Last Descendants (Last Descendants: An Assassin's Creed Series #1)by Matthew J. Kirby
Nothing in Owen's life has been right since his father died in prison, accused of a crime Owen is certain he didn't commit. Monroe, the IT guy at school, might finally bring Owen the means to clear his father's name by letting him use an Animus-a device that lets users explore genetic memories buried within their own DNA. During a simulation, Owen
Nothing in Owen's life has been right since his father died in prison, accused of a crime Owen is certain he didn't commit. Monroe, the IT guy at school, might finally bring Owen the means to clear his father's name by letting him use an Animus-a device that lets users explore genetic memories buried within their own DNA. During a simulation, Owen comes uncovers the existence of a powerful relic long considered a legend-the Trident of Eden. Now two secret organizations will stop at nothing to take possession of this artifact-the Brotherhood of Assassins and the Templar Order. It becomes clear the only way to save himself is to find the Trident first.
Under the guidance of Monroe, Owen and a group of other teenagers go into a memory they all share within their DNA: the 1863 Draft Riots in New York City. Owen and his companions will find themselves tested on the violent streets of New York, and their experiences in the past will have far-reaching consequences in the present.
Gr 7 Up—Usually marketed toward adults, Ubisoft's popular Assassin's Creed video game franchise takes a stab at attracting young adult audiences with the first title in a planned series. Fans of the franchise will wonder what this title is doing in the youth section, while the target audience will rejoice that there is finally something for them in this thought-provoking historical fiction series. Just like the game, this volume follows the main characters into the Animus (think plugging into the Matrix), where they can relive parts of their ancestors' lives through their DNA. This new story begins by following high school friends Owen and Javier as they sneak out one night to explore an Animus in a shady bus with their school's IT guy, Monroe. He has manipulated the Animus in a way that will surprise seasoned fans and keep them hooked until the somewhat predictable cliff-hanger ending. True to the franchise, many characters are diverse in terms of culture, belief, and sexual orientation; however, their development is a bit flat and will hopefully be fleshed out in future installments. Newcomers to the series may be left puzzled at times, but fans of science fiction may be able to pick up on some of the technical lingo. VERDICT This will appeal to reluctant readers and gaming enthusiasts.—Amanda Schiavulli Finger Lakes Library System, NY
The debut of an action-adventure series that ties in with the popular "Assassin's Creed" video games. Monroe, the information technology guy at Owen's high school, runs an unusual operation: his Animus console allows users to enter simulations to explore genetic memories. For the 15-year-old white boy, this means he might be able to uncover the truth about his father. He doesn't believe what his grandparents say about his father: that he had a gambling addiction, robbed a store, shot a guard. Owen feels his father was framed by friends, and that landed him in prison. That thread of the story proves to be a dead end, left to future installments, but in a simulation that sends Owen and others to New York City during the 1863 draft riots, Owen and companions finds themselves caught in the middle of an ancient rivalry between two factions, the Templar Order and the Assassins Brotherhood. Amid the fast-paced action and historical drama, they uncover an ancient relic, a Piece of Eden, with tremendous power. The fascinating, free-wheeling blend of science, history, and action-adventure will make this a sure hit, even for those who haven't played the video games. The consciously diverse cast includes, in addition to Owen, a Latino, an African-American brother and sister, a Central Asian girl, and a white boy in a wheelchair. Readers will be anxious for the second installment, soon to follow. (Science fiction. 11-16)
Meet the Author
Matthew J. Kirby is the critically acclaimed author of the middle-grade novels Icefall, which won the Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery and the PEN Literary Award for Children's Literature; The Clockwork Three, which was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start; The Lost Kingdom; The Quantum League: Spell Robbers; and Cave of Wonders, the fifth book in the Infinity Ring series. He was born in Utah and grew up in Maryland, California, and Hawaii. Matthew is currently at work on his next novel.
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Even though the story itself is not really that great (compared to the video game plots), it's still a pretty nice addition to the Assassin's Creed franchise overall. The book is meant for a younger audience, since the main characters here are teens and things are not too graphic or tragic. It's also for people who are either new to the fandom and want a better understanding of the Assassins, the Templars, Abstergo, etc.; and/or people who just want a quick read. This only took me a day to finish. I would also like to add that I love the diversity of the teenagers. And one more thing, **SPOILER ALERT** One of the teens is revealed to be gay near the end, so whether that discourages you from the book or encourages you, I'm just putting it out there.