Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Last of the Wilds

by Trudi Canavan


In Priestess of the White two fundamentally opposed religions clashed, whilst we glimpsed a little of the ugly side of religious intolerance. Last of the Wilds continues this theme by introducing readers to the other side of the conflict.

Reivan is a Pentadrian, and a member of the Thinker class. She's smart, but she lacks any magical Gifts, something that can put her at a disadvantage. Although she works hard for the benefit of her people, there are those who resent her every success. In this novel we learn more about the other side, the nation that went to war with the Circlians. Both Pentadrians and Circlians are determined to convert others to their cause and to gain allies, decrying each other for worshipping false gods. But they are not so different.

Auraya may be a powerful priestess of the White, but that position doesn't come without problems. In the aftermath of the war she has to deal with the grief of the survivors, and to figure out how to protect their allies and retain their loyalty. She wants to reconcile the persecuted Dreamweavers with the priesthood, but she feels ambivalent about her plans for them. She's also haunted by feelings of guilt about the death and destruction of the war.

Meanwhile Leiard is on the run with Emerahl, hiding out in an attempt to evade the long reach of the gods. Leiard's personality is increasingly split between his own and that of the deceased founder of the Dreamweavers, Mirar. He doesn't understand why he has such strong memories. Another mystery is just what the gods have got against Emerahl, who is a Wild. She may be a powerful magic user, but she has never tried to harm them or their followers. In this novel we learn more about the gods' blemished history and about their character traits. But it's only ever enough to tantalise us, and these glimpses of them always seem to raise more questions than they provide answers to.

Last of the Wilds takes a slightly gentler pace than Priestess of the White, but it's no less gripping. As well as introducing Reivan we also meet Imi, one of the sea-dwelling Elai people. So this novel weaves together quite a few strands of narrative into an epic of insomnia-inducing proportions. It's written with Trudi Canavan's usual skill and characteristic subtlety, proving that it doesn't take extreme levels of violence or shockingly explicit scenes to hold an audience rapt. The Age of the Five offers an intelligent look at religious fervour, cultural differences and the mechanisms of social division, wrapped in the appealing packaging of an absorbing fantasy.

Book Details

Year: 2006

Categories: Books


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5 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson
More about Trudi Canavan