Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Dark Wild, by Piers Torday

Staff Review by Chris Saliba

The second installment of the Piers Torday’s eco-fantasy is a thrill a page story, but one that also tackles a host of urgent environmental issues.

The Dark Wild is the second book in Piers Torday’s trilogy. The first installment, The Last Wild, told the story of 12-year-old Kester Jaynes and how he became a Wildness, the leader of a group of animals called a wild.

In the second book, Kester discovers that there is actually another wild, a dark wild that lives underground. They are led by a remorseless dog called Dagger. He is determined to lead his dark wild in an uprising against the humans who live above ground, in Premium City. Dagger has many reasons to want revenge. Humans have treated animals appallingly, especially the evil corporation Facto, led by Selwyn Stone. It’s also clear that Facto has caused great environmental damage and is responsible for the dystopian landscape that is the novel’s backdrop. Kester is now caught between two worlds. He wants to stop the uprising, trying to prove to Dagger that not all humans want to exploit and kill animals.

This is an extraordinarily well detailed and executed story about ecological vandalism, corporate greed and species extinction. The story is written as a breathtaking adventure, full of great plot inventions, dramatic set pieces and a cast of fully fleshed out characters. Piers Torday keeps up the suspense right to the last page. The clever thing about The Dark Wild is how it mixes a kid’s adventure story with very serious and mature environmental issues. It’s the sort of book that’s exciting to read but also makes you think. It’s so bursting with ideas that you often find yourself running just a little bit short of breath trying to keep up with all that is happening. Torday thrills his readers, but also keeps them intellectually engaged at all times.

The Dark Wild, by Piers Torday. Published by Quercus. ISBN: 9781848663787  RRP: $14.99

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