Review: Last Descendants (Assassin’s Creed #1) by Matthew J. Kirby


28691917Last Descendants by Matthew J. Kirby

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: August 30th, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Point of View: 3rd Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 10+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Time-Travel,
Action, Science Fiction

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BLURB:

Nothing in Owen’s life has been right since his father died in prison, accused of a crime Owen is certain he didn’t commit. Monroe, the IT guy at school, might finally bring Owen the means to clear his father’s name by letting him use an Animus—a device that lets users explore the genetic memories buried within their own DNA. The experience brings Owen more than he bargained for. During a simulation, Owen uncovers the existence of an ancient and powerful relic long considered legend—the Trident of Eden. Now two secret organizations will stop at nothing to take possession of this artifact—the Brotherhood of Assassins and the Templar Order. It soon becomes clear to Owen that the only way to save himself is to find the Trident first.

Under the guidance of Monroe, Owen and a group of other teenagers go into a memory they all share within their DNA: the 1863 Draft Riots in New York City. Owen and his companions will find themselves tested on the gritty streets of New York, and their experiences in the past will have far-reaching consequences in the present.

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Earlier this year, I read ‘‘A Taste for Monsters’’ by Matthew J. Kirby and was impressed with it. So while Assassin’s Creed became such a popular video game (and now a motion picture!) that is not the main reason why I decided to pick this series up.

The first thing I noticed about the book was that the language was very directed at young readers, maybe eleven to fourteen. I have not read the adult series, but now I want to, if only so I can compare these two series and see which one I should stick with.

Owen’s father was sentenced to death, but Owen believes his father was innocent. To prove his father’s innocence, he wants to use an Animus, but the Animus will not let him access the memories of his father after Owen himself was born. He tests the Animus nonetheless but, the moment he does that, he loses his anonymity to the secret organizations that immediately start tracking him.

Now, he and others are accessing the memories of their ancestors in order to find a very special artefact in 1863 New York. I was not familiar with that period of time, let alone the ‘‘Draft Riots,’’ but the storyline was easy to follow regardless. The plot was in fact my favourite element of this book, especially the action.

I did not care for the characters, aside from Owen who easily gained my sympathy, seeing that I believed in him and, if he believed his father was innocent, then I believed that, too. But I must warn you, the characters are relatively one-dimensional. It does not help that there are multiple of them. However, their ancestors are a little more interesting, and since they spend a good amount of time in their ancestors’ bodies, it makes things better.

I liked this, but I need more of everything – characterization, atmosphere, background – so I am going to find myself a copy of the first book in the adult series.
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