Saturday, 26 October 2013

Review: The Spooks Apprentice by Joseph Delaney

|Pages: 324 | Series: The Spook's Apprentice #1 | Release Date: January 1 2004 | Published: Random House | Source: Library | Format: Hardback|Goodreads|
|Book Depository

A wonderful and terrifying series by a new writer about a young boy training to be an exorcist. Thomas Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son and has been apprenticed to the local Spook. The job is hard, the Spook is distant and many apprentices have failed before Thomas. 

Somehow Thomas must learn how to exorcise ghosts, contain witches and bind boggarts. But when he is tricked into freeing Mother Malkin, the most evil witch in the County, the horror begins . . .

My Review: 

The thing that really motivated me to pick up this novel was actually two things: 

1) One of my favourite Youtube book reviewers, Cass Jay Tuck, did an amazing review of the series, without spoilers, that really made me eager to read the book. The way she talked about the series made me know I would like it. 

Check out that video below: 

2) The second thing that made me put the book on hold in my public library was the movie hype. The book is being , like most YA / Middle Grade books this year, made into a movie. The movie is called "Seventh Son", Click Here to see the Imdb page. Although the movie has a much older cast than the novel,  I'm still excited to see it. (That is another topic for another post entirely!)

Now on to the review. I was so happy to pick this book up from the library as I had seen it for a good price in a bookshop but even after all the hype I'd heard, I was still a little hesitant to spend my money on it. I shouldn't have been. 

The book was great. When I was reading I got that wonderful feeling you get when you read the first novel in a series for the very first time. The feeling of everything about the world being new, the feeling of excitement you get when the characters begin to develop and reveal more of themselves for the first time. I can agree with people who say that if you like the Percy Jackson novel, you will most likely also enjoy this.

The plot of the novel was really good. I don' think I've read many novels about "Spooks" or demon / ghost hunters before. The plot was very mysterious. I enjoyed the mystery element as it really sucked me into the story and also made me want to learn more and more about the characters pasts and inner thoughts. There were so many different elements to the plot from the magical aspect, to the good versus evil point. There were also a lot of plot twists where I thought "oh, yeah . It's obvious what is going to happen.....wait what ?!!" and just like that my expectations were met. The novel had so many unexpected plot twists that were wonderful . 

The pacing of the novel was also really good. Although at the time I was a little annoyed that the novel only reached the blurbs information by the 120 page mark, but now I realise that because of that you were allowed more time to revel in the world of the novel and see where the characters were coming from to bring them to the events of now. I loved the varying pace, it wasn't all fast paced as you were allowed scenes to soak up the world. I also liked that each chapter did not end on a cliff hanger, you were allowed to take breaks and read at your leisure. Trust me, you do not need constant cliff hangers to keep you reading this book ! 

I was also really happy that the novel didn't read like a stereotypical middle grade / children's fiction novel. There were some definite moments in the novel that would attract the attention of adults and teenagers alike. There was a warning on the back of my novel saying, "Do Not Read After Dark.." and at first I thought "C'mon, this is a middle grade book, it can't be scary". I was wrong. There is a reason I read this in October! There were some really frightening scenes and stories within the novel that really made me stop for a moment and think about them. For example the one in the house at the beginning, and the "Alice Arm" thing at the end....if you've read the book, you know what I'm talking about! 

The characters of the book were all so different and real. The main character Tom was so real, I felt I could pluck him off the page. He was a great protagonist and is on his way to growing into a strong character. His relationship with his mum was one of the most interesting things for me and I hope we get to learn more about his mum's mysterious nature. The Spook, or Old Gregory, was also an amazing character. I could see him as being a father figure for Tom, he is very fair and protective but also wise and cautious. He was really interesting.  

Some of the more "not-so-good" characters like Mother Malkin were also really interesting. I really liked the sinister quality her character added to the plot of the novel . She is a villain to be reckoned with. I have a feeling we may see her return in future novels. Alice is not a bad character, she is also confused as to whether she is good either. She is on the fence. Alice was a character that at first seemed like bad news, but after a while really grew on me. Her friendship with Tom was really nice, and I really hope it develops in future novels. 

The writing style of the novel was great. Joseph Delaney's use of horror and fantasy really worked well with the plot of the novel . I also felt that the spooky and scary scenes really added another element to the novel and would possibly add to the enjoyment of an older reader. The use of stories, legends and myths within the novel itself was also a really good bonus. I liked the varying chapter lengths and the use of descriptive language and dialogue and felt they all added to my enjoyment of the novel. 

Overall I really enjoyed the novel. I feel it has set the foundations of a good series and I am eager to read the next novel. 


Five Star Novel 

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1 comment:

  1. Yay! I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I did too. And I'm excited about the film (though both my boys who, admittedly, are a little young for it said the trailer was 'too scary') I have quite a few of the sequels to this on my TBR shelf but haven't quite gotten around to them as yet...