Author: Silvana De Mari
Translator: Shaun Whiteside
In a world that is gradually becoming swallowed by the dark and the ever-rising waters, an elf child wanders alone, the last elf in the world. When Yorsh, the elf, encounters a human woman, her reaction is typical: fear of his supposed powers and repulsion in the face of a despised people. Still, unlike most humans, she takes a second look and realizes that he’s just a child, and a gentle, sweet one at that–if a bit (okay, a lot) ignorant of the ways of the world. They are joined in their wanderings by a hunter, and eventually wind up in the city of Daligar where–because of the citizens’ fear of elves–they encounter great oppression. They also encounter a prophesy that could change Yorsh’s fate forever . . . unless he chooses to take fate in his own hands.
The Last Dragon was a most enjoyable fantasy novel. It’s the first story I’ve ever read that was originally Italian, and I found the stylistic individuality interesting. I would say that the style is closest to Lauren Oliver or Peter Beagle’s writing, although with plenty of uniquenesses that are all De Mari’s own. The storyline is solid–a classic tale of bravery in the face of oppression, true friendship, and choosing your own path in life. I think the characters really make the story though. I’ve never met anyone quite like Yorsh; he’s an odd combination of naivete, neediness, knowledge, heroism, fussiness, and compassion that could be absolutely grating but is actually quite appealing. For those who enjoy a good fantasy, I think The Last Dragon is an excellent choice–a bit off the beaten path, but an worthwhile sidetrack.