Review Detail

Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0

English Folklore Galore

A mature middle-grade fantasy—sporting a medieval feel and steeped in an eerie English folklore ambiance which, at times, drifts over the line into horror.

The story is told exclusively in the first-person past tense perspective of Tom Ward, the latest (and allegedly last) apprentice to the local “Spook.” Tom’s heritage and precise birth order (7th son of a 7th son) have qualified him as a banisher of things that go bump in the night. But Tom is a kind-natured, naive boy. And he has an awful lot of growing to do if he’s to survive his apprenticeship…

A gothic, paranormal sort of work that should appeal well enough to the entire range of a YA audience—despite the MC’s technical age. The prose is simple yet strong, and the telling is engaging. Delany has constructed a dreary, dangerous world and a sympathetically innocent character with which readers must navigate. Themes of friendship, honesty, courage, resourcefulness, and the extending of grace, all feature prominently.

Content Note:The horror aspects, though relatively brief, may be too intense for a younger MG audience. While not gory or gratuitous in any way, there ARE references to horrific violence committed against women and the brutal murder of small children. I’d advise a 12+ rating.

My biggest qualm regarding the plot centers around Tom’s mother. The woman obviously has some preternatural inclinations—prophesy being among her curiously innate abilities. She knows from the time of Tom’s birth what he will become. Indeed, she indicates to Tom’s master that she bore him specifically to serve that purpose. Yet, she’s apparently done nothing to ready Tom for any of the dangers and horrors she knows he will have to face. One would think a loving mother might have wanted to increase his odds of survival with a little advanced education. But, no. She’s sent a clueless adolescent boy off with no advantages outside of those that may lie hidden in his as-yet-indeterminate bloodline. That aspect became the biggest challenge to suspending my disbelief. (In all honesty, I doubt this is anything a younger audience would notice or be bothered by.)

A prime pick for those in the YA range looking for something darker, that still manages to leave much to the imagination. I’ll be glad to try out book 2 and see where the author seems to be taking this rather prolific series.

Was this review helpful to you? 

Comments

 
 
Ordering 
 
Already have an account? or Create an account
 
 
 
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Three Sides of A Heart: Stories About Love Triangles
You may think you know the love triangle, but...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
The November Girl
I am Anda, and the lake is my mother....
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Approximately Yours (North Pole, Minnesota)
Danny Garland is so out of Holly’s league. And...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A Penny Lost
Penelope Grace, usually forgotten under the shadow of her...
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Chasing Eveline
Sixteen-year-old Ivy Higgins is the only student at Carmel...
 
4.7
 
5.0 (2)
Good and Gone
When Lexi Green’s older brother, Charlie, starts plotting a...
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Glow
When thrift-store aficionado Julie discovers a series of antique paintings...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Stolen Secrets
After an abrupt move across the country to San Francisco,...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Somebody's Baby
Ever since Sloan won a reality singing competition, her music...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
White Rabbit
Caleb Roehrig, author of Last Seen Leaving, delivers another spellbinding...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Temptation of Adam
Adam Hawthorne is fine. Yeah, his mother left, his...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Undiscovered Country
In the aftermath of her mother's death, Cat recklessly...
 
3.8
 
0.0 (0)
Frazzled: Ordinary Mishaps and Inevitable Catastrophes
Things are looking up for Abbie Wu: this year...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Apex (Hunter Series #3)
Being a member of the Elite Hunter Command imperils...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Emerald Circus
Where is Wendy? Leading a labor strike against the...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
32718027.jpg
Step into The City of Brass, the spellbinding debut...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Dune (Dune Chronicles #1)
 
5.0
"Its a classic. Not much more I can add."
Sunshine at the Academy: Book 1 of the Sunshine Series
 
4.5
"I really enjoyed this book. It's a futuristic coming of age novel reminiscent of Harry Potter although no magic is..."
On A LARP
 
3.3
"In ON A LARP, Sid is known to be a hacker after a past school prank, and she's a good..."
Code Name Verity
 
4.3
"The year is 1943. The setting locations are England, and Nazi-occupied France. The book is told in a..."
Good and Gone
 
3.7
"Road tripping with a purpose, Good and Bad is a journey, the reader won't soon forget. Lexi's brother,..."
Glow
 
5.0
"'There's a certain kind of light that I should have been afraid of all along.' Radium was discovered..."
Blood Oath (The Darkest Drae Book 1)
 
5.0
"I’ve always enjoyed Kelly St. Clare’s series and I’ve always enjoyed Raye Wagner’s as well, but together, these authors are..."
Release
 
4.0
"Wildly original--and completely realistic--Release is a whirlwind of a tale, one that will leave you both completely confused, yet satiated...."
White (The Wings Trilogy, #1)
 
4.3
"With Claire's parents gone, she is uprooted and moves to Aurora with her sister. Here, she finds a new fascination..."
Stolen Secrets
 
4.3
"What worked: This is an amazing tale with an unique twist on the holocaust and the survivors. What I really..."
Somebody's Baby
 
4.3
"SOMEBODY’S BABY by Lurlene McDaniel is the perfect follow up to her novel LOSING GABRIEL, which I absolutely loved. I..."
White Rabbit
 
5.0
"Rufus just wants one day of semi-fun, something he hasn’t had since his ex-boyfriend, Sebastian, wrecked his heart. But then,..."
Goldeline
 
4.0
"Goldeline has found a rag tag family with Gruff and his bandits. They live in the forest and steal food..."
The Last Namsara
 
3.3
"Asha, daughter of the king, is feared and admired as the greatest dragon hunter. She is nicknamed the Iskari, after..."
The November Girl
 
4.0
"Anda lives on an island on Lake Superior. For most of the year, she’s there with her father, trying to..."
Approximately Yours (North Pole, Minnesota)
 
5.0
"It’s been years since Holly was in North Pole, Minnesota, the place she loved with her grandmother. But now with..."
It's Kind of a Funny Story
 
3.5
"A mature contemporary YA, set in New York City. The story is told in first-person present-tense, exclusively from the perspective..."
Daughter of the Burning City
 
5.0
"Daughter of the Burning City was an enticing, mysterious and compelling novel. It tells the story of Sorina, an illusion-worker..."
Code It! Create It!: Ideas & Inspiration for Coding (Girls Who Code)
 
5.0
"Interested in coding but not sure what products or activities you could do with it? Look no further than this..."
Team BFF: Race to the Finish! #2 (Girls Who Code)
 
4.0
"In this second installment in the Girls Who Code series, we follow Sophia and her friends as they enter a..."