best at everything and the harvest mouse who has a special dance for all situations. It’s a really fun read which I think most early children aged about 10 onwards would enjoy.

Review of ‘Found’ by Harlan Coben

FoundI love Coben’s crime thrillers for adults, but I haven’t been a very big fan of his young adult series focussing on Myron Bolitar’s nephew Mickey. However, this third instalment of the series is definitely the best so far. The premise is slightly less far fetched in this book and we get some answers to unsolved mysteries from the previous two books.

This book is a bit less action packed than the preceding books and does a better job of focussing on the school and basketball life of Mickey and his friends. The series revolves around Mickey saving missing or endangered teenagers, and the case in this book is much more believable. However, it is still a really daft premise especially the way they are directed towards teenagers they must save by pictures of butterflies appearing somewhere.

The book has a very satisfyingly conclusion, finally resolving the plot line introduced in the first book which placed a question mark over the death of Mickey’s father. I feel like now this has been resolved future books in the series will probably be better; this book definitely feels like Coben is beginning to get the hang of the young adult genre which I think he struggled with in the first couple of books.