Monday, September 3, 2012

The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney

For years, Old Gregory has been the Spook for the county, ridding the local villages of evil. Now his time is coming to an end, but who will take over for him? Twenty-nine apprentices have tried--some floundered, some fled, some failed to stay alive. Only Thomas Ward is left. He's the last hope--the last apprentice.


Genre: fantasy; supernatural

Rating: 4/5

 The Good
  • The peril is believable. All the monsters that Tom comes up against seem believably terrifying. Granted, this is more a junior high book, so there is a limit to how scary it actually gets, but Tom is very understandably in a dangerous job.
  • The conflict over what Spooks actually do is well done. Their job is terrifying and deals with things that scare people, therefore people are legitimately scared of them. It starts with Gregory explaining his strained relationship with his brother and continues as Tom starts to come in conflict with his own brother leading to a rather heartbreaking split with his family.
  • Tom makes good sense most of the time. Even his failure with feeding the witch he didn't carry through the whole way, a mistake that a lot of writers will have a character do (having them continue doing something obviously stupid even when it becomes obvious to the character that it's stupid). 
  • Alice is a nice neutral character. She's not bad per se and she's not good. She just is and has her destiny in her own hands. She's like a lot of us, the great grey area.
The Not So Good
  • I sort of got bored with it. I understand that this is written for younger readers, but there were times that I kept thinking "I just have to finish this book", not because it was compulsively readable, but because I knew it read fast. 
  • I didn't like Tom's mother. There is obviously more back story with her, but she basically locks her son into a horribly dangerous career that will isolate him and make him a social pariah without telling him much about it or giving him a choice. Then acts like he's being unreasonable when he tries to reject that outcome. For all the "Alice can choose her own fate" business, Tom certainly doesn't have a lot of choice about his. 
  • There isn't a whole lot of detail. I understand again that this book is for a lower reading level, but there wasn't a lot of explanation about a lot of things. 
Not a bad book, but I do hope the series expands from this one.

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