________________ CM . . . . Volume xxi Number 15 . . . . December 12, 2014


3. (The Last Thirteen, Bk. 11).

James Phelan.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2014.
185 pp., trade pbk. & EBK, $7.99 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4431-3395-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4431-3396-8 (EBK).

Grades 6-9 / Ages 11-14.

Review by Andrew Laudicina.

**1/2 /4


2. (The Last Thirteen, Bk. 12).

James Phelan.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2014.
185 pp., trade pbk. & EBK, $7.99 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4431-3397-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4431-3398-2 (EBK).

Grades 6-9 / Ages 11-14.

Review by Andrew Laudicina.

**1/2 /4


“Sam. Ever since your announcement in New York,” Issey said, “the UN have been clueless about what to do.”

“Maybe they are waiting to be driven by their own dreams?” Poh said.

“Look,” Sam said. “I think…” he paused as if trying to sort out all the conflicting thoughts in his head before continuing. “I think it’s always been up to us. That much hasn’t changed this week. There’s a reason why we are all here in this cold basement, why we all feel so free to say whatever comes into our heads. Because, at the end of the day, you guys are who I can trust… and count on. The rest we can deal with when it happens.”


“Let’s do it!”

“We can do it.”

“The only solution the world has come up with so far is to keep us here, ‘protected’ by the UN,” Sam said. “They believe they’re doing the right thing. But we all know that can’t work. And the Professor knows that too. This race can’t be stopped and we can’t be in this race if we all sit around here.” (From 3.)

“Did you dream?” Sam asked.

“Yeah,” Eva said, a slight smile on her face as she reminisced. “An old dream though, of my family. Christmas, actually.”

Sam smiled. “I love those dreams.”

“Yeah,” Eva said. “Me too.”

“Ever wish this never happened? Sam asked. “That our dreams were good or bad, nothing more?”

Eva nodded.”Me too,” Sam said. (From 2.)


A hesitant Sam, still shaken from the loss of his mentor, must lead two long-time friends (Eva and Alex) into the fray in order to secure the few remaining gears and the power of the Dreamscape from nefarious forces. A challenge under normal circumstances, this endeavour is made slightly more difficult given the unwarranted suspicion and surveillance brought against Sam and his allies by a distrustful United Nations which has not taken well to the existence of Dreamers. 3 begins with both Sam and Eva evading the United Nations’ watch at campus headquarters; from there, they jet off to Australia in search of the eleventh gear, although they do so separately and via different routes in an attempt to foil any potential pursuers. A series of circumstances guide both Sam and Eva to a secret, underground government facility where they find the gear they so desperately need, but also Solaris.

     In 2, upon learning that Alex is the next of the last thirteen, Sam travels to Antarctica to locate his friend in an attempt to rescue him from the maniacal Hans who desperately desires the twelfth gear for unknown reasons. Against unimaginable odds, including an approaching super-storm and a treacherous terrain, Sam is able to find his friend, but, to his surprise, Alex is not exactly in need of being saved.

     The narration, which thus far in the series has been shared three ways among Sam, Eva, and Alex, is expanded to incorporate a fourth character, Xavier. A move surely designed to give greater prominence to Xavier in the finale (who is likely to be the thirteenth and final dreamer), but here, in the meanwhile, it serves only to weaken an already crowded field of voices and prematurely spoil the true identity of Solaris for certain astute readers.

     2 is perhaps the series’ strongest offering since the opening. Featuring exotic locales—ranging from the high seas of the South Pacific to volcanic oases underneath the Antarctic ice sheet –pirates, and the mention of hidden Nazis treasure, it possesses an adventurous note and a sense of whimsy which is remarkably refreshing. In short, 2, and by extension 3, is a nice change of pace although it still suffers from many of the same elements which have plagued the series from the start (predictability, limited character development, and a host of easy outs, just to name a few). The finale should be interesting, if only to see how all the many divergent and loose ends will be gathered; truly a tall order, especially if a familiar tone and pace are to be maintained.


Andrew Laudicina is a MLIS graduate from the University of Western Ontario in London; he currently resides in Windsor, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

CM Home | Next Review | (Table of Contents for This Issue - December 15, 2014.) | Back Issues | Search | CM Archive | Profiles Archive

Updated: October 17, 2014 (hsd)