If all the stories you were told as a child were actually true, how would you react? My guess is you’d probably be filled with quite a bit of disbelief but you would be quick to adapt to the new reality. The Last Man by Tobias Wade explores a world where the stories told for ages by a village elder prove to be truer than previously envisioned.
Farris and her brother Tom have grown up hearing the fantastic stories their grandmother tells them. On Tom’s 13th birthday, the day where he will give himself a name that only he will know, the village appears to be under attack from the earth itself. As their grandmother tells a story of what this earthquake meant and reiterates the power behind knowing the names of things, Tom becomes enraptured with what he believes to be the truth while Farris remains mostly skeptical. But when Tom is taken captive by clockwork creatures, Farris is willing to do whatever it takes to get her brother back. Traveling to the shells below the surface of the earth, Farris encounters various challenges in her endeavor to rescue Tom.
The premise of the story was quite interesting and the narrative has a decent pacing that picks up immensely once Farris begins her search for Tom. While there were some grammatical issues that could still be addressed, they were, at the very least, not disturbing enough for me to mentally rewrite as I read. Some of the characterization didn’t quite work for me, particularly in finding anything in the characters to immediately relate to-notably, Farris seems much younger than 16 in much of the book and her attitude and actions were rather annoying, despite her desire to do what’s right to rescue her brother. In the realm of fantasy and adventure, pretty much anything goes, and it’s nice to have an addition to the genre that isn’t simply a rote version of stories we’ve already read.
Overall, I’d give it a 4 out of 5 stars.