A- for "The Last Knight" by Hilari Bell
The Last Knight was a fun read that I breezed through on the train to Ottawa. It was a fast read, with two interesting protagonists that were well suited to each other (despite the fact that they are nearly opposite in many ways). Here is the synopsis from the Harper-Collins website.
Although there hasn't been a knight errant in over two hundred years, this young noble has decided to revive
the trade. He's found himself a reluctant partner in Fisk, a clever rogue who has been given the choice of
serving as Michael's squire or going to jail for a very long time. Now Michael and Fisk are on a quest to right
wrongs, protect the innocent, and make the world a happier place.
It's not going to be easy. On their first attempt at rescuing a damsel in distress, they break a lady out of a
tower, only to discover she was there for good reason: awaiting trial for poisoning her husband. Now the
would-be heroes must find Lady Ceciel and return her to justice or be condemned themselves.
Characters: 8.5/10 You couldn't find a better suited mismatch of characters in the opening novel of this series. Fisk and Michael's (mis)adventures remain interesting based almost solely on the fact that they are so different and they are plunged into such terrible circumstances.
Pacing: 9/10 The novel moves along at a brisk pace with lots of slippery situations that the characters need to get out of. Enjoyable from start to finish.
Plot: 8/10 Although parts of the plot are fairly predictable, I couldn't help but laugh at some of the things that happened. There is a bit more melodrama (but remains minimal, in this novel at least) than I'm used to, but this is a concern of mine with regards to most of the YA genre). I definitely laughed and there were indeed a few plot twists that I quite enjoyed.
Worldbuilding: 6/10 Although I'm not really sure that this is a fair grade for this portion of my rubric. I'm not certain that it should even be included in any of my reviews. However, I feel that having a sense of the world around the characters helps with regards to suspense and conflict, and keeps me hooked. The worldbuilding isn't the novel's greatest strength, but luckily the rest of the novel succeeds well enough that this isn't really an issue.
Style: 8/10 Simple enough that readers of a wide range of abilities should be able to read it, but intricate and witty enough that it got some good laughs out of me.
Total: 39.5 Definitely a solid YA novel, and I'm sure that the author will continue to deliver using the great mismatch of these two characters. The Last Knight is a solid read for kids and teens, and, as this is her target market, this book should be a resounding success with children of those age groups (although be aware, there are no vampires involved). I enjoyed this book, as it made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion.