Thursday, April 16, 2015

Book Review: Revenge of the Witch (The Last Apprentice / Wardstone Chronicles #1) by Joseph Delaney

Genres: YA, Middle Grade, Paranormal, Supernatural, Magic
Format: Hardcover (Amazon)
Length: 343 pages
Release Date: September 6, 2005

Book Club (April Book of the Month): Nerds and Novels (SoCal Chapter)
Reading Challenges: 2015 Goodreads Challenge
Capturing witches. Binding boggarts. Driving away ghosts. 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.

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... 

I enjoyed this book every much, especially all the illustrations. It served mostly as an introduction to the series, and I was okay with that. Delaney's writing style kept me interested, the plot being laid out with a nice rise and fall, slow pacing at just the right times then dialing up the action, which made my reading experience all the more enjoyable.
I didn't really connect with the main character, Tom, due to the fact that he more so "told" the story rather than "lived" the story. Perhaps it's his age that didn't provide the depth I was hoping for, or the fact that this is a more of a middle grade level book than YA. Not sure what it was about Tom, but I do see the potential for him to develop into something more.

What I enjoyed the most about the book was all supernatural elements and the lore that was developed. I am intrigued by the idea of the Spook, and also am curious to learning more about the current Spook's history. I also liked the supernatural baddies introducedghasts, boggarts and witches. I liked the coding/rating system employed and the symbology used to show the varying types of creatures and their associated powers.  

My favorites were the witches. Witchcraft and magic have always interested me, and I really like the four types introduced in this bookthe malevolent, the benign, the falsely accused and the unaware. Though, I could put a feminist hat on and be offended by Delaney's comment to "never trust a girl in pointy shoes". However, Delaney redeemed himself quickly afterward saying that girls are more clever than men which makes them dangerous, and often know/see things that men can't see. So true!

FINAL THOUGHTS:: There really isn't too much to elaborate on. Overall, I liked the book. It was a quick read, and I liked the world building and the direction of the story is going in. Most likely, I will continue with the series.

“He who never makes a mistake never makes anything. It's part of learning the job.”
― Spook

“My dad once told me that women know things that men don't. That sometimes they have a certain look in their eyes, but when you see it, you should never ask them what they're thinking. If you do they might tell you something you don't want to hear.”
― Tom

“If we're afraid, sometimes there are things that can feed on that fear. Fear makes it worse for us. The trick is to concentrate on what you can see and stop thinking about yourself. It works every time...”
― Spook

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