Friday, September 7, 2018

Endling: The Last - Katherine Applegate

Summary: Bix, the youngest member and only survivor of her pack of mythical doglike creatures, dairnes, sets out to find safe haven and, perhaps, more of her kind, aided by allies, both animal and human. (summary and picture from

My Review: I spotted this on a list of new books this year, and it already had two things going for it--a fantasy with a humanoid dog, and written by Katherine Applegate, who wrote such a beautiful story about animals in The One and Only Ivan.

Unlike other Applegate stories I've read which were in a contemporary setting, this one is full fantasy, which was a lot of fun.  The way she crafted her world, with its governing species, fauna and flora, as well as the political standings and turmoil, were well built, and it felt like a real place (can I just say, I love when you open a book and there's a map in the endpapers).    

I love our protagonist, a dairne (humanoid dog creature) named Byx who is troubled and stubborn, and goes on a quest to discover just who she is as possibly the last of her species, a daunting thought.  

The twists and turns we're taken on are fun while also being stressful (in a good, exciting way), and the interactions between the different characters who are brought together are genuine and relatable--these were good, fleshed out characters, a mix of humans and other fantasy creatures (Tobble, a small creature called a wobbyk, was a particular treasure of a character with a big heart).  

I sense that this is going to be a series, but I felt this book ended on a really good note that it could also very well be read as a standalone.  Though if it does become a series, I will definitely want to read them to know what will happen in this fascinating, new world.

My rating: 4 stars

For the sensitive reader: this world does not shy away from death and bloodshed, though it is tactfully done.  Characters are in constant peril, which could frighten younger readers.

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