Historical Fiction with a Healthy Dose of Fantasy for Kids
Nov 25, 2011 (Updated Aug 21, 2012)
Review by Mark Baker
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Good main characters and engaging second half
Cons:First half a little slow as everything is set up
The Bottom Line: Travel back in time
And meet musketeers as teens
In this adventure
Last year, I read Stuart Gibbs debut novel and loved every page of it. So naturally when he released his next novel, I snapped it up. The Last Musketeer is the first in a planned series (I think just a trilogy, but I could be wrong), and after a bit of a slow start is a fun adventure.
Recommend this product?
Greg Rich’s life has gone on a downward spiral. His family has been forced to sell their estate and is now selling their family antiques to the Louvre in Paris. But the strange curator of the museum seems intent on the gem that Greg’s mom has worn as a necklace for as long as he can remember.
Turns out the man uses it to travel back in time almost 400 years with Greg and his parents getting sucked back with him. They find themselves in 1615 and Greg’s parents are quickly arrested for treason. Sentence to die in three days, Greg has to find a way to break them out of prison. Since he knows no one in Paris, can he find some allies and save his family?
As you might have guessed from the title, this is a reimagining of the characters from the classic novel The Three Musketeers. I have to admit that my only knowledge of the story comes from the Disney take on it that I saw almost 20 years ago, so apart from the names, I have no way of knowing how much he stuck to the story and how much he deviated from it. Of course, with the added fantasy elements and the fact that all the musketeers are teenagers, I’m going to guess that much of the story is very different from the original.
What I do know is that what is here is a very fun ride. The first half is a little on the slow side as Greg has to meet all the musketeers and realize his place in the cast of characters. This set off pays huge dividends in the second half once the story kicks into high gear. I understand everything that is happening, but the suspense is amazing. I could hardly put the book down at this point.
All four of the teens who form the basis for the story are well developed. To a certain extent they are more types than real characters, but they don’t feel this way while you are reading the book, and kids certainly won’t care about that. The villain is also well done. Very few others get enough page time to be fully developed, but I think that could change as the series progresses.
One thing I really liked was the descriptions of Paris from 400 years ago. It was not a pleasant place to live, and it made me really appreciate living in the modern age even with all our problems. That’s why I feel like this book is a mix of historical fiction and fantasy; maybe it will cross pollinate and create some new fans of both genres.
The ending definitely leaves things hanging for the next book, but that’s okay. I feel the story presented here is wrapped up.
The book is recommended for ages 8 and up, and I feel that’s about right. I know this “up” really enjoyed it.
I’m very curious where the series is going to go from here, so you can bet I will be back for the sequel. If you are looking for something new for your young reader, The Last Musketeer is definitely a book to consider.
This review is part of Lean n Mean X.
The Last Musketeer Series:
1. The Last Musketeer (You are here)
2. Traitor's Chase
3. Double Cross (Coming April 2013)
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