The Last Kids on Earth and the Nightmare King
The Last Kids on Earth #3
by Max Brallier
AR Test, Diverse Characters, Good for Reluctant Readers
Life couldn’t get much better for 13-year-old Jack Sullivan. He eats Twinkie sandwiches for breakfast, lives in a cool treehouse, has a hoard of monster friends, and battles zombies. Jack loves his life with his friends and wouldn’t change a thing about it.
Then Jack and his friends discover they may not be the last kids on earth. When a human voice comes from a radio, everyone except for Jack is excited to discover that others have survived the zombie apocalypse. June and the others hope to be reunited with their parents, but Jack is afraid that finding others will lead to his friends forgetting about him. Jack goes on a quest to prove that their life is crazy, fun, and perfect.
As jack creates crazy fun activities for his friends, a monstrous Nightmare King hunts Jack and his friends. Jack soon learns that an ancient evil will use any method necessary to gain Jack’s loyalty and help him come into Jack’s world.
The Last Kids on Earth and The Nightmare King is another action-packed book that will keep readers entertained. New complications and new monsters are introduced to keep the plot interesting. The story shows a diverse group of friends who work together to defeat monsters. Although each character may seem stereotypical at first—the brainiac, the bully, the damsel—each character is fully developed and reveal that a person cannot be put into a category. For example, June is not a damsel in distress, but a strong girl who is capable of contributing to the group.
Although there is violence, the kids spend most of their time running from the monsters. The battle scenes contain humor and are not frightening. In the end, the story reminds readers that it often takes both kids and monsters to defeat evil.
- June and Jack are playing a game. June asks Jack, “Which prize would you like honey?” Jack knows she is teasing him, “but I don’t care; I like hearing her call me honey—it makes my belly region warm.”
- Zombies attack the group. Dirk uses his strength to grab the zombies and “corpses catapulted.”
- A King Wretch swoops and tries to grab Jack. “I smack into the street, flipping and flopping like a fish. My nose cracks against my knee, and I immediately feel blood bubbling inside my nostrils.” The monster grabs Rover, “dragging Rover across the pavement. The sound of pained scraping fills my ears while dread floods my stomach.”
- A Scrapken (an octopus-like creature who lives in the junk yard) uses his tentacles to try to smash the kids. Instead, the Scrapken hits a wall and Zombies rush into the junk yard. “Thankfully, the next tentacle swing slams into a tire pile, and about nine hundred ninety-nine pounds of rubber plow into the zombies. Some are knocked aside, and others are sent pinwheeling through the air.”
- In order to get away from zombies, Jack hides in a car. Before the zombies can get to Jack, the Scrapken picks up the car. “It’s chocking the metal frame like an anaconda—tightening and squeezing and crushing!” Then the Scrapken throws the car. Jack has “aches and pains and bruises, but nothing major.”
- The King Wretch saves Jack from Zombies. “With one massive, snapping chomp, the King Wretch devours a dozen zombies. A simple swallow, sucking them down.” The King Wretch then grabs Jack. “His talons punch me square in the chest. I hit the cold floor and the claws tighten, digging into my shoulders. Hot saliva drips from the King Wretch’s fangs and splashes against my cheek.” The King Wretch then hypnotizes Jack.
- While riding a rollercoaster, The King Wretch grabs Jack. “The flying beast snaps out with his talons, tearing into my hoodie and knocking me back.” Jack’s hoodie tears and, “I plummet downward for a short moment, and then all I feel is PAINFUL AWFUL TREE-LIM-BREAKING-SMASHING ON MY BONES!” Jacks friends come to save him and there is a battle that last over several chapters. In the end the King Wretch is eaten by the Scrapken. “Slithery serpent sounds and then, at last, the King Wretch goes silent. The Scrapken hugs him anaconda tight, squeezing, crushing, and then they disappear beneath the scrap, into the ground . . .”
Drugs and Alcohol
- Jack occasionally says “crud.”
- The King Wretch hypnotizes Jack and gives him visions of what the future may be like. When the King Wretch looks into Jack’s eyes, “Soda bubbles in my brain. . . I feel like a tornado of terrible energy whirls past me. Through me... and then everything is altered”