Revenge of the Witch (The Last Apprentice #1)

 
4.0
 
3.0 (3)
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Revenge of the Witch (The Last Apprentice #1)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
September 06, 2005
ISBN
9780060766184
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Capturing witchesBinding boggartsDriving away ghostsFor 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.

Can Thomas succeed? Will he learn the difference between a benign witch and a malevolent one? Does the Spook's warning against girls with pointy shoes include Alice? And what will happen if Thomas accidentally frees Mother Malkin, the most evil witch in the county ... ?

Editor reviews

1 reviews

English Folklore Galore
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
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.
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User reviews

3 reviews

Overall rating 
 
3.0
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3.0  (3)
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easy reading
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
0.0
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Reader reviewed by Dancerdork

A quick moving fantasy for the younger teens. Its about a young boy taking up the last job any one wants. the job of a spook. he seems to be to sweet and weak for the job but quickly proves everyone wrong. you wont want to put it down and find yourself reading over 100 pages a day. its very good cheap.
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Very...
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
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0.0
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0.0
Reader reviewed by EshInoBi

This book was VERY, very, boring at the beginning. I don't mean to exaggerate, but it's not the book that'll capture your attention quickly. But, of course because of it's interesting-ness coming, I learned to come to love it. Thomas Ward is the 30th apprentice of John Gregory, the County's 'Spook'. The trade of being a Spook is helping other people ward away the dark. In this book, Tom is mixed with witches, because some are malevolent or benign, and he learns to trust a witch and become friends with her. This was quite interesting at around the middle, but the beginning did not capture my interest. Had I no other book to read, I would've stopped. But, because of this extraordinary book, I continued and am looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series. It wasn`t actually that scary =P
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Spooky and Not All That Absorbing
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
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0.0
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Reader reviewed by TheBookworm

Spooky and Not All That Absorbing

Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney
3 out of 5 stars

Revenge of the Witch Book One in The Last Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney was good in its own way.

Tom Wards time has finally come. Its his turn to find a trade. Except his father has run out of favors, but that is to be expected. It was a miracle that he even found jobs for his six eldest sons. What trade could a seventh son of a seventh son do? Toms Mam, of course, has the answer. The next day the Spook Old Gregory stops by and what do you know? Tom Ward is the new Spook apprentice. But Tom isnt excited.

A Spook daily deals with boggarts, ghosts, ghasts, and witches. While in the dark remind you. Must travel on foot. Also they eat very little while they are doing this traveling. A Spook is faced with do or die situations at every turn. AND not to mention the life of a Spook is a lonely one. Everyone is scared and frightened by what they do, even though it is to protect them from the Dark. But Tom Ward doesnt have time to think about loneliness, right now he is just trying to stay alive.

The layout and choice of words was almost flawless. The chapters were manageable sizes and also understandable. I was able to follow along with the storyline without getting confused.

It was well written. But it just didnt grab me. I wanted and did finish the book, but I didnt feel any connection with the characters. No special interest in them besides wondering if they would live or not. It was a book that I will remember for maybe a month, but it was nothing that I will remember or cherish for months to come.

The Last Apprentice was really just a darker version of Septimus Heap.

Date Reviewed: August 8th, 2008
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