Tuesday, 12 May 2009

The Spook's Secret by Joseph Delaney



Pages - 453

Published by Random House Childrens Books in 2006

Challenges - 100+ books and Once Upon A Time.

This is the third installment of the Wardstone Chronicles which I have read. You can find the reviews for the first two here and here.

With each Spook's book I read, the story gets darker and darker and I am left craving more and this one was no exception.

This book finds Tom, Alice and the Spook preparing to spend winter in the Spook's winter home in Anglezarke. Before they leave, the Spook gets an unwanted visitor in the shape of his old apprentice, Morgan, who is now threatening him for something which he believes belongs to him. This really disturbs the Spook and they set off quicker than anticipated to the winter house.

The Spook's winter home is a bleak and forbidding place, with a cellar full of evil witches and nasty boggarts. Tom becomes concerned about the lamia witch Meg, who has stolen the Spook's heart and now cooks for them and keep the winter house clean, whilst under the influence of a powerful herbal drug, which makes her forget who she really is.

Whilst at the house the Spook and Tom are called to dispose of a rather nasty boggart which nearly kills the Spook. For weeks, his life balances between life and death and Tom does all he can with the help of Alice to save him. During this time, he receives a letter from home, discovering that his father has died. He has to leave the Spook to make the journey home in order to mourn with the rest of his family. On his journey, he encounters the Spook's ex apprentice Morgan who has really turned to the dark side and now conjures up ghosts to talk to the living. He blackmails Tom into helping him steal the grimoire ( a rather nasty book of spells) from the Spook in order to raise Golgoth the God of Winter. Tom has no choice but to help as Morgan has his father's spirit under a frightening spell.

This book is definitely a lot more darker than the first two, in the same way that the Harry Potter books get darker with each sequel. With this book, Tom, who has only been an apprentice for a year, but he has become so much stronger and has learnt so much about himself, he really is the hero of the book. His relationship with Alice has really blossomed and Tom is fully aware that she will play a big part in his future and by the end of the book, you get the impression that the Spook may have finally excepted this relationship too. Alice is a fabulous character who struggles to stay on the right side of goodness, constantly being pulled back to her witching ways. She is feisty and fearless and doesn't take any nonsense from anyone.

The book is fast paced from the second page on and you are thrown into the world of a Spook. It was over 450 pages, but I could not put it down and read it in two evenings.

The descriptions within the book are so vivid, you actuall feel like you are in Anglezarke on the freezing cold mountain, desperate to stop Morgan from raising the winter god.

As you can see I have become a big fan of the Spook's books and will definitely be heading to the library for the fourth installment.

An interesting couple of snippets of information about this book are as follows:

1)On Joseph's first talk as a published writer in a school in Adlington, he promised the school children he would feature Adlington as a location in a future book. This he did within book 3, and Babylon Lane right next to the school, is where the Spook's fictional brother Andrew has a locksmith shop in the book.

2) The Round Loaf featured in this book as where Morgan aims to raise Golgoth is a actually a famous Lancashire landmark and may be visited by anyone of reasonable fitness. The author once spent a cold and windy night there at a summer solstice waiting for the sun to come up.

After reading this book I was rooting around the Internet and I found that the series goes under another name in America. I believe they are called the The Last Apprentice books.

I really did enjoy this book and would definitely recommend this series again to any Harry Potter fans. They are just such fast paced page turning books that keep you up to the wee hours in the morning, when the shadows in your room start to flicker in your imagination! Be warned -read with the light on!

Thanks for stopping by.

4 comments:

  1. I have seen these in the library, hm, maybe I should check them out :D

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  2. I absolutely love the Spook's books. (They're "The Last Apprentice" here in the states) I've gotten a couple of my students into them as well.

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  3. I skipped most of your review because I'm still deciding in my head whether or not I want to give this series a try. Loved the extra bits of information about the books though!

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  4. More great books to check out! Great review, Viv!

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