Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Book Review: The Last Knight by Hilari Bell

The Last Knight by Hilari Bell
Release Date: September 1, 2007
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 368
Received: Library
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


From Goodreads:

In alternate chapters, eighteen-year-old Sir Michael Sevenson, an anachronistic knight errant, and seventeen-year-old Fisk, his street-wise squire, tell of their noble quest to bring Lady Ceciel to justice while trying to solve her husband's murder.


Two guys are better than one

There’s something about stories following two guys as they combine forces that just gets me every time. Holmes and Watson, Dean and Sam Winchester, a friendship duo like that is an automatic “YES PLEASE!” for me. Hilari Bell’s Knight and Rogue series is no exception. 

Hilari Bell has created two superb characters in Michael and Fisk. Michael and Fisk are opposites in most ways, often finding themselves at odds with one another over questions of morality and what constitutes a wise course of action. These debates are highly amusing, with both characters convincing me equally. 

Michael is well-described and wears his heart on his sleeve. He is a noble and kind man with an unwavering sense of right and wrong. His growth and good heart endeared him to me early on and my liking only increased as the story progressed.

Fisk, on the other hand, is more in line with Bell's style of walking a tightrope line of morality. A character with secrets, many of which are hinted at and only a few of which we actually come to learn, Fisk is compulsively likable despite his often craven and self-serving acts. I am very intrigued by this character and hope we learn more about Fisk's past in the next book.

I love to hate her

Though not as main a character as Michael or Fisk, Lady Ceciel is still a very interesting character in her own right. Her actions are both objectionable and understandable, and it is impossible not to admire her intelligence in staying a step ahead of her pursuers. 

Does anyone remember the scene in Jurassic Park (um, I was…am…in love with that movie) where the raptor guy realizes he was just successfully stalked by the Queen raptor and he’s about to be chow? He turns to her and admiringly says “Clever girl” right before she rips him to shreds. That’s Lady Ceciel. 

Except…she is also pretty convincing. She’s not a cackling villain acting evil for the sake of being evil. She genuinely believes she is doing the morally right thing and she makes a strong argument, even as her actions turned my stomach. 

This world we live in

The plot is equally interesting, successfully combining fantasy adventure with detective mystery. I found myself wanting to read more and more as new clues were uncovered and new adventures found. I didn't figure out what was really going on with the mystery aspects until either just before it happened or only as it was happening. Though long at 368 pages, I found this book to be a real page-turner and I barely felt the length.

The only complaint I really have for the book is Bell's world-building. While the rules were laid out well enough, I didn't have a clear idea of how they actually played out in daily living. There also wasn't much explanation as to why certain things were the way they were. Other features I just found silly or annoying. The characters more than make up for this, though. 

Yet another series?

Yeah, it’s part of a series. I know, I know, a little part of me cries every time I hear that even though I love series. I wouldn’t worry too much about it here though. This book wraps up well and works as a standalone. There aren’t any annoying cliffhangers to worry about here and I’ve heard the same applies for the other two books in the series, both of which are published. 

I want to read the next book because I enjoyed the characters and want to read more about their adventures. This is how I think authors should do series. Make me want to read the next book because the first was so good, not because the story is left unfinished. I've actually already bought the second book based on the strength of this one (something I almost never do!).

 Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 


  1. Ok. I don't know if you know how persuasive you are. I started this book a while ago and just couldn't get into it... But now, because of your awesome review, I shall try again. :D

  2. I totally agree about the series-yes I enjoy series but I've been more interested in standalones lately because sometimes I just want a good self-contained story. I can't wait to read about the further adventures of Sir Michael and Fisk.

  3. Amusing characters you say! My favourite kind. I have to say the cover doesn't look like my kind of read but your review has got my interested. Thanks for the great review :)

  4. I actually have a few Hilari Bell books I have to get through in my to-read pile... With this review of another of her series, I'm looking forward to it!

  5. Wow-

    You bought them instead of borrowing them from the library? They must be good! I've never heard of this author, but then you always come up with authors I've never heard of but I find I should have been reading them. I'll have to read this one. Oh, and someone on PBS is requesting my copy of The Conjurer Princess. I thought I'd let her have it and get a new copy for myself, but once again, I can't find it!

    You know how it is when you're moving!


  6. A great review. Reading this gives me a strong interest to get this book. I love the point you make about cliffhanger endings.

    The author should... "Make me want to read the next book because the first was so good, not because the story is left unfinished."

    CHEERS! This is SOOOO TRUE!!!!

  7. Sierra, Haha, no, I didn’t realize I was so persuasive :) I hope you like the book if you give it another try. I really liked the characters and I was interested in the mystery.

    Bookworm1858, Exactly! I’ve gained a big appreciation for self-contained stories lately. They make a good pair, Michael and Fisk.

    Nic, Very amusing, I thought. I really don’t like the cover at all. I think it makes the book look kind of cheap or amateurish. Funny enough, it’s the same cover artist that’s responsible for all those beautiful dress covers, Larry Rostant.

    Asher, Ooh, which do you have? I’ve only read this one and The Goblin Wood by her so far, but I have a bunch more on my TBR. I didn’t like The Goblin Wood as much as The Last Knight.

    Heather, Yep, I bought the second one unread based on the strength of the first one (but I still haven't gotten around to reading the second book. Bad Small!) Oh boy do I know how it is! I hope your move is going as smoothly as possible :)

    Gina, Thanks! I hope you like the book if you decide to read it. It was such a nice feeling to know that there were more adventures with the boys out there, but that I could read them at my leisure. Down with cliffhangers! :P

  8. Nice! I don't often read books with male leads and perspectives. Likely it's my loss, I know. But this sounds like a superb place to start.

  9. This one looks awesome! Must add to TBR!

    Also, you can quote Jurassic Park to me anytime. I think I've seen that movie about a thousand times by now. SO GOOD.

  10. Alyssa, That would do it for me too :P

    Book Geek, I liked it! And you get two male perspectives, so you’ll really be jumping in with both feet.

    Logan, Hope you like it! I can’t decide which guy I like better. Oh my Bosom Friend! I am no longer alone in my great love for Jurassic Park!! He’s gonna eat the goat??? Shoooooot heeeer!!

    T. B. Lady Ceciel was fascinating to read about. She’s so complex.

  11. I liked the story of friendship, especially since it was a friendship neither of the characters expected to find in each other. I highly recommend it.

    Ketterman Rowland & Westlund Lawyers

  12. I liked the story of friendship, especially since it was a friendship neither of the characters expected to find in each other. I highly recommend it.

    Ketterman Rowland & Westlund Lawyers


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