Saturday, June 30, 2012

Review: The Last Song

The Last Song
by Eva Wiseman

Available as: hardcover, Kindle edition, ebook
Pages: 225
Publisher: Tundra
Publication date: April 10, 2012
Suggested tags: middle grade, historical fiction, 15th century, Spain

From Goodreads:
"Spain had been one of the world’s most tolerant societies for eight hundred years, but that way of life was wiped out by the Inquisition. Isabel’s family feels safe from the terrors, torture, and burnings. After all, her father is a respected physician in the court of Ferdinand and Isabella. Isabel was raised as a Catholic and doesn’t know that her family’s Jewish roots may be a death sentence. When her father is arrested by Torquemada, the Grand Inquisitor, she makes a desperate plan to save his life – and her own.

Once again, master storyteller Eva Wiseman brings history to life in this riveting and tragic novel.

I received this as an ebook from NetGalley.

The Last Song is centered around the Spanish Inquisition, so I expected it to deal with some serious issues and explore the emotions of the characters, especially Isabel's. While it did have a meaningful plot, overall the book just felt kind of bland.

I've read some amazing middle grade novels that really get into the characters' heads, where they share their thoughts with you and you feel their emotions right along with them, without it getting too deep or mature to the point where its target audience wouldn't appreciate it. And that's what I expected for The Last Song, but unfortunately it didn't come across that way to me. Isabel faces many serious situations and crucial decisions, but her thoughts and feelings are never really explored. She speaks and acts and reacts, but it all feels a little shallow and unsatisfying.

Readers who are looking for a "this happened, then this happened" type of book that doesn't focus too much on the characters' thoughts or feelings may really enjoy The Last Song. Unfortunately, for me, this book was just ok - not a bad book by any means, but not anything I can rave about. It took on an ambitious setting and plot, but it didn't deliver on that the way I was hoping.

Overall rating: 2 out of 5 stars

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