Kat Hooper's Reviews > Revenge of the Witch

Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney
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's review
Apr 12, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: audiobook
Read from July 24 to 26, 2011

ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Thomas Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son. Therefore, his mother has always planned to apprentice him to the Spook — the traveling exorcist who services the surrounding villages, ridding them of ghosts, witches, ghasts, boggarts, and other troublesome creatures. The Spook performs a nasty, dangerous, and necessary job for the community, and he’s well respected, but his line of work makes him an outsider — people just aren’t comfortable around him. Thomas doesn’t want to become the next Spook — the Spook’s life is hazardous and lonely — but as the seventh son, he doesn’t have other options and he doesn’t want to disappoint his mother.

As Thomas begins his apprenticeship, he starts to learn a lot about the handling of supernatural creatures and he discovers that many of the former apprentices failed... as in died on the job. Then, when the Spook leaves town, a creepy little girl tricks Thomas into freeing a malicious and powerful witch who starts terrorizing Thomas and his family.

Revenge of the Witch, the first episode of a children’s fantasy series called The Last Apprentice in the US and The Wardstone Chronicles in the UK, is fast-paced, exciting, and absolutely terrifying. I liked it immediately when I started listening to it on audio (Harper Audio), especially with Christopher Evan Welch’s wonderful narration, so I picked up a copy for my 12-year-old son at the library (I prefer for my kids to read with their eyes). But that was before I got to the really scary part. Now I’m not so sure that my son can handle Revenge of the Witch — it’s that frightening. This is a book for kids who like to be afraid.

The hardcover version has some extra features — scary illustrations and a copy of Thomas’s journal in which he takes notes as the Spook teaches him. Revenge of the Witch has a satisfying conclusion, but it’s clearly only Thomas’s first adventure and Joseph Delaney has left us with plenty of questions about Thomas, his family, and his new friend that are sure to be answered in later installments. Children who can handle the fright (and teens and adults, too) will definitely want to continue with Curse of the Bane.
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