Ken Kugler's Reviews > Grimalkin the Witch Assassin

Grimalkin the Witch Assassin by Joseph Delaney
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Feb 19, 12

Read in February, 2012

I don’t know if this book was written to counter the anti woman things I have heard about Joseph Delaney’s’ The Last Apprentice series. I don’t see It although I could stretch my imagination to encompass it.
This book, The Last Apprentice: Grimalkin the Witch Assassin, is told by Grimalkin. She has a rollicking story to tell in which she has to find a way to finally rid the world of the Fiend. Her story includes why she hates him so much as well how she became the Witch Assassin. It seems that she does have a strong set of ethics and they are very well thought out and clear. Her word is binding and she when she gives her word she keeps it. She is very protective of her friends and her apprentice.
The story revolves around Grimalkim, her apprentice, Thorne and the severed but still living head of the Fiend and the quest to once and for all rid the world of the Fiend.
The story is a quick paced adventure that has back stories that explain a whole lot about Grimalkin. The flashbacks are, for the most part, not contrived but are part of the unfolding story.
There are lots of feelings expressed that followers of the series would not expect. They help add a lot more depth to the characters. It did not feel the series needed it but now with it there you can say that parts of the story already told make more sense.
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message 3: by Awake at Midnight (last edited Jul 09, 2012 12:32PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Awake at Midnight I have not seen anything "anti-woman" in any of Delaney's work. Yes, his villainous witches are all women and evil, but the protagonists are also female --strong, intelligent ones, at that. All of his characters and mythological creatures have both a dark side and a good side. Anyone examining the treatment of witches must also look at Tom's Mam as a strong leader and role model.


message 2: by Ken (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ken Kugler I did not see it at first either but a couple of YA librarians, one who turned me on to this series, pointed it out to me. It is what I see also now but I love the story and the direction that Delaney is taking it.


Awake at Midnight You're right, The Spook character is definitely a misogynist, but I didn't find it representative of Delaney's overall message, so I found what Joseph Delaney himself had to say about it:

A minority of critics have felt the depiction of women errs towards misogyny. Are you conscious of the gender of your characters as you are writing and in what ways do modern values constrain or challenge the writing of a realistic book?

The Spook says: ‘Never trust a woman!”. This is not my view - it is that of a fictional character. Aware that people might be offended, I almost cut that line. How glad I am that I didn’t! It forced me to consider the character of John Gregory and why a man I was shaping as a hero would say that to an apprentice in his very first lesson. The Spook’s misogynistic views are shaped by his past experiences. He is flawed; not perfect. In uttering that controversial line he gave me book three, ‘The Spook’s Secret’. There we find out why he thinks in that way.

Some of the representation of women in the series is very positive indeed. Mam is a strong character and so too is Alice in her own way. It’s not just a book for boys. In the future I’d like to write a book that tells the tale of Alice in the years before she met Tom.


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