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?
©2005 Joseph Delaney; (P)2005 HarperCollins Publishers
"Delaney grabs readers by the throat and gives them a good shake in a smartly crafted story." (Booklist)
I actually bought this book on my kindle first- but the dialect used by the characters was a little distracting and I had a really hard time getting past the fist ten percent. Last night I decided to download the audio book while at work since I had gotten to a particularly sad part in The Return of the King and I needed a break. I am so glad I did. The narrator really brought this to life. I listened all night and I really didn't want to go to sleep this morning. He did a marvelous job with consistency so you always knew which character was speaking. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series and possibly listening along. I wish this was an immersion read so I didn't have to catch myself up by flipping through so many pages. It was worth the extra trouble though. This is a fun story. It has memorable lines such as the fathers advice on women. I highly recommend this if you need a quick walk through a fantasy world.
I liked this book a lot. Can't wait for the movie. I wish it was longer, that's my only real complaint. It's an interesting twist on wizard and witches. Reminds me a bit if Harry potter but a bit darker in nature
Young Tom Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son. We meet him at thirteen, that year when a young boy is sent to apprentice with a local journeyman of one kind or another. But as the youngest of seven, his options are drastically limited. The eldest will take on the farm. The butcher has already apprenticed one of his brothers, as has the local carpenter and so on. Tom isn't sure what will become of him.
Until the County Spook appears at their gate. Tom finds out his mother has written to the man, offering her son as apprentice to the one person in his life that terrifies him. Not that Tom has ever met the Spook, but what the man does! Lifting curses, fighting bogarts - hunting witches. It's a solitary life, and not one Tom is sure he wants at all.
It never occurred to me as I listened that this was a young adult read. The main character is a boy of thirteen, but while the main character is learning and making mistakes, they are the kind of mistakes that come from inexperience, not stupidity masquerading as inexperience, and I appreciated that. It's a tale of dark magic, lonesome heroes, and encounters with girls with pointy shoes. Not too long, not too short, but just right.
The main character doesn't follow advice just given to him. "Don't trust this kind of person." "Be wary of this kind of symptom." "Don't go here after dark." Then he immediately forgets that advice and goes and doe the exact thing he was just told not do! Perhaps this is something teens identify with, but it was frustrating to me as an adult.
I'd give Delaney another chance, but probably not with this series.
The one where it ended.
I was pretty disappointed. I think the story is supposed to evoke fear and be a "scary witch story" but it is lackluster in that department. I just came off a streak of really good books, and this one is targeted at teens, so perhaps my expectations were too high.
I wouldn't not recommend this book unless you are a teen looking for flat characters who can't follow advice from adults, but still manage to muddle though (despite an obvious lack of ability, sense, and experience in the topic at hand). The setting was a bit sketchy too: it was unclear to me if this was supposed to be medievalish, or not. There are no mention of weapons in the entire book that I can remember. With magical beasts, the reference to Latin and Greek kinda threw me off. Is it supposed to be earth or not?
Myst/thrillers, some contemporary and ✨fun fantasies✨are my favorites but always open for a good story.
I liked this book much more than I thought I would. It is supposed to be a YA series but I think it is just good fantasy. Tom, our main character, is the seventh son of the seventh son and when he becomes 13 his parents send him off with "The Spook". He is to train as his apprentice to learn to fight and protect his county from the bad paranormal entities that are a constant threat. I really liked all the characters in this book, even and the bad characters were interesting and original. Tom is a young man but seems to have an old soul and the maturity to handle himself, I think that is why it did not feel like a YA to me. The Spook is teaching Tom about witches, ghosts, braggarts and obsession, but, what he is really trying to teach him is to use and trust his own instincts. Overall not a thriller but not silly either, just enough adventure to keep it moving along without becoming too wordy or over explaining every thing.
Christopher Welch has great tone and cadence to his voice and did a great job with different voices without going over the top. I hope this series just keeps getting better and better, I will be reading the second book.
Might as well buy them all now as after the first you'll be too hooked to stop! Please Mr. Delaney hurry and write more, I'm lost for what to do now!! Very additive!! Very well done!
Wonderful characters, well written, very imaginative
Love his voice and the passion he puts into the performance
I beg for more of these stories, I am attached to these characters.
This is the beginning of Tom's story, his apprenticeship. Tom is nervous and prone to make mistakes and he has just made two of the worst of his early career and his not even sure he wants this career. Tom is the seventh son of a seventh son and he just was given the opportunity to apprentice with the Spook. What is a Spook you ask? He is the man deals with all that bumps in the night and wakes up children when they scream. But as the first month of his apprenticeship is finished Tom has made a mistake and hides it from the Spook. So after Tom fails to convince his mom to let him quit and move home he is left to deal with the mistakes by himself untrained as he is, so begins his adventures.
Delaney has brought a darker side of the young reader’s side of fantasy with this book and hopefully the next books in the series to come. As a reader from a young age of fantasy novels it’s nice to see some new ideas come out that I can share with my kids. Christopher Evan Welch does a great job of narrating this book and I look forward to listening to more books in which he narrates. I recommend this book to fantasy readers of all ages it is a quick read or listen with more to offer than it first appears to offer.
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