The Last Apprentice: The Painted War by Imogen Rossi

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Hot Keys Books, 2014. ISBN 9781471402616.
Recommended by readers 12+. Imogen Rossi's A Painted War, the conclusion to The Last Apprentice series illustrates a Renaissance like no other. With magical paintings and a paintbrush-turned-key, this novel puts a spin to a classic historic moment of time. But did it fulfil my need for a book that was going to keep me on my toes? This book unfortunately didn't hit the mark with me. Although the concept was well thought out and original, it had lost its spark. A Painted War is a classic tale about good vs. evil and the struggle of faith when things are looking down.
The story is set in the magical city of La Luminosa whose evil city sister, Oscurita is threatening to invade. Kooky and sharp heroine Bianca knows of Oscurita and the secrets that lie there but only a few have faith in her and believe that there could be such a thing. Forced to watch Oscurita's Duchess, Edita trick Duchess Catriona of La Luminosa into a faux friendship, Bianca must find a way to save Duchess Catriona and her beloved La Luminosa. With evil lurking in every crevice and the clock ticking, Bianca and her band of devoted friends need to solve the mystery at hand before its too late.
An element of this novel that I dearly enjoyed was the friendship and the loyalty, faith and dependability that came with the package. The tight bond between Bianca and her companions is unmistakably rich in love.
Teaching this novel to a class is recommended as it will provide lessons on the morals of loyalty, faith and trust. On top of that it also offers up a twist on the Renaissance era that is much loved by loyal history fans. Older readers whom thoroughly enjoyed this tale would also enjoy Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden as it is solely based on history.
Samantha May (Student)