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The Last Wild

(The Last Wild #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  2,278 ratings  ·  336 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 18th 2014 by Viking Books for Young Readers (first published March 28th 2013)
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3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,278 ratings  ·  336 reviews

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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
Abi Elphinstone
Dec 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review originally appeared on my blog,


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 th
Kim Cardoso
Oct 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 wil ...more
Tamara York
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Mar 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rea
L.H. Johnson
May 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 b
Jun 23, 2014 rated it liked it
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
May 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Original post of my review can be found here:

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 conce
Ahmed Gharib
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 bet
Kaitlin Stiven
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dom Conlon
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book has been my favourite book to ever read! It is a gripping tale, so cleverly done as you love the characters and when there are plot twists you just can't stop reading! Would recommend to any one as is not just a children's book. 💙
My favourite character is the stag as he's not only my favourite animal but a wise and kind kinda guy. A must read!
Becca Phillips
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a tremendously clever book. Unusual, unique, creative, compelling.
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 ani ...more
Beth (bibliobeth)
Sep 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 animal ...more
Sep 14, 2013 added it
Torday, P. (2013). The last wild. New York: Penguin Group/Viking. 322 pp. ISBN: 978-0-670-01554-2. (Hardcover); $16.99.

Debut novels are, perhaps, the most fun to review. Readers do not know the author and have no prior background knowledge of characters, writing style, etc. This debut novel is especially fun to share. Come on! A talking cockroach with a deep bass voice! How could any reader not adore that? And Kester James—I love the name of the main character! Did I mention that the Cockroach i
Salma Belaila
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As a young reader, this book was really hard to put down.:)
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 complet ...more
Jim Marsh
Mar 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Disclaimer: I am a 33 year old married man. I am also an ecclesiastical leader, so I try to read material that I think would be appropriate for the young men and women in our youth group.

I was given a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Last Wild is a fanciful tale set in a dystopian world where almost all animal life has been wiped out by a mysterious virus.
The world is populated by a colorful cast of characters, both human and animal.

The main character spends almost all of the book m
Larissa Disney
It was slow at sometimes. I still liked it enough to finish it. Towards the ending it really was kinda heartbreaking. Not sure if I liked it enough to pick up the sequel though.
Jun 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 05, 2015 rated it liked it
This book is definitely out of the ordinary, but in the best way possible. It's set in way far into the future where a few things happen. These things, of course, guides the plot through some crazy turns. The main character of the story is not easy to relate to, which is quite disappointing. The ending of this book may or may not bring tears to your eyes. To be honest, it brought tears to mine. All in all, this is a great book if you just want to read something. It's not fantastic, but it's not ...more
Ches W
Nov 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
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.
Steve Griffin
Feb 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Gripping, harrowing, comical, exciting... and with a very strong message about how much damage we do intentionally and unintentionally if we don't remain vigilant about our connection to the natural world. This is a fantastic roller coaster of a book, with heroic children and animals, and the animal world's version of the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in the form of Captain Skuldiss.
Tatum Flynn
May 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kidlit
In a world where animals no longer exist, twelve-year-old Kester Jaynes is locked away in a home for troubled children, and 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 a bit mad...

Gripping, funny, pacy, original, poignant - a fantastic road trip adventure without a road in sight.
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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 ...more

Other books in the series

The Last Wild (3 books)
  • The Dark Wild
  • The Wild Beyond (The Last Wild, #3)
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“As if the virus itself is listening, the she-deer standing in front of him is racked by a huge cough, her skinny body spasming and shuddering before her legs give way and she collapses on to the ground. The other deer crowd round, nudging her back up again while the stag watches.” 0 likes
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