Book: Revenge of the Witch (The Last Apprentice / Wardstone Chronicles #1 Author: Joseph Delaney Release date: Aug 1st, 2006
Excerpt: "I was going to learn how to protect farms and villages from things that go bump in the night. Dealing with ghouls, boggarts, and all manner of wicked beasties would be all in a day's work. That's what the Spook did, and I was going to be his apprentice." Twelve-year-old Thomas Ward, as the seventh son of a seventh son, has no inheritance and is bored with farm work, and even though his new job will mean the superstitious villagers will forever shun him, he is eager to go off to adventure with the tall, hooded man he calls the Spook. His mother, a magical person herself, approves, and the Spook's teaching is strict but kind. But when Tom has only learned enough to be able to control their house-boggart, he is tricked by Alice, the young daughter of a witch family, into inadvertently releasing and then killing Mother Malkin, a witch the Spook has imprisoned in a pit. This is no polite wicca-type witch, but a snuffling, slime-trailing, cannibalistic creature reminiscent of Tolkien's nasgils. The story of Tom's escape from the reincarnated witch's hideous revenge is full of horrible details, as Alice helps, and then once again betrays him. This well-crafted novel marks an auspicious start for an exciting and fast series for young teens.
Review: Wow.. just.. WOW... I picked this book up at Borders last weekend and started reading it almost immediately. Now at first it took me awhile to get into it, but when it did... It was brilliant. I have to say quite refreshing to see all the things that go bumping through the night in their original forms. Our current literary culture has sort of white washed all things paranormal so that they're aren't scary anymore. That is not the case with this series. This book was written for mid-teens and here i am almost 25 and i got scared.
The setting it what i would say 17th century Europe. Young Tom is the seventh son of the seventh son and it is his mother's wish that he become a "Spook". Spooks are people who deal with all things evil, paranormal, or just not right. People need them, but they don't want to be around them. Needless to say Tom isn't looking forward to the job. It doesn't help matters that barely two weeks into his apprenticeship he meets Alice. A girl with pointy shoes. Someone the spook said he should avoid at all cost. That mistake basically sets forth the whole series and book.
It's after this point that Mr. Delaney starts to weave a suspenseful tail. Just like Tom you're not sure whom to trust and or what to do. All you know is that you have to keep on reading. Needless to say i've already ordered the next two books from amazon. ^^