Reading Level: Middle Grade
Size: 480 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Stand Alone or Series: 13th book in the Last Apprentice series
Rating: 4/5 stars
I have really enjoyed this series and was kind of sad to see that this is the final book in the series. While I did love a lot of things about this final book, I was also disappointed with how much this book doesn’t wrap up. It looks like Tom Ward’s story is going to be continued in a trilogy called the Starblade Chronicles (which I got just last week for review). So while this was a great read, don’t expect a lot of the story to actually be resolved.
Tom Ward finally has to face the thing he has been dreading, he has to defeat the Fiend by sacrificing Alice. Gregory is there to help, but he is feeling his age. Grimalkin thinks she may have found a way to defeat the Fiend without sacrificing Alice. When Grimalkin and Alice go off to work on that plan, a new Mage appears and he derails everyone’s plans.
This was an engaging and interesting story. The story is expanded quite a bit and some new characters are introduced. The main one is a Mage that is evil and mysterious. His appearance in the story starts the next storyline that will be dealt with in The Starblade Chronicles.
I enjoy Tom as a character, he has more and more powers appearing as he unlocks his heritage both as the son of a lamia and as a 7th son of a 7th son. He does get a bit whiny at points in this story though, something that was new for him and not at all fun to read.
My favorite character of the novel continues to be Grimalkin. She is super tough and really fights for what she believes in, she is just such an awesome character to read about and she is in the story quite a bit.
Alice isn’t in the story a lot and she was one of the biggest disappointments for me in this book. Her character takes a turn that I didn’t enjoy and I was disappointed in the direction things took with her and Tom. I won’t say a whole lot more of that because of spoilers.
This book is much darker than the rest of the series (more along the lines of I Am Alice, which was also darker). It is very violent and there is a lot of heartbreak and betrayal. I continue to really enjoy the epic struggle between light and dark that takes place in these books. This book really shows some shades of grey as well, since some dark characters are forced to band together with the good in order to fight an even greater evil.
Some people have complained about the simplicity of the writing style, I don’t think that has really changed. Delaney has always had a somewhat stark and simplistic writing style…at times the dialogue between characters has felt forced or stilted. I believe all the books in the series have been like this though and I enjoy it because it’s a style that makes for good classic storytelling, which is something Delaney excels at.
Although I still love the characters and the story, my biggest disappointment was the lack of resolution. Yes, the main plotline (the destruction of the Fiend) is wrapped up. However, so many new elements are thrown into the story that the Fiend’s destruction felt a bit anti-climatic. The reader is really pushed towards new things (mainly story elements that were revealed in the earlier book Slither) and isn’t given a whole lot of resolution for any of the characters.
Overall I really enjoyed this book a lot but there were a few disappointments too. I was really disappointed in the lack of resolution and in the direction Alice is taking as a character. I continue to enjoy Delaney’s excellent storytelling, the illustrations throughout, the interesting characters, and the epic struggle between light and dark. I will definitely be reading The Starblade Chronicles as it releases….you pretty much have to if you are going to get any closure for these characters.