Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Last Knight

by Hilari Bell
New York: Eos, 2007.

Fisk is a squire - at least, he is as of a week ago when he met Michael, an eighteen-year-old knight errant about 200 years after that was a fashionable trade. Michael wants to travel, so he chose this life of working hard and helping out his fellow man over his father's chosen profession for him: steward to his oldest brother. But when the boys are tricked into freeing a murderess, Michael's father Baron Seven Oaks redeems them. In order for Michael to be a free man again, they have to recapture Lady Ceciel and bring her for trial.

Much of this story is told over the course of a journey, so the plot feels meandering at times while Michael and Fisk try to track down Lady Ceciel or her steward all along the countryside. The story is much more focused, however, when it is read as the story of two young men becoming friends and learning to trust each other. Each chapter is told alternating between Fisk's and Michael's points of view, which can be difficult to pull off but works really well to give readers insight into both of their characters, not only by what they reveal about themselves, but what they say about each other. Fisk is funny and sarcastic, protesting just a bit too much that he wants to leave Michael the first chance he gets. Michael's narrative is sprinkled with "tis" and "mayhap," marking him as a nobleman's son, and his descriptions of others show how idealistic he is. This first in the "Knight and Rogue" series is recommended for teen readers (and adults, too, of course!) who enjoyed The Lightning Thief or Howl's Moving Castle.

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