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Jonathan Stroud – The Last Siege

January 14, 2008

6. The Last Siege by Jonathan Stroud (2003)

Read by David Thorn
Length: 6h 45m (288 pages)

Genre: Young Adult

Started: 05 January 2008
Finished: 14 January 2008

Summary: A group of children sneak onto the grounds of a local ruined castle – the moat’s the best place for sledding. Three of them – loner Emily, local troublemaker Simon, and the decidedly off-beat Marcus – decide to break into the castle to look around, at Marcus’s urging. However, once they’re inside, they decide to come back to spend the night… and then once they’ve begun defending the keep, how long can they hold out against the siege of adults come to take them home?

Review: I really enjoyed Stroud’s Bartimaeus Trilogy, so I was expecting a lot more from this book than what it managed to deliver. The writing is on par with that of the trilogy: well-written, dry humor, and a feel for the rhythm of teenagers’ dialogue, but the storytelling aspect is woefully lacking. I kept expecting there to be something more going on than what was presented, something supernatural, or mysterious, or an interesting twist, at least, but it never materialized. Instead, it’s a pretty straightforward story about a bunch of kids who break into a castle and don’t want to come out, for reasons that are probably pretty familiar to most kids. Unfortunately, instead of feeling relatable, it just comes off as mundane and slightly boring, with plenty of action but not a lot of substantial plot or character development. 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: It might be of interest to kids who enjoy action-adventure stuff about sieges and battles (like Marcus), but there’s not a lot more to it than that, and it failed to really capture my interest.

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