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Last of the Wilds by Trudi Canavan
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Last of the Wilds (2006)

by Trudi Canavan

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1,131137,247 (3.91)6
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Last of the Wilds is the second book on the Age of the Five trilogy. Priestess of the White ended with the aftermath of the religious war between the Circlians and Pentadrians. The five were clearly victorious, but not without some losses.

This book is mostly about the return to normal life after the war. Alliances have been forged to gather help to fight the evil other side, but they remain strong in times of peace through commerce and cooperation. And the Pentadrians are also trying to make amends and figure out how could they have lost.

Amidst it all there is also the personal struggles of various characters: Auraya, who lost the man she loved as he was sent away because he follows a different religion, as well as having to make sense of what she has seen in the war; Leiard, that has to come to terms with the voice in his head, his other personality, and figure out what it means; Emerahl, who has to choose between hiding again or helping her friend...

Like the first book in the series, this one also features multiple points of view, telling the story of different characters that will, in most cases, encounter each other. Although this is usually great, helping to show the different stories, in this book it was a bit too much. The shifting points of view made me queasy - each part was very short, never giving time to "enter" the story before moving to the next one. It was really hard to connect with any of the characters, especially the new ones, at first. Eventually it got better (either the parts became longer or I got used to it) and it was easier to enjoy the story.

Auraya is still a major character, as is Leiard. Leiard I liked from the beginning, and I really enjoyed his parts, especially his inner monologue/dialogue with Mirar. Auraya is starting to grow on me, especially when she shows that she isn't just a mindless follower of the Gods and is capable of thinking for herself – by the end of the book I really wanted to know more of what is going to happen to her.

The inclusion of Reivan made me squint my eyes and say "I see what you did there!". Reivan becomes a Servant of the Gods (the Pentadrian ones), eventually becoming a councillor to one of the Voices. Telling the other side of the struggle gave a whole new depth to the story - suddenly it was harder to "hate" the Pentadrians, because they had faces and you knew their motivations. And to be honest, the Circlians were never the good guys in my eyes. Not that I'm on the Pentadrian side either. (Definitely with the Dreamweavers that don't care for any type of Gods and just want to help people regardless of what they believe.)

If in Priestess of the White there were the Siyee, as a stranger species, not like humans in appearance, but not devoid of Humanity; in Last of the Wilds we have the Elai, creatures of the sea - but not mermaids, that are even more distrustful of landwalkers than their winged counterparts. I really like to read about different races, seemingly so alien, and about their culture and their lives, and these sea folks were a treat for me.

What I liked on the first book is exactly what I liked on this one. The third side of the matter, the world-building, the different races, and the emotional struggle of the characters regarding their beliefs and their way of living. It is all there, and then some more.

Also at Spoilers and Nuts ( )
  quigui | Jan 7, 2011 |
Trudi's second trilogy is better than her first and this is one of the best books overall. The world that she has created so well described and set out that the reader is automatically transported there. The characters are beautifully defined and as the reader you become so close to them and their lives. The siyee are are some of the best characters ever created. ( )
  rincewind1986 | May 23, 2009 |
"Last of the Wilds" is a middle book, but in many ways is stronger than its predecessor, "Priestess of the White."

In this book, the storylines for all the main character groups (the White, especially Auraya, the Pentadrians, the Wilds, the Elai and the Siyee) get more interesting. There is depth to each of the individual plots and the author sets up a complex and intriguing political scene for the third book.

The real story is what is going on with the gods and the immortals. What do the gods have against the Wilds? Where did the gods come from? What are they planning? How much of what's going on are they aware of? There's clearly a much larger story going on here than the base plot of the Circlian/Pentadrian conflict.

I'm waiting anxiously for the grand design to be revealed in the third book. ( )
  Jawin | May 7, 2009 |
This almost lost me. The ongoing story of the conflict between the Circlians and Pentadrians continues and Auraya is trying to find a balance between Dreamweavers and the priesthood. There's a mystery illness on the rise and she has to find the cure, along with issues with her love life.

This is the second Trudi Canavan series I've read and I remember having issues with the second book of the last series. I will read the last book in the sequence but this one took me ages to get through. I actually almost abandoned it because I really didn't care for a long while what happened to the characters. The story began to build momentum for me near the end and finally engaged my interest. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Sep 2, 2008 |
Life gets trickier for the newest Priestess, despite the peace after the war. Beset by nightmares, in constant attention to the gods she has to rush to Si and help heal as plague breaks out. If only there was someone around whose healing skills were good enough.

Elsewhere in the contient the Pentadriens see the error of their ways and seek peaceful contact with those nations so recently invaded. Will they have better luck with the Elai than the White did?

Picking up characters from the last book and bringing to the fore some new this book continues the adventures in the Time of Five. But good and bad are no longer so clearly defined, white and black only colours not lifestyles. Gods are human too, petty and jealous emotions are within their remit. What will Aurya decide when she faces a test of her loyalty?

After -re-read.:
A significant improvement from the last novel, now that we're fully up to speed with the world more time can be spent on the plot and the characters. Many of the minor characters from the last novel are fleshed out, and we learn more about the different cultures in the world. At the same time we are plunged inot more murky moral territory facing up to some questions of religion that society today should be considering. When is the "word of God" absolute, and what should be the penalty for disobeying, when caught between a rock and hard place?

Gripping and eventfull, detailed and enjoyable, I can't wait to see how the trilogy is resolved, and only hope the standard continues to improve. ( )
  reading_fox | May 12, 2008 |
I enjoyed this more than the first one. The parallel stories of the Circlians and Pentadrians gives the book a nice structure and I found myself eager for the next book. I'm also losing the feeling that Age of the Five is just a more grown up version of the Black Magicians trilogy as it slowly comes into its own. ( )
  Clurb | Nov 9, 2007 |
Carrying on from "Priestess of the White" we follow Auraya and her now separated dreamweaver friend, plus another character or two, including, for the first time really, Pentadarians as well as Circlians.

Things develop in a variety of ways, and there are some tantalising hints of things to come. This doesn't read as the middle book of a trilogy, it clearly has some history, but you can read it without reading book 1 I think, as most of it is explained, and I'm eagerly awaiting book 3 (well in paperback anyway) to see which way the hints develop. ( )
  lewispike | Sep 27, 2007 |
An enjoyable if undemanding read.
Ms Canavan's is perhaps the most original of the current generation of fantasy writers. A bit on the long side. ( )
  wendyrey | Aug 22, 2007 |
I enjoyed the first 3/4 of the book and then it really tailed off for me. I'm fairly sure I can guess what's going to happen in the final part already... ( )
  richardtaylor | Feb 12, 2007 |
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