I recently saw a movie trailer for Seventh Son, an action / fantasy film. It caught my interest. Knowing that many, many movies are based on books, I did a little digging. Turns out, the movie is actually based on the first two books in The Last Apprentice (The Wardstone Chronicles, as it was originally published in the U.K.) series, written by Joseph Delaney. This book, and perhaps the series, falls into my search for the #NextYaCraze. And I can easily see it becoming a sensation.
I read Revenge of the Witch (The Last Apprentice, Book 1) in one day. The basic dust jacket flap synopsis of the young adult novel states: For years, Old Gregory has been the Spook for the county, ridding the local villages of evil. Now his time is coming to an end. But who will take over for him? Twenty-nine apprentices have tried—some floundered, some fled, some failed to stay alive. Only Thomas Ward is left. He’s the last hope, the last apprentice.
My take. Thomas comes from a large family. He is the seventh son on a farm. His older siblings are moved out, and working, except for Jack. Jack and his pregnant wife live in the farmhouse. He is going to take over the land and continue in their father’s place. It is the father’s role to ensure employment for his kids. By the time he reached the seventh son, all of his favors have been used up. Old Gregory, the Spook, needs an apprentice, and only takes on seventh sons. Mam (Thomas’ mom), had sent the Spook a letter, and with that Thomas will spend a month with Old Gregory to see if being a spook is something Thomas wants to do with his life.
A Spook is a lot like a dentist. No body cares for dentists. Being a spook is a lonely job, where ridding towns of evil encourages nasty looks from locals. Spooks are feared. Ignored. Picked on. That is until they are needed. Thomas isn’t certain he is going to appreciate such an ostracized way of life. The training consists of learning the layout of the land, dealing with a variety of evils, and keeping a journal to ensure history is recorded, and can be then called upon by future spooks.
Like any apprentice, Thomas makes mistakes. Unfortunately, his mistakes do more than just put his life in danger. When he crosses paths with a witch, the errors made put the lives of Old Gregory and his family in jeopardy. Thomas is faced with two choices, man up and meet the danger head on, or run away.
With help from his teacher and an unexpected ally, Thomas must figure out how to combat against powerful witches and other creatures in order to fix the mess he’d made.
There are currently, and I believe only to be, thriteen novels in the series. My goal, after reading the first, and about to start the second, is to read and review them all. I say this, because I enjoyed the first book. The characters are very well drawn, and the set up to build the series is obvious.
Revenge of the Witch was an easy read, and highly entertaining. There was plenty of action, and unexpected twists and turns. While it is a YA novel, the theme and implications, the lessons and situations, should be engaging enough to satisfy any fantasy / horror / YA / NA fanbase.