Byx is the runt of her family. Nevertheless, she finds love and meaning in the midst of the pack of doglike creatures called dairnes. She shares the qualities and “burdensome gift” of all dairnes—they can always detect an untruth from any of the species inhabiting their world.
When her pack is attacked and Byx is cast adrift, alone in the world, she fears that she is the endling—the last living member of her species. Still, hope lingers when she remembers rumors she heard from her parents about other packs of dairnes possibly roaming distant lands.
Byx sets out on a quest to discover the truth. Is she the endling, or not? Bereft of home and family, she yet gains a new community on her journey: Tobble, the tiny, brave wobbyk; Khara, the girl with a mysterious past; Renzo, the honest, hilarious thief; and Gambler, the felivet, possessing magnificent agility and lifesaving abilities.
As Byx faces numerous hurdles, she begins to understand why being a “truth teller” is a “burdensome gift,” one which might cause evil creatures to use a dairne for wicked purposes.
This first book of author Katherine Applegate’s Endling series introduces juvenile readers to a world of swashbuckling adventure, exotic creatures, and warfare between good and evil. The Last incorporates humor, shares insights into what motivates the human heart, and portrays the satisfying truth that family and friends can be found among the least expected creatures and in the most unlikely places. Ages 8 and up. (HarperCollins)