Take a moment to imagine a world where only 500 words were allowed. This list could be easily memorized and summed up the total words you could use EVER. Anyone using more words could find themself in jail. Take a moment and think about that. What would that mean to you? The Last Lie takes this idea and continues the exploration started in the first book The List. Come walk with me through this intriguing work.
What I am Reviewing
Patricia Forde is the author of The Last Lie. A fictional middle school read published by Sourcebooks. Life in a dystopian society, with intrigue, unexpected twists, mystery and bravery. 288 pages, 34 chapters. I received an ARC copy to review from Raincoast Books.
The city of Ark is no longer safe. Before the rebellion, everyone could only speak List, a language of just 500 words. But when Letta became the Wordsmith, the keeper of all the words that have ever existed, she learned that being able to express yourself is what makes us human.
And now, the new ruler has wicked plans to eliminate language once and for all: If babies never hear a single word, they will never learn to speak.
Letta and the other rebels must find a way to defeat the evil for good before they lose the very thing that will set them free.
The Details on The Last Lie
When I read the back of the book (copied above) I was immediately intrigued. What would it be like to live in a word with only 500 words? As I got into reading I noticed a neat thing with the chapter headings. They were all words with definitions.
There was a section of the book that just captured me. Letta and company had stumbled onto a cabin with newspapers plastering the walls. Letta, the wordsmith, was captivated. She just wanted to stay there and write down the words. It made me think of another book I just reviewed, The Keeper of Wild Words where discovering new unique words was a joy. This joy, that wonderful abandonment in words, that Letta had is so profound.
Should you Get it?
I’m trying to think if there is anything objectionable for a middle school student. The thing with the babies is horrible, but nothing directly in your face. There are some nasty threats made that might alarm sensitive minded youngsters. Some romantic interests are expressed, but nothing happens. The bad guys are predictably fairly bad (but aren’t they almost always?).
Overall The Last Lie is a well-written story, with good characters that don’t seem too far-fetched. The story-line fit well with the overarching theme. And in the end, it worked out, though differently then what was planned.
If you are a fan of Patricia Forde, or enjoyed The List, or have a fondness for dystopican literature, The Last Lie is well-worth reading.