Monday, July 19, 2010

In the Middle Monday/ Review of The Last Words of Will Wolfkin by Steven Knight

Monday, July 19, 2010
 Welcome to In the Middle Monday where I review middle level books geared towards grades fifth through eighth.

It's funny. If you're born a certain way, you don't really understand how it is to be any other way.

So it has been for Toby Walsgrove--paralyzed since birth, unable to move or talk, with no known family, he has spent his entire life at a Carmelite convent in London. That is, until the day that his cat, Shipley, starts talking to him. Shipley has been watching over Toby his whole life and tells him they must go to Langjoskull, a city of exiles buried deep below the surface of Iceland. Because Toby is no ordinary boy--he's a descendant of the great king Will Wolfkin, and his kingdom needs him.

Toby has never wielded a sword that can stop time. He has never shifted into his kin creature. He has never even walked on his own two legs before. Ready or not, though, he has a destiny, a responsibility, even a family--and not all of them are happy to meet him. . . .
(Publisher's Summary from Powell's Books)

I purchased The Last Words of Will Wolfkin because the cover attacked my attention and I am always on the look out for middle aged reading material to introduce to my students. Fantasy is always a good pick with this age group but I was disappointed with this book. While I did find Knight’s world under the ice novel, I also felt that there were too many inconsistencies in the setting to keep me completely grounded. I like both Toby and Emma as characters as well as a few of the secondary characters, but I also never felt like any of the characters were completely credible. It also seemed like Knight tried to throw in too many magically elements, which were not always completely explained, and would confuse the audience it was written for. The last part of the book definitely was a disappointment except for the final battle, and the very end left me very dissatisfied.  While I had hoped for a good fantasy to recommend to my students, I did not find it.


Emidy said...

Aw, sorry to hear that this book wasn't good! I'm not a huge fantasy reader, but I can still understand some of the things you said. Authors can get carried away with the whole "I can invent anything I want" idea and ruin their book. Excellent review, though!

Sue Jackson said...

How disappointing! I read the summary of the book and thought, "my son would love this!" I appreciate your honest review.

If you're interested in trying another under the ice story, we're really enjoying Rebecca Stead's First Light, set in Greenland, both above and below the ice. We're listening to it on audio and should finish it this weekend when we drive the boys' to their grandparents house (for a week!). I'll try to post a review next week.


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