The Last Apprentice – Revenge of the Witch reminded me of my childhood. A time when I’d pick up a Goosebumps or Animorphs book and get lost in the chilling adventures of aliens, ghosts, monsters, and ghouls.
While prancing through the stacks at the library, (because who really just walks through a library? I mean, honestly) my eyes fell on this gem of a book. Not only did the cover art draw me in, but the caution on the back made it impossible for me to head home without it. “WARNING: NOT TO BE READ AFTER DARK–ESPECIALLY PAGE 148.”
First thought? That’s gutsy. Second thought: I need to find out what’s on page 148. (Clever, very clever.)
So, I grabbed the first and second book in the series. And I was not disappointed 😀
The Last Apprentice opens to the Spook, Mr. Gregory, investigating his new potential apprentice, Tom Ward. As the seventh son of a seventh son, Tom has a lot of potential to be the next great Spook, but he is everything except excited for his new adventures. The prospect of being the #1 most hated individual in all the land certainly doesn’t sound appealing, nor does the idea of being completely friendless.
Not only that, but the Spook seems determined to kill Tom. Taking him to Hangman’s Hill, having him sleep over in a haunted house, and dealing with real life witches? This new apprenticeship sure seems dangerous.
And when Tom makes a deal with a girl who wears pointy shoes, his new life takes a spin for the worst.
I give this book a solid 4/5 stars. The eerie scratch board art made me anticipate every chapter and Joseph Delaney has a great way of creating a sense of dread as you dig deeper into the story.
As a middle grade/young adult book, it had quite a few creepy moments. Not nightmare inducing:
But enough to catch my breath and feel my heart rate skyrocket. All in all, I enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to reading the second book 🙂
If you’re interested in a fun adventure with a twist of the macabre thrown in, I highly recommend it!
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…?
About the Author
Joseph Delaney formerly taught media and film studies at a high school in Blackpool, England. He lives with his family in Lancashire, in the middle of boggart territory. Much of what he wrote in The Spook’s Series is influenced by Lancashire folk tales and places of local interest.
And fun fact, apparently the haunted house where the Spook takes Tom Ward is where Joseph Delaney lived until he was 11 years old.
About The Artists:
I’d also like to give a special shout out to the artist Patrick Arrasmith for the amazing artwork that he did for this book. When I picked up The Last Apprentice, the cover design blew me away and made me realize I had to take it home. You should definitely check out his website, he’s got a lot of stunning and unique pieces on there.
Also, for the U.K. editions, David Wyatt definitely deserves a mention for his stunning cover art on the originals! I tried finding a picture of him, but could only locate his artwork. So here’s a picture of the original cover art.
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Delaney, Joseph. The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch. Great Britain, The Bodley Head, 2004.