Joelene Reviews: James Phelan's - "The Last Thirteen"
Sam is over-tired, having been kept awake by recurring and steadily worsening nightmares. His science teacher, Mr Cole, who always seems to push Sam harder than anyone else, is disappointed in him. And annoyingly perfect Xavier Dark is all too happy to answer the questions that Sam can’t quite get. It seems like any ordinary day at school.
All of that changes when a helicopter lands on school grounds and armed men storm the building, looking for Sam in a matter of national security. Whisked away from his home and everything he has ever known, Sam finds himself caught up with two other people his age. A boy named Alex and, Eva, a girl who mysteriously knows more about their situation than either of the others.
If Sam is going to survive, he is going to have to work out who his friends are, and come to terms with the fact that his family may not be who they appear to be.
Thus begins the first novel in The Last Thirteen series. It’s fast-paced and action-packed with a premise that I’m sure we’ve all wished that we lived. What if our dreams could reveal our future? What if they could change it? Sam is used to nightmares, having battled them every night since his best friend died. Now he is told that there is more to his dreams than he could have imagined. Saved from the frightening Enterprise, an organisation devoted to exploiting Dreamers for financial gain, Sam is told that not only is he a Dreamer with the ability to see the future, he may be one of the Thirteen. One Dreamer, of the legendary thirteen, who will be strong enough to take a stand against the powerful Solaris in the final battle for earth.
While this is touted at being a young adult novel, I’d recommend it for a slightly younger age group. With the fascinating premise and likeable mix of characters, it’s a fantastic book for reluctant readers. The writing is simple but serves its purpose and the description is pared back to allow the action to flow along more quickly.
For avid readers who are older, this slim volume may not suffice, especially given the cliff-hanger ending that arrived far too quickly for my liking.
Book one of The Last Thirteen is a bit of a roller-coaster ride. Over too quickly and leaving you wanting more. I’d recommend it to anyone who had enjoyed the Conspiracy 365 series, and any 10-15 year old reluctant reader.
The Last Thirteen – James Phelan
Scholastic (September 1, 2013)