________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 7. . . .October 17, 2014


8. (The Last Thirteen, Bk. 6).

James Phelan.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2014.
185 pp., trade pbk. & Ebook, $7.99 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-4431-3352-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4431-3353-1 (Ebook).

Grades 6-9 / Ages 11-14.

Review by Andrew Laudicina.

**1/2 /4



“Sam, they won’t be so easily tricked. Our enemies are in some ways capable of more than we are—or rather, would do things we would never consider doing. We believe they can see into your dreams,” Tobias said. “You know that don’t you? Things have moved so fast that they are deploying every bit of dream tech ever invented, some of it highly dangerous to all Dreamers. It’s how they’re always close to us, aware of where we are and what we’re planning. This morning has just proved again that they won’t stop until they have you. They want to make you do what it is that you’re destined to do—but for them.”

“Yeah, well,” Sam said, “I think I’m destined to one day practice my jujitsu against all those guys.”

Despite the good-humoured remark, Sam knew that Tobias was right. His dreams were becoming more and more unpredictable and dangerous. His enemies were emerging in them, trying to take control.

“We have to beat them, Sam. Lora would be furious if we wasted an opportunity to find the next Dreamer. Eva too.”


Counting themselves lucky to have escaped their pursuers, Sam and fellow dreamer Rapha make the exhaustive trek out of the Amazon Rainforest and to a nearby airport where they reunite with Tobias and Xavier. Their instructions are to fly to the Academy’s London campus, but a storm forces their plane down in Cuba which (conveniently) also happens to be the home of the next in line of the Last Thirteen. Eager not to fall behind in the race, Sam quickly locates Maria, and together they journey to the location (revealed in Maria’s dream) believed to be holding one of the missing gears to the da Vinci machine. Facing challenges at every turn, including treacherous ocean waves, a menacing shark, and an ancient shipwreck, Sam and Maria must move quickly if they are to beat Solaris to the gear and avoid capture themselves.

      Variations of this plot have been used in every book since the series’ opener. Sure, the destinations are different and the dreamers change, but the same basic format is always maintained: Sam dreams of the identity of the next dreamer and travels to recruit them to the cause, together they travel to an exotic locale in search of an ancient artifact, they are pursued by rogue agents or meet in a final showdown with Solaris which invariably ends on a cliffhanger. Familiarity of this kind makes for an awfully predictable read, lessening the impact and significance of suspense and mystery throughout, and ultimately the overall enjoyment of the story.

     A major character reversal erases meaningful developments established in the previous two installments. This about-face (if it is truly genuine and not simply a ploy to send readers headed for another twist further down the line in the series) should hopefully make for an interesting story moving forward. Extended recaps are included to fill in the details of an ever-expanding back story; a helpful addition considering the length of the series, although, newcomers will perhaps find themselves a bit lost if they choose to join the story midstream.


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

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

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