Cover image for The last wild
The last wild
Torday, Piers, 1974-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, New York : Viking, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA), 2014.
Physical Description:
322 pages : map ; 22 cm
Twelve-year-old Kester Jaynes, who has been locked away at a school for troubled children, is called upon to save the last animals living in a post-apocalyptic world where disease has killed most living things.
Reading Level:
820 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.6 11.0 166600.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 5.4 15 Quiz: 63520.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Science Fiction/Fantasy

On Order



In a world where animals no longer exist, twelve-year-old Kester Jaynes sometimes feels like he hardly exists either. Locked away in a home for troubled children, he's told there's something wrong with him. So when he meets a flock of talking pigeons and a bossy cockroach, Kester thinks he's finally gone crazy. But the animals have something to say. And they need him. The pigeons fly Kester to a wild place where the last creatures in the land have survived. A wise stag needs Kester's help, and together they must embark on a great journey, joined along the way by an overenthusiastic wolf cub, a military-trained cockroach, a mouse with a ritual for everything, and a stubborn girl named Polly. The animals saved Kester Jaynes. But can Kester save the animals?

Author Notes

Piers Torday was born in Northumberland, which is possibly the one part of England where more animals live than people. After working as a producer and writer in theatre, live comedy and TV, he now lives in London - where there are more animals that you might think. The Last Wild is followed by the sequel (and concluding volume) The Dark Wild . You can find out more about Piers and follow his blog at

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In a world where there are no more animals (only a few rogue varmints), Kester Jaynes finds himself in an unusual position: a cockroach is asking him for help. Kester, who hasn't spoken since his mother died, answers the entreaty of the cockroach (and some persuasive pigeons) and escapes to the forbidden wild, where a few animals have been hiding. It is up to Kester to save them by finding a cure for the deadly red-eye disease that has wiped them out. Torday weaves an intense narrative of survival and adventure akin to a sci-fi Brian Jacques tale and with great appeal to animal lovers. Underlying Kester's wilderness exploits, however, is a story of corruption and greed, as the powerful Selwyn Stone stages a calculated takeover of society through manufactured truths and the henchmen he employs to enforce them. The plot becomes slightly repetitive at times, but overall this is an enchanted adventure with a message of empowerment and hope that ought to sweep readers along to the planned second volume.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2014 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this offbeat semi-apocalyptic fantasy, debut novelist Torday introduces 12-year-old Kester Jaynes, a prisoner at Spectrum Hall Academy for Challenging Children. Kester's world was turned upside down by the death of his mother six years earlier (he hasn't spoken since). The larger world is in tumult, too, wrecked by global warming and "the red-eye," which killed off most animal life and threatens humans with extinction. One day, Kester is stunned to discover he can communicate with cockroaches, pigeons, and other "varmints," who ask him for help: "*Come with us now, Kester Jaynes. Or rot here forever. The choice is yours.*" With the aid of the varmints, Kester escapes from Spectrum Hall and learns that he is the chosen savior of "the last wild," the few remaining animals on Earth. A sort of dystopian Winnie-the-Pooh, Torday's story is alternately somber, thrilling, and silly, filled with eccentric human and animal characters with distinctive voices. That includes Kester-although his fellow humans see him as silent, his courage, actions, and growth speak volumes. Ages 8-12. Agent: Clare Conville, Conville & Walsh. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-7-"When the rest of the world grew too hot, and cracked open in the sun, everyone came to live on this cold grey rock." In a future world that is largely without animals because of a terrible virus, 12-year-old Kester Jaynes, who hasn't spoken since his mom died, is called by the cockroaches to help save the last enclave of wildlife from the deadly plague. At first, Torday's interesting, imaginary world seems to be full of inconsistencies, but he takes pains to make a cohesive speculative environment for the characters to develop within. The prose is extremely British, which can be a barrier for reluctant readers, and while the characterization of Kester is strong, the plotting and atmosphere fail to deliver enough peril to make this novel a true a page-turner. Nonetheless, this gentle, dystopian adventure is a good introduction for students who may not have encountered environmental morality tale tropes, such as talking animals, an epic quest, and an evil corporation out to destroy the world. A solid choice for students who are too young for Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games (Scholastic, 2008).-L. Lee Butler, Stoughton High School, MA (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



I grab my chair, ready to bat the birds back out again, back to wherever they came from, when they start to speak--all of them talking together in a deep voice, more like singing than talking. Like a choir, direct in my head--just like the crackle from the cockroach in the Yard, or the whistle from the spider in the Doctor's room, only this time there's hundreds of voices speaking at once. And I really can hear what they're saying. *Kester Jaynes, we have been sent to find you.* Excerpted from The Last Wild by Piers Torday All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.