Parents' Guide to

Endling #1: The Last

By Jan Carr, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Fast-paced animal fantasy tackles theme of extinction.

Endling #1: The Last Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 10+
age 11+

3.5 stars :: OK for those who like fantasy genre, but intense situations throughout

*SPOILER ALERT :: minor details to warn against stronger themes* My 12-year-old son and I read this together. This first volume of a 2-book series is a tale of tragedy, friendship, loyalty / deception, and courage. Take note that there are many intense situations that might be too heavy for some younger readers - e.g., the slaughter of the (non-human) main character's family; hearing that someone would be sentenced to a long, slow death; a young man getting tortured by being stretched over a campfire. That last one was told in way more detail than I felt necessary for the intended audience. I disagree with CSM's age recommendation of 8+. Eleven would be the youngest I would go, on a "know your kid" basis. We just love Katherine Applegate books, and while this series didn't quite hit the mark for me, my son loved it.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3):
Kids say (5):

This imaginative animal fantasy, with its detailed world, is action packed and keeps readers turning the page to find out if the narrator's the last of her species or if there’s still hope. Endling #1: The Last uses fantasy to present the threat of extinction, which frees up author Katherine Applegate to call out the guilty species. In this world, humans are treacherous and seldom to be trusted because of their "endless greed and ambition." Humans don’t "understand the balance in life. They do not understand that their will to dominate and control, to use and abuse, is destructive to all." This verdict is softened somewhat by the character of Khara, a human warrior who joins the band and fights to save Byx.

Not all fantasy authors write with a literary flourish, but Newbery winner Applegate treats readers to thoughtful, beautiful language that arrests attention without stopping the action. The sun's described as "flushed as a ripe peach." Khara peers through thick fog that "had crawled in from the sea, obscuring the world and softening the moon to a fuzzy orb, like the last days of a dandelion." Despite the blood and gore, or perhaps because of it, and because kids are asked to take the point of view of an animal, readers are prompted to think about the threat of extinction as it looms.

Book Details

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