This will be an awesome 3-books-in-one review! Why? Because a) each book in The Last Thirteen series is pint sized (less than 200-pages) and b) because this series has frustrated me so much I do not want to post about it more than once.
Thank you to Scholastic Australia for the review copy of Eleven! (The first two I borrowed from the library.)
Same awakes from his nightmare to discover the terrifying reality. It will come true. Kidnapped from school and finding out his parents aren’t who he thinks they are, Sam is suddenly running from danger at every turn. Nothing will ever be the same again. With his life and identity shattered, Sam’s salvation is tied to an ancient prophecy. He is in the final battle to save the world, up against an enemy plotting to destroy us all. He alone can find the last Thirteen.
Book #1, Thirteen, starts the series with a BANG of cliche circumstances. I realise this is a series aimed at younger boys to encourage them to read…but even that I have a problem with.
Why do books need to be gender separated? “This is a boys’ series?” That is wrong on so many levels. I agree that girls and boys have different tastes…but what about those of us who fuzz that line? I’m a girl, but I’ve always liked high-speed car chases and guns and explosions. I think all books should have emotion, good writing, and well-developed characters — regardless of the gender and age they’re aimed at. (I feel like this series lacks all three of those.)
The characters are introduced with stereotypes! I couldn’t believe this! The side-dishes are Alex and Eva. Alex is introduced as a sassy doubter. Eva is introduced as a “goth girl”. I’m not even kidding. Why are we teaching kids to label and stereotype kids?
If you want to read my flat-out review, you can find it here on Goodreads.
The nightmare is real and Sam must face his destiny. Will the chilling prophecy and the ultimate battle against Solaris come true? Nothing could have prepared Sam for this terrifying new life as one of the last 13 Dreamers. From New York to Egypt, to Italy – the search for the rest of the last 13 will take Same across the globe. He cannot do it alone, but who can he really trust? He must find the rest of the last 13.
Twelve is book #2 in the series.
Is it just me or is that blurb exactly the same as the last one? How many times do we need to say “he must find the rest of the last 13” before we FINALLY GET THE POINT? He must find them! Okay! Go do it, Sammy.
By the way, I still have no idea why he’s trying to find the last 13 Dreamers. What will it accomplish? Will they take over the world? Will the save the world? Why? And how? Marvellous questions I very much can’t answer.
What’s the villain’s issue, anyway? Solaris is a scary, all-dressed-in-black dude with impressive powers. But I don’t know why he has such a vendetta against the Dreamers (or the world). He’s “scary” because we’ve been told that he’s scary. He could at least murder a puppy or something…you know, evoke emotion? I would like my emotions to be evoked.
You can read my flat-out review of Twelve here on Goodreads.
Sam’s deepest fears become real as his enemies grow more numerous and ever-more powerful. Struggling to stay one step ahead, Sam must locate 11 more Dreamers and solve the next piece of the puzzle. Can Sam and his allies unlock the secrets of an ancient journal to reveal their final destiny? Sam is far from home, with the fate of the entire world in his hands. He must find the last 13. The race is on.
Eleven is book #3 in the series.
I’m just being fussy, right? But that blurb? THAT BLURB?! If someone says “he must find the last 13” again, I will give myself a concussion. The dude is obviously struggling to locate his hairbrush, because it’s been 3 books and he’s only found one Dreamer. Maybe he needs help? Parental guidance perhaps?
Which brings me to the cliche “we’re not really you parents, we’re undercover spies who have loved you for 15 years but now will abandon you and you should abandon us because we’re not really your parents”. What is this saying? Is it saying that foster parents/guardians are no match for real parents? In this series, all of the kids who were
kidnapped relocated from their not-parents in the first book now are having rejection issues. They are struggling not to love their parents…because they’re not really their parents. PLEASE, STOP. If people have loved and raised you for 15 years, so convincingly, maybe they do actually love you?
Unlike the last two books, Eleven doesn’t have a definite climax. Which is a real shame. I enjoy our little dart gun fights with the ominous Solaris. (I’m actually still wondering what the villain’s issue is. Who stole his sunshine?) There’s lots of action: motorbikes, betrayals, avalanches, sneaking around…being mistaken as doctors…(it’s a common thing to assume two 15 year olds are scientists/doctors/cops, apparently). Lots of action. Yes.
You can read my full (GIFs included) review here on Goodreads.
I’d like to blow my disgust of this series off as “oh well I’m out of the age range”. But I just read Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy and Bird, which are both Middle-Grade books and both knocked me down with their perfect characterisation and detail and fabulous writing.
You know I don’t like writing negative reviews, but I honestly feel The Last Thirteen series isn’t an example of good writing. I’m sure readers will love the action and the adventure. But for me, good writing OR good characters is a must. This has neither.
I will quite easily never read anything in this series again.
Cait writes negative reviews sometimes. It makes her incredibly sad. She would like to love every book in the world and fangirl and rave accordingly. But she can’t. She is destined to be honest. (Unfortunately.) While she is being honest, she would like to honestly confess she likes lasagna more than pizza.