The Last Wild

( 2 )


"A hugely inventive adventure."
—Eoin Colfer, New York Times bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl series
In a world where animals are slowly fading into extinction, twelve-year-old Kester Jaynes feels as if he hardly exists either. He’s been locked away in a home for troubled children and is unable to speak a word. Then one night, a flock of talking pigeons and a bossy cockroach come to help him ...

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The Last Wild

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"A hugely inventive adventure."
—Eoin Colfer, New York Times bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl series
In a world where animals are slowly fading into extinction, twelve-year-old Kester Jaynes feels as if he hardly exists either. He’s been locked away in a home for troubled children and is unable to speak a word. Then one night, a flock of talking pigeons and a bossy cockroach come to help him escape, and he discovers that he can speak—to them. And the animals need him. Only Kester, with the aid of a stubborn, curious girl named Polly, can help them survive.
The animals saved Kester. But can he save them?
"When ninety-nine pigeons smash through the windows of Kester's prison and carry him North to the last of the animals…. it's a moment as thrilling as when James flies off in the Giant Peach. Highly recommended"
The Times (UK)
“Combines a great fondness for animals with an appreciation of the freakish…. The reserved narrative tone and tender yet peculiar view of animals give this piece its own offbeat flavor.”
Kirkus Reviews
“Alternately somber, thrilling, and silly.”
Publishers Weekly

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 12/16/2013
In this offbeat semi-apocalyptic fantasy, debut novelist Torday introduces 12-year-old Kester Jaynes, a prisoner at Spectrum Hall Academy for Challenging Children. Kester’s world was turned upside down by the death of his mother six years earlier (he hasn’t spoken since). The larger world is in tumult, too, wrecked by global warming and “the red-eye,” which killed off most animal life and threatens humans with extinction. One day, Kester is stunned to discover he can communicate with cockroaches, pigeons, and other “varmints,” who ask him for help: “*Come with us now, Kester Jaynes. Or rot here forever. The choice is yours.*” With the aid of the varmints, Kester escapes from Spectrum Hall and learns that he is the chosen savior of “the last wild,” the few remaining animals on Earth. A sort of dystopian Winnie-the-Pooh, Torday’s story is alternately somber, thrilling, and silly, filled with eccentric human and animal characters with distinctive voices. That includes Kester—although his fellow humans see him as silent, his courage, actions, and growth speak volumes. Ages 8–12. Agent: Clare Conville, Conville & Walsh. (Mar.)
VOYA, June 2014 (Vol. 37, No. 2) - Liz Sundermann
Twelve-year-old Kester Jaynes is locked in a prison-like reform school in the middle of the Quarantine Zone when he discovers that he can communicate telepathically with animals. Not that there are many to communicate with—a virus wiped almost all living creatures from the Earth. Only certain species of insects and rodents appear to be unaffected, and it is a cockroach who first tells Kester that he must escape in order to save the last remaining enclave of animals from extinction. Kester makes a heroic journey from the last Wild to Premium City in an attempt to find a cure. As he travels, it becomes increasingly clear that the company that has ruled the world since the onset of the epidemic is not what it seems. The plot of this eco-thriller moves swiftly enough to engage ambivalent readers, and Kester is a winsome protagonist. The animal and human companions he finds along his journey are imaginatively humorous, but villains are cartoonish, and there is very little character growth. This book should have fairly broad appeal, and will have at least one sequel. Recommend this book to readers who like the Books of Ember series by Jeanne DuPrau, noting that this book is less complex in both plot and world building. Reviewer: Liz Sundermann; Ages 11 to 14.
School Library Journal
Gr 3–7—"When the rest of the world grew too hot, and cracked open in the sun, everyone came to live on this cold grey rock." In a future world that is largely without animals because of a terrible virus, 12-year-old Kester Jaynes, who hasn't spoken since his mom died, is called by the cockroaches to help save the last enclave of wildlife from the deadly plague. At first, Torday's interesting, imaginary world seems to be full of inconsistencies, but he takes pains to make a cohesive speculative environment for the characters to develop within. The prose is extremely British, which can be a barrier for reluctant readers, and while the characterization of Kester is strong, the plotting and atmosphere fail to deliver enough peril to make this novel a true a page-turner. Nonetheless, this gentle, dystopian adventure is a good introduction for students who may not have encountered environmental morality tale tropes, such as talking animals, an epic quest, and an evil corporation out to destroy the world. A solid choice for students who are too young for Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games (Scholastic, 2008).—L. Lee Butler, Stoughton High School, MA
Kirkus Reviews
This fantasy journey with a post-apocalyptic setting combines a great fondness for animals with an appreciation of the freakish. Kester's spent the past six years at Spectrum Hall Academy for Challenging Children, a penal institution with a Roald Dahl vibe. Spectrum Hall jails kids who steal or eat too much. Kester hasn't spoken since his mother died, but is he imprisoned for that? Food is "bright pink gloop" that always, always tastes like prawn-cocktail crisps. The whole country eats this corporate-manufactured formula, since the red-eye virus killed all animals except useless varmints and contaminated all crops and vegetables. In this bleak environment, Kester befriends a cockroach--who, with hundreds of fellow cockroaches, busts Kester out of jail one shocking day through a fetid drain. Pigeons carry him to a "wild," a group of free wild animals in hiding. Although he can't speak aloud, Kester can communicate silently with varmints and animals. The red-eye is real, the animals are dying, and Kester must evade a murderous, stereotypically disabled bad guy and ride a majestic stag cross-country (with the cockroach and other critters) to reach his veterinarian father, who might have a cure. Present-tense narration creates immediacy and emphasizes Kester's limited knowledge. Although Kester's a classic special-kid-who-doesn't-know-it, the reserved narrative tone and tender yet peculiar view of animals give this piece its own offbeat flavor. (map) (Fantasy. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670015542
  • Publisher: Viking Juvenile
  • Publication date: 3/18/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 206,319
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 820L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 5.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Piers Torday was born in Northumberland, which is possibly the one part of England where more animals live than people. After working as a producer and writer in theatre, live comedy and TV, he now lives in London – where there are more animals that you might think. The Last Wild is followed by the sequel (and concluding volume) The Dark Wild. You can find out more about Piers and follow his blog at

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Read an Excerpt

I grab my chair, ready to bat the birds back out again, back to wherever they came from, when they start to speak—all of them talking together in a deep voice, more like singing than talking. Like a choir, direct in my head—just like the crackle from the cockroach in the Yard, or the whistle from the spider in the Doctor’s room, only this time there’s hundreds of voices speaking at once.

And I really can hear what they’re saying.

*Kester Jaynes, we have been sent to find you.*

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2014

    Great book team leo


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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2014


    This book was AMAZING

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