Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Recommendation: The Spook's Apprentice by Joseph Delaney


As a kid I always felt kind of special because I was one of four brothers and sisters.  That was until I read Susan Cooper’s series The Dark is Rising.  My aspirations then reached much loftier heights and I desperately wanted to be the seventh son of a seventh son.  Due to slight gender and logistical issues, this never happened, but there is a soft spot in my heart for this awesome concept.

So I guess it’s fair to admit, I was always going to like, The Spook’s Apprentice by Joseph Delaney. This is the first book in The Wardstone Chronicles and the first film in the series, The Seventh Son is coming sometime possibly maybe one day. I’m a bit vague about the specifics because the release date keeps being pushed further and further into the future, it’s currently sitting at 2015.  Maybe they’re having trouble wrangling all the boggarts, ghouls and witches.

You can thank me later for the heads up about this book. Read the whole series now and then when the movie comes out everyone will be like, “Have you heard of The Seventh Son?” and you can be all, “Yeah you mean the seven books in the Wardstone Chronicles? Yeah, they’re all right.”

Thomas Ward, (everyone’s favourite seventh son) has been apprenticed to the local Spook, where he will learn how to bind boggarts, contain witches and exorcise ghosts. This is far less cool than it sounds as many of the previous apprentices have met pretty sticky ends, and basically nobody likes Spooks. Nobody at all really, even your family starts to think you’re a bit weird.

In spite of this, Thomas has some great adventures. He’s not such a big fan of burying witches in the ground but he learns his lesson the hard way, when a bunch of witches take advantage of his kind heart.  His boss, The Spook is a weirdly appealing character; think a mash-up of your incredibly grumpy physics teacher, the local gravedigger and Superman.

If you like a bit of crazy fantasy then I would highly recommend this series. Maybe don’t read it late at night though; the cast of creepy characters aren’t all that encouraging for a good night’s sleep.

Title: The Spook's Apprentice (Book 1, Wardstone Chronicles)
Author: Joseph Delaney
ISBN: 9781782952459 
Published: 2004
Publisher: Bodley Head

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