cover image Endling: The Last

Endling: The Last

Katherine Applegate. HarperCollins, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-233552-4

The gripping first installment of Applegate’s (The One and Only Ivan) new fantasy trilogy assembles a motley crew in a suspenseful, tautly drawn quest. The narrative centers on Byx, the 11-year-old runt of a litter of an almost extinct, threatened species of dairnes—highly intelligent doglike creatures who walk upright and can talk, glide, and distinguish any lie. When the curious Byx ventures beyond the confines of her pack’s carefully hidden home, she saves a humorously polite creature, a wobbyk named Tobble, meets a 14-year-old tracker named Khara disguised as a boy, and misses the slaughter of her community that leaves her the last of her kind, an endling. The conflicting motivations of the strongly drawn characters prove compelling as Khara captures the grieving Byx and Tobble to take them to an island city to consult a scholar whom Khara believes will save Byx (while paying a hefty price). Persuasive emotional underpinnings give depth and urgency to the adventure as the team unites against sinister forces. Ages 8–12. [em]Agent: Elena Giovinazzo, Pippin Properties. (May) [/em]