I accepted a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review from the author.
This book was published February 1st so you can buy it now if you so desire!
Title: The Last Man
Author: Tobias Wade
Publisher: Incandescent Phoenix Books
Page #: 173
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Now Tobias Wade, the author, contacted me on tumblr (which means you know he’s cool) and asked if I would like a copy of his book to review. I read the description of it and found it delightfully quirky so I agreed to review it. I am glad I did.
Many of you know I have been complaining about reading too much fantasy lately because I have been finding it dull and repetitive. Why then was I able to enjoy this fantasy book? I think it is because it is telling a different story in a way. While it at its core is still the nobody becomes a somebody along the way story it is different in a couple key features.
The hero the book sets up at the beginning is kidnapped and his sister decides it is her job to save him. So it was not her destiny, it is something she chose. Always something I like. It isn’t someone doing just what they believe they were destined to do, but someone who is trying to do right because they want to.
Also, and I’m going to give Taylor credit for this because as I was talking about it he said, “Ah it takes the David Wong approach of making everything so weird you just except it.” I have to agree. The author said he enjoys creating surreal worlds and this definitely is that. It pulls elements from ancient mythology, eastern religions, classic fantasy, modern fantasy, young adult tropes, middle grade tropes. It wraps it all up into one bundle and ties it neatly there. I kept saying, now it is reminding me of this, now it is reminding me of that. I was completely okay with it because it wasn’t a rehashing of any one of those stories it somehow took all of those elements and blended it into something new that I really enjoyed.
I do have to say that a lot of the things it reminded me of were stories that I particularly charished as a child, even though I was not the biggest reader of fantasy, and still am not, this reminded me of the fantastic stories that I did hold dear when I was younger. Stories like Alice in Wonderland, anything by Jules Verne, Taylor said some parts reminded him of Terry Pratchett books and while I never read him I do know that what I have heard of them they sound like something I would enjoy. All in all I was delighted to see that there is some hope in the genre.
Now saying all that, this isn’t a perfect book. I had some problems with some of the characters, especially those who appear earlier in the book being a bit confusing or bland. The parents were standard archetype parents who said standard archetype parent things and then were promptly forgotten until their mention was needed again. We have the wise grandmother figure, who I did quite enjoy but honestly has appeared in so many stories before hand. Then of course the original hero who couldn’t seem to decide whether he was a kid or a sassy teenager, and while he is at an age where he would be transitioning between the two, I am not sure these two identities meshed quite enough for me.
I have seen some people complain about the romance aspect of this book and I agree it also not very strong. It is kind of … bland. A lot of showing and not telling and insta-love if you ask me, but it wasn’t something I paid much attention to if I’m honest. It wasn’t that big of a feature in it, and while I do wish it was a bit less of a feature, I can’t really fault it for being there when I have definitely read worse in young adult literature, at the very least it was not abusive or romanticizing the dangerous bad boy.
While I had my problems with it I was still able to really enjoy it in the end. I definitely think this is a good addition to the YA genre and I especially think this would be a good one to hand over to young boys who want something before they leave the cocoon of middle grade and are thrown into adult fantasy and science fiction as apparently is our custom. YA is pretty gendered and I think this is a great book that would appeal to both. It bridges the gap nicely and I definitely think more books like this should come out. I just wish it existed in physical form in order to entice them. However, I guess the tweens of the future would prefer tablets to paperbacks. Who knows? Not me.
In any case, there you guys go. There is my review. I liked a young adult book. I liked a young adult book despite the problems I had with it. I actually quite enjoyed it in fact. Weird. Unheard of almost. Next you will hear from me is with the weekly wrap up. I hope you guys enjoy.