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The Last Wild

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In a world where animals no longer exist, twelve-year-old Kester Jaynes sometimes feels like he hardly exists either. Locked away in a home for troubled children, he's told there's something wrong with him. So when he meets a flock of talking pigeons and a bossy cockroach, Kester thinks he's finally gone crazy. But the animals have something to say. And they need him. The pigeons fly Kester to a wild place where the last creatures in the land have survived. A wise stag needs Kester's help, and together they must embark on a great journey, joined along the way by an overenthusiastic wolf cub, a military-trained cockroach, a mouse with a ritual for everything, and a stubborn girl named Polly. The animals saved Kester Jaynes. But can Kester save the animals?

336 pages, Hardcover

First published March 28, 2013

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About the author

Piers Torday

20 books199 followers
Piers Torday began his career in theatre and then television as a producer and writer. His first book for children, The Last Wild, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Award and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal. The sequel, The Dark Wild, won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. Other books include The Wild Beyond and The Death of an Owl (with Paul Torday.) His adaptation of John Masefield’s The Box of Delights opened at Wilton’s Music Hall in 2017. He lives in London with his husband and a very naughty dog.

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5 stars
1,099 (32%)
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3 stars
772 (22%)
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74 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 438 reviews
Profile Image for Swrp.
561 reviews107 followers
September 22, 2021
"It's weird, but I kind of enjoy feeling sad sometimes."

Kester is forced to stay in a home for troubled children, and the wardens keep telling him that something is wrong with him.

Piers Torday`s The Last Wild is the story of twelve-year-old Kester Jaynes and his adventurous journey to save wild animals and also humans from a deadly virus. This book is well-written and the storyline is captivating and engaging. The story also attempts to highlight the contribution of humans in much of the damage to the animal kingdom and also to the environment. It is a thought-provoking read, and a book with a valuable message, particularly for young readers.

The virus known as the Red Eye is claiming the lives of the animals at a fast pace. It looks like Kester is the only hope now, as he finds out having a special ability to communicate with those still left in the Wild. Kester and his animal friends embark on a journey to find the cure to save those left in the last of the Wild.

©Piers Torday

"A great stag never runs away from his fate."

One of the lessons that humans can learn from this story is the willingness of the animals to work together so that they can protect themselves from the deadly virus, and also in finding a cure. This book was published in 2013 but makes a lot more sense with the pandemic situation in 2021.

The author Piers Torday, at the end of the book, mentions the rapid decrease and disappearance of the wildlife as one of the motivations to write this story. He quotes a recent study in which it was found that the numbers of almost 60% of wild species and wild plants in the UK have declined and that one in ten is on the verge of extinction. Piers, so very rightly, highlights the point that extinction means gone forever.

Wildlife in 'catastrophic decline' due to human destruction.

[Source - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-en...]

”We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.”~Thomas Fuller.

Thank you, Quercus Publishing for the copy of the book.
Profile Image for Chantelle.
71 reviews72 followers
May 20, 2013
Wow, The Last Wild is the single most mindbogglingly imaginative, creative and artistically confounding book I've ever had the fortune to read.

To read my full review, please click here.

This novel seriously knocked me for a loop; it was so cryptic - highlights included me getting irrationally attached to a certain Wolf-Cub, and literally sobbing at one point which doesn't happen often! On one hand, it was about a boy who can talk to animals, and goes on a huge six part adventure trying to find a cure to prevent their extinction. And yet, on the other hand, it was about infinitely more, because Piers Torday does not sugar coat much. There was a recurring theme of hope, but the plot was gritty, and honest, and pretty confronting. Basically so inventive and thoughtful, I couldn't not give it 5 stars.

The use of a main character who couldn't talk, couldn't express himself to other humans was so impacting. I'm sure we've all felt that way before, that we can't communicate properly with even those closest to us, that they're not understanding, that we're all alone. As the novel progresses, Kester meets a large range of animals, from mice to a majestic stag, each with their own unique personalities and qualities who can hear him. I think it was supposed to reflect the growth of imagination and self-belief of Kester as he soldiered on through his "wild", and that the power of childish innocence, and blind faith can save lives, that everyone has the potential to be a hero... Not really sure. Either way, this novel is overflowing with metaphorical resonances, you can definitely feel the amount of passion and thought Piers Torday has invested into this novel with each paragraph.

That being said, I have no idea whether this book would ideally be for children or adults. I think that the plot is so ambiguous that anyone, young or old, could read this, and have wildly different but personally valid interpretations. And that, to me, is the beauty of The Last Wild. Honestly, I don't think I understand half of it yet, it's still stewing in my brain with certain scenes that I can't get out of my head, asking myself why and how. It's an extremely rare reaction to have to any novel, let alone a "children's" novel which as an adult usually seem rather straight forward. Kester's adventure is one that I truly believe kids can grow up re-reading many, many times and each time - with growing life experiences - be able to relate to another character, notice another nuance, or discover another significance that could be applied to their life.

I would definitely recommend buying this book for your kids (so you can read it yourself), just don't blame me when they get all weirdly reflective about the world and their significance in it... Or if they ask for a stag for christmas.

For more reviews, please visit my blog Looking for the Panacea.
Profile Image for Abi Elphinstone.
Author 21 books376 followers
December 5, 2014
I was hooked on Piers Torday’s best-selling The Last Wild before I even started reading Chapter One. And the reason? There’s a MAP before the story starts – and every great adventure book has a map. There’s a majestic stag on the Valley of Rock, a pigeon fluttering near The Ring of Trees and a Shining Leaf tree inside a sinking swamp. And then there’s the Forest of the Dead and the ominous looking Spectrum Hall… Right from the start my mind was spinning with adventures.

The Last Wild is the story of a boy named Kester. Snatched from his family six years previously, Kester is locked up inside Spectrum Hall Academy for Challenging Children. Kester can understand why most of the other children have been locked inside. But he can’t work out why he is. And yet Spectrum Hall’s sinister wardens are desperate to control Kester, to make him do the one thing he cannot do: speak.

In a world where every animal has supposedly been destroyed because of a deadly ‘red-eye’ virus, Kestrel feels more alone than ever. But when a flock of excited pigeons burst into his bedroom and start talking to him, Kester’s life changes forever. He discovers that he has a gift. Though he cannot speak to humans, he can speak to animals. And that’s just as well – because he’s The One the last animals on earth have been waiting for: the leader of the wild. But can Kester and his wild beat their way past malevolent cullers, starving outsiders and the dreaded Captain Skuldiss? Perhaps – but only if Kester listens very carefully to the stag…

The Last Wild boasts some of the most memorable characters in children’s books to date. There’s the Oh So Moontruggy white pigeon – some of his best quotes below…
*Kester! I don’t regret anything!*
*Here is your gift – some old sheep.*
*Not a bad-looking fat bird yourself.*

…and the arrogant but completely endearing and courageous wolf-cub:

*But you had better watch out for me. I will always be watching your back! No, I mean, that is… you should watch your back! That’s all I’m saying.*

But the wolf-cub’s not the only character with buckets of courage. When Torday writes Kester’s words ‘Watch me’ on page 279, every fibre inside you will want to leap up and charge towards Premium with Kester’s wild. It’s a fantastic book – a story of unlikely friendships, welly-wearing scrabble players, extraordinary bravery and hope against all odds.
Profile Image for Dean Ryan Martin.
200 reviews38 followers
August 22, 2020
Done reading THE LAST WILD - Book 1 in The Last Wild Trilogy.

Author's Writing Style: 5 STARS. Yay: It is well-written. It is easy to read narrated in first person perspective in present tenses. It is ideally written for kids and kids at heart like me.

Nay: Pacing is pretty fast. Some will like it. Kids will like it for sure but I kind of dislike it. It seems the development of some minor characters suffers.

Character/s Development: 3 STARS. Yay: This is my first time to read a story in which the lead character interacts with the animals 100% of the time - mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles, name it, he can communicate with them effectively than human beings. It is almost a fable tale. Just almost.

Nay: It seems the supporting characters only exist just because they need to. The lead character has a new friend. Polly is her name. I want to get to know her more but I cannot seem to understand who she is. She is a friend, that's it. Nothing more.

Plot: 4 STARS. Yay: It is good and it is interesting enough. The world faces a red-eye virus that slowly kills the Animal Kingdom. Only few survive, and they call themselves 'The Last Wild.' Led by a stag, he relies on Kester Jaynes to save them. Kester is 12 and is reluctant to find a cure. What can he do? Can he find a cure before all animals are dead?

Nay: Age-inappropriate for me but I still like it, especially Chapter 37.
Profile Image for Leeanna.
538 reviews92 followers
August 10, 2014
This review originally appeared on my blog, Leeanna.me.


THE LAST WILD is a whimsical tale, the story of a boy discovering his voice. It reminded me a little of THE LITTLE PRINCE,, maybe because of the cover and chapter heading illustrations, and because like that book, THE LAST WILD can be read on different levels. It’s one for both kids and adults.

Twelve-year-old Kester lives in a world where there are no animals. They were killed by the mysterious red-eye virus, all except cockroaches and the like. Kester hasn’t talked for six years, and he’s surprised as anyone when he hears a voice in his room one night. Only … the voice is in his head, and it’s coming from a cockroach.

Thus starts Kester’s journey to rescue the last animals left alive. Kester has a gift: the ability to talk and listen to animals. Carried by pigeons to The Last Wild, he reluctantly agrees to help the last remaining animals find a cure for red-eye. Along the way, he learns a lot about himself, friendship, humans, and animals.

THE LAST WILD is a magical book. The different animals accompanying Kester, from the stag to the wolf-cub to the pigeons to the cockroach all had their own personalities and stories. There’s lots of humor, but also lots of sadness. The author brought all of them to life for me. When I turned the last page of the book, I wished I could get my hands on the next one, because I have got to find out what happens next to Kester and everyone. The ending isn’t quite a cliffhanger, because much of the story is wrapped up, but there’s still some problems to face.


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review.

See more of my reviews:
Profile Image for Daisy May Johnson.
Author 2 books163 followers
May 8, 2015
I came to 'The Last Wild' a little blindly. I was conscious that it was a Carnegie nominee for 2014 and that I'd seen a lot of positive talk online about it. And that was pretty much it, and now that I have finished it, I am wondering how best to phrase my feelings about this painterly, immense book.

I think, firstly, it's useful to know that it's the first in a series. That I found the ending difficult in that sort of 'but - but - a sequel?' sort of thing. A part of me longs for self-contained books in the way that Rooftoppers is and I long for that because I'm a selfish reader. At heart, I think that's the best way to describe it. I want the story and I want it all and I want it there and then.

And when it is written with such wild imagination and vivid skill as Torday's 'The Last Wild', the knowledge that this story is not ended and that there is more to come is both a wonderful and awful thing to deal with as a selfish reader.

This book is very good. It is wild storytelling (I keep using wild, and I do not know how else to phrase it, it is storytelling on the edge of things, on that blurry edge and it is good and thrilling and wild). The more that I think about it, the more I start to situate this book in a sort of British animal children's literary canon (and god, how I wish I could phrase that more cogently but I will let it stand). There are moments in this book that sing, so evocatively and so gracefully, moments that sing of Colin Dann and Richard Adams and of Ted Hughes. Moments that are rooted in land and wing, moments of kingmaking and of destiny, and of becoming who you were always meant to be.

I loved The Last Wild and I am full of hate and love for the fact that I have to wait for more.
Profile Image for Kim Cardoso.
17 reviews
October 22, 2014
My 10 year old avid reader needed a right level book without too much YA content. Our local bookstore recommended The Last Wild. Intrigued by the plot, I read it with her. We both then recommended it to my mother. I speak now for three generations of animal lovers who raced right through, enjoying every whimsical mouse dance and interspecies show of affection and chewing our cuticles every time the bad guys rolled in. We're now hoping that my daughter's newly formed 5th grade girls book club will want to read about the Wild. This good book leaves us with questions and reflections to be shared with friends.
Profile Image for Hanneke de Haan.
17 reviews2 followers
March 8, 2020
It was a very cosy book and I'm excited to read the following two! An intriguing adventure, surely for younger ages but I still enjoyed it. Will be a great contrast to books I will read following!
Profile Image for MaggyGray.
553 reviews26 followers
July 6, 2017
Für ein Kinder-/Jugendbuch eine sehr schöne Geschichte mit ein paar Längen und Ungereimtheiten, aber trotzdem kurzweilig.
Der Cliffhanger am Ende hat mich jetzt nicht so unruhig zurückgelassen, dass ich auch noch den zweiten und den dritten Teil unbedingt lesen muss. Vielleicht irgendwann einmal.
Profile Image for Anna.
167 reviews26 followers
March 30, 2015
I'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.

I 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 distopia 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.
Profile Image for Tamara York.
1,022 reviews16 followers
August 24, 2019
This book was oddly dark and depressing for middle grade. Think Lord of the Flies meets Station Eleven. The setting is a post-apocalyptic world where most of the animals have died of a disease. All crops are destroyed and the surviving human population live in fenced communities eating only formula (I pictured the pink goo used in making chicken nuggets...gross). So overall, a cheerful, feel good story. I believe a certain amount of beautiful writing, imaginary, and nuance is needed when writing about subjects as weighty as this for children. This book didn’t have any of those things. There were some humorous animal characters. But overall, I did not enjoy this book.
Profile Image for Cheryl.
5,063 reviews183 followers
May 9, 2014
I thought the premise of this book sounded good and it was alright. The first part was boring. This is not a good thing as the first part was 50 pages long. If I was not so close to the second part and willing to give this book a little more of a chance. The second part is where the story did pick up in the speed. This is because than Kester had escaped his prison and was with the animals. I liked the talking animals. However not too fond of the cockroach. Not because it was annoying or anything but because I don't like cockroaches.

It is kind of funny as I liked the descriptive details that the author gave as it helped to build the world that Kester was in with the animals. However on the same note, it was all the details that I did find boggled the story down as well. It kept it from moving as flowy. I think that my nephews will find the same issue about the details as well. Children at times do not have a long attention span so to give so much detail can drag the story out. Which actually without a little less detail, this book would have ended sooner and it would have still been ok. I liked the animals more. The animals were more interesting then Kester.
Profile Image for Lisa.
168 reviews3 followers
June 30, 2014
Kester lives in a world where global warming has flooded the world except for small areas of land where the population now lives. Food is no longer grown, animals no longer exist due to a disease and he has lived in an institution for the past 6 years after being taken from his family home.

Kester stopped talking 6 years ago when his mother died and now lives a lonely existence until one day a cockroach talks to him; then pigeons break him out of the institution and take him on a journey to meet all the remaining animals in world; The Wild. Kester may not be able to talk to humans but he can speak to animals and he takes on their cause to find a cure for the disease killing them.

This book is fantastical but it really relies on the reader to suspend belief a bit too much. It is slow and a little preachy; with Kester having to talk out every thought prior to making a decision.
Profile Image for Hollie.
47 reviews
March 13, 2018
Original post of my review can be found here: foxtrevert.wordpress.com/2018/03/13/t...

Now, this is my type of book! If any of you follow me on Twitter or read some of my ramblings, you will know that I am deeply concerned with the environment and animal welfare. I recently started reducing my plastic usage, and I went vegetarian! After these changes, I needed a book that showed me that other people were also concerned with the issues I am concerned with. I feel that far too many people are concerned with themselves, money, and consumerism. That’s when I stumbled across The Last Wild by Piers Torday.

I was immediately drawn to the description of the book on Goodreads and knew that this had to be my next read! In fact, I am actually using this book in several conference applications I am writing as it is just a perfect modern day example of good environmental and animal literature.

Let’s get into it then, shall we?

The Story

Animals no longer exist. They have been wiped out by a virus that turns their eyes a violent red colour and causes untold suffering to the sick. The world has changed. There are no crops, no farms, and quarantine zones are commonplace. Kester Jaynes knows little of the world outside. The twelve-year old has been locked within the confines of a home for troubled children. Others think he is crazy because he does not talk and when Kester starts hearing cockroaches and pigeons talking to him, he thinks he has gone crazy too. The animals need him. To Kester’s surprise, some of the animals have survived. They live in a small group in what is left of the forest – they are the last wild. Together with a noble stag, a dancing mouse, a wolf cub that has trouble trusting humans, and another human child named Polly, Kester must help find a way to save the animals before it is too late. Kester and Polly fight against all odds, including their own species, to help the animals that cannot help themselves.

The Review

This book has such an amazing premise. In many books featuring animals and children, the animal often is trapped or hurt and the child saves it and rehabilitates it but this book is so much more. Our main protagonist, Kester, can only talk through his mind and only to the animals. Not only do we have vulnerable animals who are voiceless but we have a protagonist who is equally as vulnerable and voiceless. Somehow they combine to give voices to one another.

One thing I was extremely impressed by was Torday’s choice of animal characters. You know how in most animal literature the animals are cute and fuzzy and are desirable as pets? Well in this novel, you get that too but you also are taught to support and fight for those we would consider ‘vermin’ or ‘varmints’ as Torday calls them. Stand up for the cockroach with his military precision and stand up for the pigeons, who sometimes get a little turned around in their own minds. Your favourite character may be the little dancing mouse with a dance for everything or the over-enthusiastic wolf cub who has something to prove, but what Torday does is give his readers a choice; a choice to love and fight for those who are often overlooked. This, to me, was utterly brilliant.

The book, although set in a dystopian landscape, must not be simply overlooked as a dystopian, out to shock and upset (such as The Hunger Games, etc). It is highly unlikely that one day our civilisations will turn into districts who pit their children against each other in a fight to the death. However, it is highly likely that our animals will one day become extinct, our lands turned to waste, and that our food will be nothing but re-hydrated flavours. With all our medical testing and experimentation on animals, who is to say that a virus could not suddenly spread and wipe them all out? Did you watch Blue Planet II lately? Well then, you are well aware of humankind’s impact upon our oceans. The book has an extremely poignant message that is not to be missed. Do not disregard this as a YA, shock-value book. Look past all of that to see the truth, stuff that truly exists; corrupt corporations, injustice to animals, and the everlasting effects of our footprint upon the grounds of our environment. I have not seen a book like this. Ever. It had an impact on me and simply made me want to fight harder for a career, researching this type of literature and its impact upon environmental awareness and animal welfare. Applause for this novel.

Other mentions: 1. The setting is fantastic. The way Torday paints a picture of the quarantine zones, his characters, the wild, etc, you can really picture it all in your head and feel as though you are running along with Kester and his band of animals.

2. There is no lack of dialogue. Although you may feel having a mute character would eliminate all chances of dialogue, this is not true. You’ll see why and you’ll enjoy it.

3. This book is not a once off! It is a trilogy and I would urge you to buy them all together because they are very difficult to put down! I know the other two books discuss more about ocean pollution, and other such issues, which I cannot wait to read about and see what Torday has to see!

In all, this is an incredibly educational and thrilling book. Not only does it have the power to have an impact upon our’s and our children’s minds but it also is an enthralling read. It should be a staple in the classroom and on your bookshelves!

I gave this book 5 stars and I know I will be buying the book for my special bookshelf. I cannot wait to get stuck into the other two now!
Profile Image for Furrawn.
559 reviews45 followers
February 3, 2023
Excellent book. I read a review on a bookstore webpage in England by a teacher who said they read this amazing book after a student was glued to it every free second at school.
Of course, I ordered the book right then.

The book is as wonderful as I expected.

A virus pandemic. Capitalism coupled with unbridled greed (I don’t think capitalism is innately bad. It becomes evil when people worship money and power and greed and control and use capitalism as the means to have those things). Loss of community. Humans choosing to be rotten. A world destroyed. Then hope. Life.

I’d have loved this book by the 4th grade, but it’s a book for all ages.
Profile Image for Tetiana ☾.
114 reviews45 followers
July 13, 2021
“First the animals we eat went, and then the bees went, and then the crops and fruit went. Vegetables were contaminated. So there were rations, the remaining supplies of fresh food stockpiled in giant deep freezes. Then all that went too. We lived out of tins. Oily, meaty, fishy or veggie mush out of tins. The tins began to run out too. People started eating anything.”

The Last Wild is a middle-grade dystopian novel. It might be a little bit too sad and gloomy for children but I really liked it. It is set in a world where a virus is spreading. But it only affects animals. It is a story of a young boy Kester who realises one day that he can speak to animals and he decides to help them.

“How could I be so wrong? The stag was right---we can't trust any other humans. How can you ever trust someone who wants to eat you?”

4 stars

Profile Image for Colin.
1,345 reviews33 followers
June 17, 2021
This is like a sort of futuristic dystopian version Jungle Book. He obviously had a lot of fun writing the animal characters in a comical style redolent of disney movies. The white pigeon is definitely the best character. It's a good story anyway. I enjoyed listening to it on my journey home from the bike holiday: Zorba the Greek on the way out, this on the way back, both good choices, both suitable for one-ear listening while the birds and insects chitter away in the other.
Profile Image for Beth (bibliobeth).
1,905 reviews52 followers
October 11, 2015
I knew I was going to enjoy The Last Wild when I read the synopsis (hey, it's talking animals, always a plus point for me!) but I had no idea exactly how much I was going to love it. Our main character is a young boy called Kester, a modern day Dr Doolittle who finds he has a rather unusual gift for talking to animals after a rather strange meeting with a rather bold little cockroach. The world that Kester inhabits is in terrible peril where an unusual disease has wiped out almost all the animals on Earth and the humans are reduced to eating a bland food-stuff known as "formula," to survive.

Kester is the first human the animals have been able to communicate with and they desperately need his help. After escaping from a home for "troubled children," Kester manages to gain the confidence and trust from the last few animals that he can help them from becoming wiped out forever. Kester joins forces with Polly, a young girl whose parents have disappeared and even though he can't communicate properly with her he has no such issues with a gentle stag, a boisterous wolf cub and the previously mentioned military cockroach, known as General of course (sir!). Kester has no idea however on how intense and dangerous his mission to save the last wild will become. There are villains aplenty, eager to thwart Kester at every turn, but also new friends to meet and protect, a cure to figure out and a world to change.

This is a fantastic and imaginative debut novel that I'm certain is destined to become a classic in the world of children's literature. I love the animal characters and the bond that develops between them and Kester as the story develops and the adventure and excitement of the plot is non stop and intensely readable. I also enjoyed the message that the author was trying to get across which was combined with such a wonderful sense of humour and fun that it was always a treat to be reading it. Piers Torday has created a lovely little mystery within the plot and I can't wait to see how it develops over the series and affects Kester as a character. I must also mention the illustrations in this novel by Thomas Flintham, especially the map at the beginning which let the reader picture the surroundings with perfect clarity. Finally, I have to mention the villains of the piece, who I absolutely loved to hate and who may go down in literature history as being some of the creepiest and creative individuals that just came alive and jumped off the page for me. A brilliant start to a beautiful and thought-provoking new series for children that will easily appeal to adults too, I can't wait to see what the future holds for Kester and his Last Wild.

For my full review please see my blog at http://www.bibliobeth.com
Profile Image for Hilary.
254 reviews5 followers
January 15, 2015
After Kester’s mom died his dad had him sent away to a school for trouble children without a word of explanation. The world is in shambles after a virus began to spread killing all of the animals, except cockroaches. Six years later, Kester is unable to speak and is still wondering what happened to his wonderful family. Then a cockroach approaches him, and begins speaking to him. Amazingly enough Kester finds that he can communicate with him. He tells him that he must break Kester out to complete an important mission. Kester never imagined that he would be going to see the last surviving pack of animals, led by a majestic stag, and he definitely never imagined that he would be the only one that could save the animals, and help the world return to normalcy.

Let me just start by saying that I wanted this book to be better. I almost gave up because I just couldn’t get into it. However, in reading it for work, I kept on going. I am so glad I did, because the last 25% of the book was amazing. I just wish that the first 75% would have been just as engaging. Kester is a strange character, and I never really got to like him. I felt like he wasn’t very strong in any aspect. I like the animals so much more, and I am not really into talking animals in books. I couldn’t find a single character that I wanted to stand behind, except for one sick cat and a wolf. The story was imaginative, but for most of it I thought the execution could have been better. Really, there isn’t much bad I can say about it, except for the fact that it dragged. I just wanted it to be better, and it wasn’t. However, the end was great, and now I’m actually contemplating reading the second one.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
367 reviews2 followers
August 3, 2016
Told in 6 parts, this tale looks at Kester Jaynes, a troubled boy that is locked up in a home. In his world, animals do not exist. When a cockroach starts talking to him and he is able to communicate back, he thinks he has truly lost his mind. Regardless, he listens to the small group of animals that surround him. With his small group, Kester is set off on a journey to save the animals. Along the way he makes some new friends and learns a lot.

My thoughts:
Honestly I was hoping for so much more in this book than what I received. Torday has a very simple writing style which fits very well for a middle grade book. There is nothing that will pull the reader out of the story, and very little British slang. It was a perfectly good story. It just didn't really pull me in like others have. The idea and premise are brilliant. I love that are damaged hero is being fixed with the love and care of animals, especially since I'm a huge fan of animal therapy. He's a sweet child that definitely becomes something more than he started out as. There just wasn't that extra bit of magic that made me really want to share this book. I guess it just wasn't imaginative enough for me. Some of the descriptions I felt were flat and the pacing was even enough that I didn't feel excitement at any particular area. There is a bit of a cliffhanger, but things are wrapped up quite easily. The conflict while enormous in theory is not shown with the same enormity within the book. It just wasn't outstanding. It's just good.
290 reviews2 followers
April 17, 2018
This is the first book in a trilogy. It's aimed primarily at young adults. Both my daughter and I read it. The story so far doesn't merit a trilogy. There is a lot of filler. We get the dystopian world in which it is set. We get it that the hero is mute but can communicate with animals. We get it that a shady corporation has taken control of the food supply after the outbreak of a disease among animals. We get that his dad is involved somehow and may be the animals last chance of a cure. Now get on with the story.

There is a lot of inconsistencies in the whole premise of the story. All the animals can be understood by the boy; cockroach, pigeon, wolf, deer, etc. yet they all seem to have the same 'voice' and the same depth of understanding. Most seem to speak like Native American chiefs, very worthy, but is a cockroach really on the same mental plane as a stag? If he's foretold to be The One why the delay in rescuing him! What have they been doing?

The baddie who has distinguished himself by being totally indestructible is just too comic book. I was reminded of the crazy baddie in that other kid's trilogy 'Chaos Walking' by Patrick Ness. Characters beyond belief. It takes from the story to know that no matter what happens to the baddie he'll be back stronger and meaner than ever. It goes form being a plausible other world to just being a nightmarish invention.

My daughter 'sorta' liked it (because she adores animals) but isn't looking to get the follow-up. That says it all for me.
Profile Image for Ahmed Gharib.
55 reviews8 followers
May 10, 2018
It's funny how this book was a totally random pick - it was not even that; I was not even the one to actually buy it. I read it with no previous idea about the plot or the author (because it's his debut) so I had no idea what to expect.
That being said, even my last wild guess (pun intended) could get no where near deducing that it's a children's book telling a tale of a post-apocalyptic world from a fairly original perspective - and it had to be that certain perspective, to r reach a balance between the cheerfulness and the upbeat tone that needs to exist in a book for children and the grimness of the setting.
So, this is a children's book. If you are expecting a deep read that will scar your soul, this is definitely not for you.
However, if what you are looking for is a fun, entertaining, gripping story told from a perspective of reluctant boy wonder that is full of moments that will leave you smiling warmly with a good cliffhanger; a story where the characters are mostly animals, with the exception of the two main protagonists and the main antagonist, then this is definitely a worthy read for you.
The only frustrating thing is the fact that I don't know where to find the rest of the trilogy now... so your help would be really appreciated.
Profile Image for safantastic.
13 reviews
August 19, 2021
The Last Wild is about a boy called Kester who can’t talk to humans, but can talk to animals! Kester lives in a place called Spectrum Hall Academy for challenging Children which you can never, ever leave. In the world around Kester is the red-eye disease which has killed nearly all of the animals. The book starts when a flock of pigeons asks Kester to follow them. His goal is to find a cure for the red-eye disease and save all animals.

What I like about this book is that the author has swapped lots of things around to make it interesting e.g. Kester cannot talk to humans but can talk to animals, there is a disease which is not killing humans, but are killing animals.

My favourite character is Polly because she is very brave, caring of animals and protective/cautious of everything. I think the book was amazing but the author could’ve made it clearer about who was speaking. The Last Wild is the first book of a trilogy. I recommend this book for children aged 9 and 10 who like adventurous stories.
Profile Image for Kaitlin.
42 reviews2 followers
May 7, 2019
I promise I won’t spoil much in this review!

When I first got the book I put it on the shelf thinking I’ll never read it and it’s been sitting there for ages but I’m glad I picked my up.

The book is about a boy who turns out he can talk to animals but he can’t talk to other humans! I really like the idea of being able to talk to animal and the adventure they go on is so exiting.😆

The author, Piers Torday, builds suspense so much I just read chapter after chapter(that’s why I read it so fast) because I just want to know WHAT HAPPENS NEXT???????!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s also a sad book 😭 when you find out all the animals are dead and you live off prawn cocktail flavoured formula for food, your like WHAT IS THE POINT IN LIVING? I’m glad the book isn’t real life!

I really want to read the next book and I recommend it to everyone!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Kari Hilmanowski.
85 reviews2 followers
April 24, 2017
I was torn between a 3.5 and 4 star, so I just bumped it up. This was a super creative story, that was full of action, adventure, and suspense. I don't want to say more than what is already in the description, as the plot is pretty simple- a boy can mentally speak with animals and embarks on a journey to save the last living animals from a virus that is killing them all. Telling you any more would probably ruin the book for you. I really loved the aspect of the boy being able to connect with animals on a deeper level, along with the whimsical funny parts. I was actually laughing in many parts. I already have the second book to continue on..
Profile Image for Michaela.
1,342 reviews66 followers
March 14, 2021
Už som čítala toľko kníh s 12-ročnými hrdinami, že stačí na dlhšiu dobu. :) A tento má rozum a aj poznaním akoby zamrzol pred 5-6 rokmi, kedy ho odtrhli od rodiny. Ale mladšie dcéry knižku čítať chcú, hneď ako dočítajú Harry Pottera, pretože ich zaujala anotácia. A mne vadí jedine, že neboli preložené ďalšie časti. Ale aby som bola spravodlivá, JE to napínavé. Chlapec ide z nebezpečenstva do nebezpečenstva a nie je isté, kto prežije vo svete, kde vyhynuli takmer všetky zvieratá na nebezpečnú chorobu....
7 reviews1 follower
December 8, 2016
Kester James lives in a tall tower in the middle of nowhere in what's called the "quarantine zone". He lives in a world ravaged with a terrible disease called red eye that has killed almost all the animals on earth. The entire human race now lives in four cities controlled by one big corporation. Then one day pigeons break into his room and asks him for help. What will he do? Figure out in The Last Wild . I recommend this book to anyone who likes fiction or apocalyptic books.
Profile Image for Lauren B.
27 reviews6 followers
August 9, 2017
Simply stunning!

I've not so secretly always wished that I could talk to animals so I've been enviously enthralled with Kester's journey!
The animal characters are wonderful and I've never wanted a stag, a wolf cub, a cockroach and a flock of pigeons to succeed at anything more in my life! I think it takes a clever author to create such reader empathy for such unusual characters.
I can't wait to read The Dark Wild and it's a book I will definitely be recommending to children at school.
Profile Image for Dom Conlon.
Author 18 books17 followers
November 22, 2017
Thrilling, majestic and perfectly human, The Last Wild is a sure-footed novel which never fails to carry the reader through an adventure unlike any other. Piers Torday has a light touch in terms of sci-fi and the story is all the better, all the stronger for it. His skill means that the characters (human and animal) lead the way in this fully engaging examination of adversity and cruelty. Highly recommended.
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