The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney

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Delaney, Joseph. The Last apprentice: Revenge of the Witch. Great Britain: The Bodley Head, 2004. 343 pages.

            “Again no reply, but invisible boots grated on the flags as they stepped toward me. Nearer and nearer they came, and now, I could hear breathing. Something big was breathing heavily,”(46).  Have you ever wondered who had to deal with these terrifying ghosts or evil witches that used to rue the land? The Last Apprentice by Joseph Delaney follows a thirteen-year-old boy struggling to learn this difficult and unearthly line of work. This intense and extraordinary novel shows that you must make mistakes to learn, but sometimes, these mistakes may almost cost you your life!

As the seventh son of the seventh son, it is Tom’s natural responsibility to protect the innocent of his county from the ghostly evils that only he can see and feel.  Tom undergoes serious training from the county Spook to learn this difficult job. He goes through days of trial and hard work, yet the one small mistake that Tom makes of a promise to a girl with pointy shoes forces him to unknowingly awaken the evil Mother Malkin; a feared, bloodthirsty witch.  Tom must protect his family, and many other innocent lives. He's also forced to make some choices of trust and who to give it to as he fights to overcome this dire mistake.
I enjoyed this book a lot.  Joseph Delaney’s first person narrative choice made the book interesting and easy to connect to.  Because I am also a thirteen-year-old boy, I understood the thoughts and feelings going through Tom’s mind during this intriguing adventure.  For example, I felt sympathy and understanding for Tom as he started this new job that became so suddenly intense.  The job of being a Spook came into a abrupt reality when it began with the night at Number Thirteen, Watery lane. As Tom's first trial test from the Spook, before he could start the job, he had to stay a night in an old “haunted house” with only one candle light and no matches. Tom experienced interactions with a chilling ghost and witnessed things that would make the average person pass straight out. As it almost did to Tom. When the scenes, feelings, and emotions were described during that night, I really felt like I was there, and I was the one in the house on that cold night. The way it was described striaght from the eyes and mind of another human being really helped me enter the world that Joseph Delaney wrote about.
I also thought that the actual character behind the wheel made the story very convincing as well.  Thomas J. Ward was a very reasonable and realistic Character.  Many novels have a main character that is already perfect at everything and seems perfectly accustomed to, what would normally be, dramatic changes.  Tom may have special abilities, but he is very modest and gives other people credit, like his mam.  Tom has no robotic sense of security in his eerie situations.  It is not as if he is already brave and perfect at handling ghosts and such.  No, he is just as afraid as any other boy would be in his position.  For example, the very fact that the entire plot and problem originate from Tom’s completely human-like mistake makes the story seem more realistic.  The dynamic character in this book and his realistic personality and thoughts make this book stand out and creates a good connection with the reader.
Along with these two great qualities, there are many other aspects that make The Last Apprentice:Revenge of the Witch a very good and interesting book.  I would recommend this book to young adults/ young teens, preferably boys.  I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series to come and hope that others will enjoy it as much as I did.

Review by

Louie K 





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