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3.50  ·  Rating details ·  775 ratings  ·  63 reviews
Two years after the Last Days, Australia has become a dangerous place, and a battle-ground for survival.Ben, who has a telepathic ability to control animals, leads a hazardous existence in the bush west of the Blue Mountains. Hopeful of a less brutal life, he escapes to Sydney - only to be further disillusioned. Then, at the heart of the city he comes upon Taronga Zoo, whi ...more
Paperback, 197 pages
Published 1988 by Puffin (first published 1986)
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BoB As uninteresting as it is, that is an opinion you can definitely have and maintain. However, it's not an opinion worth asking about.…moreAs uninteresting as it is, that is an opinion you can definitely have and maintain. However, it's not an opinion worth asking about.(less)

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Average rating 3.50  · 
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 ·  775 ratings  ·  63 reviews

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An Aroused Koala
Mar 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book is the most hideious thing ever to enter the world of literature (with the possible exception of Twilight). I had to read it for school and spent every English lesson caught between a state that was somewhere between homicidal and sucidal.
The characterisation was weak (they all blurred together to create a giant 2D personality fail as far as I could see) and there was no explanation for any of the context. And just when you think it has to get better with the introduction of new charac
Feb 04, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: young-adult
Blah. Had to read this for school last year (2009)... I don't even want to talk about how bad I thought it was! ...more
YA science fiction. Fourteen-year-old Ben lives rough in the bush outside Sydney, surviving in the wreckage of an Australia that fell apart after global catastrophe. Ben has the strange ability to soothe and control animals, and this makes him valuable to the older and crueler boy who hunts the animals Ben Calls. But to Ben, every Call he makes is a betrayal. Trying to escape his own nature, Ben runs away to Sydney - but the city is a worse nightmare, and Ben quickly finds himself betraying agai ...more
Albert Hurchens
Aug 16, 2014 rated it did not like it
IF YOU ARE READING THIS BOOK, BURN IT NOW AND SAVE YOURSELF THE TROUBLE!!! I am serious. I had to read this book for a school assignment and I found that it spent wayy too much time on stuff you did not want to hear about (e.g. how stripy tigers are and basically just describing things WAY TOO MANY TIMES) and not actually saying much about what you did want to hear about (e.g. what actually happened in the 'last days'??). In general, this book over-dramatized just about everything without even a ...more
Aug 11, 2012 rated it did not like it
Mar 13, 2014 rated it did not like it
Worst book known to man and woman kind I advise to put this book down and run or light a match to it. You think it's going to get better but it DOESN'T! No personality no likeability ABSOLUTELY NOTHING GOOD TO BE GAINED FROM READING IT. It's kind deserves to be destroyed and extinguished! Get it out of my sight right now!!!
Mar 05, 2009 rated it it was ok
I didn't really like this. I found the dark, brooding tone a bit pretentious and felt frustrated by the way the vague armageddon-like disaster that was supposed to have happened to the world was never really explained. The constant, non-stop action got a bit wearing, it was like a blockbuster thriller without any humour or moments of respite to release the tension. I'm guessing this is because the author assumes that the teen boys he's aiming this at will get bored if the action stops for even a ...more
Feb 28, 2009 rated it liked it
imaginings of apocalyptic sydney that i read as a kid. probably explains why i get a slighty uneasy feeling anytime i've gone to taronga since then. also nice use of the real life blue mountains big cat myth in the book. ...more
Mar 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The end of the world as we know it is one of the greatest fears we have. Having everything we know and love taken away is a powerful fear and one that is far too real and horrific for young Ben. Victor Kelleher has constructed a terrifying glimpse into an Australia without laws and government; a world where children must fight for their survival. Taronga (1986) is a very confronting and thought provoking view of Australia after the post-apocalyptic, ‘Last Days’.

Taronga is the story of a young bo
Mar 18, 2015 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one ever
Recommended to Swaglord by: Dumbass school
Omg don't even get me started on this shit. I mean this book would have never had the honours of having its pages turned by my magical fingers if we didn't have to read this shit for school. Not only did I have to force myself through reading this boring book, I had to do an assessment task on it as well.
Don't read this shit. Don't even let the thought cross your mind. If you ever see this book burn it.
It makes a great firestarter
Kirsten Leigh
May 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
yeah, i read it for school..hated fun. way to serious, and half the time i was so confused at what was hapening. Not knowing how sydney eneded and how the 'last days' formed really irritated me. i needed a backround. really dialiked the book. and i could say more, but i don't wanna cause hate, or offend the writer. i guess it just wasen't my type of book. ...more
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
When this book was published, it was really the first of its kind. Post-apocalyptic young adult fiction, quasi-fictional? I loved it then and is one of my favourite novels; every now and then I revisit it...20 years later. I've read so many great books in my life but this is a great (pretty quick) read...nice after toiling away on a PhD and parenthood! ...more
Camille White
Jan 17, 2012 rated it did not like it
I didnt much care for this one either
Jun 20, 2012 rated it did not like it
I hated the book because I could barely understand it but maybe I was too young when I read it for school.
Aug 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Overall, despite all the negative reviews from school kids, the book was fine. The apparent and brooding atmosphere throughout the book did feel a bit superficial, and the symbolism for all the characters and setting was a tad overwhelming.
I'm pretty sure the book, similar to Animal Farm, is an allegory for something, although I could never quite understand what it was. Taronga also delves into how the powerless can fight against the powerful, but all it came down to was running away or pitting
Melissa Riley
Feb 25, 2020 rated it liked it
I read this (or at least my teacher did!) When I was in grade 6 and I had fond memories of it. After re-reading as an adult, it was not what I was expecting. I didn't remember the slight magical realism aspect of "The call".

It's a post apocalyptic world where Ben is traveling around trying to get to his old home before The Last Days. He is captured and put to work in the old Taronga Zoo, caring for the Tigers. There is some cruelty to animals and it can be a little violent so if you're sensitiv
Mark Gee
Apr 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this read. I'm a little interested in Australian dystopian fiction. I especially liked how this narrative is connected to the landscape and reflects values of Australia's a First peoples. I'd be interested to read about how this novel works as an allegory for Australia's history / future. ...more
Oct 29, 2019 rated it did not like it
Very boring book.
Dec 29, 2012 rated it liked it
25/1 - Another school book, from year 8 English (I think).  I enjoyed Taronga as a 14-year-old because it was different - it was my first dystopian novel and it featured adult themes (I don't mean sex, I'd already started reading romance by that time) which was really exciting for a reader just starting to branch out from Enid Blyton.  Before starting this I only had a few vague memories of it being set at Taronga Park Zoo and that, for some reason or other, the world had come to an end.  That's ...more
Jun 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
This isn’t so much a review of the book, but rather the memory; the recollection of a book once read. It may be badly written, as other reviewers write, but it is one book that has never left my head in the 18 or so years since I picked it up as a boy.

I grew up in Sydney; my world then was the city, the Bridge, the harbour coastline dipping in and out of mangrove tidal bays up to Parramatta – before most of the west of Rhodes was cleaned up and turned into residential land. It was a world where
Jun 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Taronga is about a boy called Ben who lives in future dystopian Australia, Sydney. He has telepathic abilities which allows him to communicate with animals, an ability which he feels he is abusing because he feels like he is using an discarding the animals. He finds himself running away from the abusive life he has in the bush to the city of Sydney where he lands himself into Taronga Zoo.

I really enjoyed this story, partly because we read it in school and it brought back memories, but all in al
'Taronga' is a fast-paced, revelling story in the (I assume) future setting of Taronga Zoo, Sydney, Australia.

The story was quite short so this review will probably be quite short. The story was fast-paced action in a dystopian world where Last Days had just occurred and Ben accidentally ends up being part of the Taronga crew. Ben can Call to the animals and with the help of his friend Ellie, tries to rally against Molly and the others.

Victor Kelleher writes in a way that is easy to understand a
Nov 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Read this for the first time since teaching it in the early 1990s. I know why I havent taught it since. It is disturbing in the same way Hunger Games and Gone are disturbing and has the same amount of death in it but not as much action/suspense. The main character has a moral code but the rest of humanity has lost it. Lots of good discussion points about freedom etc but not a happy read.
Heather Browning
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Possibly even more interesting reading this now as a zookeeper than as an animal-loving teen, though I am now more sceptical about the safety of anyone in an environment with so many free-range animals - even most herbivores can be really dangerous if you're not careful! An original and unique post-apocalyptic story that doesn't feel at all dated. ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
The apocalypse has happened and Ben has survived. He has a gift; he can whisper to animals. Somehow, he makes his way to Taronga Zoo where he discovers a world gone mad, but where he can use his gift to survive and thrive. For all fans of Hunger Games.
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: on-the-shelf
It's really sad to see so many people giving Taronga bad review just because they read it for school. This is a great book, it deserves better.
This is the second time I've read it and I loved it just as much now as when I was 14.
Feb 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Ruby by: Matthew Pearce
As I remember, it was way too political for me and a bit disappointing for a Victor Kelleher.
Jul 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Read this in school and enjoyed it.
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
the ending didn't have the depth I would have liked, which could have been seen in the beginning of the book ...more
Benjamin Sellick
Dec 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
post apocalyptic fun we had to read at some point in school. Australia's 'I Am Legend', i guess. ...more
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Victor Kelleher is an Australian author. Victor was born in London and moved to Africa with his parents, at the age of fifteen. He spent the next twenty years travelling and studying in Africa, before moving to New Zealand. Kelleher received a teaching degree in Africa and has taught in Africa, New Zealand and Australia. While in New Zealand, he began writing part time, prompted by homesickness fo ...more

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