Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch

The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney

This is the first book in a fantasy series that follows the trial and tribulations of thirteen-year-old Thomas Ward. Tom, born the seventh son to a seventh son, is starting his apprenticeship, but instead of being a farmer or a blacksmith, Tom is going to be a Spook. Spooks protect the people of the county from the supernatural: witches, ghosts, boggards, etc. Each county has a Spook and it is a thankless but important task.

Spooks are almost as feared as the creatures they hunt. Old Gregory, Tom's mentor, has had 29 apprentices, some who have lived, some who have fled, and some who have died. Tom, it is prophesied, will be Gregory last apprentice and he has a lot to learn about his trade. One thing he needs to learn, never trust a girl with pointy shoes.

As we follow Tom through his first few months of training, we are given the basic understanding of what a Spook is and how Tom isn't ready to be one. As young heroes are apt to do, Tom messes up in a big way, but is determined to clean-up his own mistake. At times his naivete is frustrating, but the reader is compelled to keep reading.

Young readers will enjoy the adventure as well as the fantasy aspects of this story. While older readers will want to delve further into Tom and Gregory's world. I found this book quite enjoyable and I look forward to reading the sequel. I not only recommend this book to middle school and up, but I also recommend the audiobook which is done quite nicely as well.

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