Revenge of the Witch

The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch
by Joseph Delaney
MG fiction. 343 pp.
Greenwillow. 2005.

Thomas Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son. Because of this, he is qualified to become the apprentice to Old Gregory, the Spook for the county. But this is a difficult apprenticeship--Thomas is the Spook's thirtieth, and likely last, apprentice. As part of his training, he must learn to bind boggarts, drive away ghosts, and capture witches. Unfortunately, due to a promise Thomas made to Alice, a girl in pointy shoes (despite the Spook's warning against such girls), he must immediately learn to capture witches.

This is a well-paced and enjoyable book. Told in the first person, you are immediately drawn to Thomas and his fears of the supernatural and natural. It's difficult to leave your family behind to train for a thankless and lonely profession, one so dangerous that it will ultimately keep him from his family and from forming close friendships. This is also a rather good ghost story. Some of the witches are rather creepy and scary, but not so much to make the book inappropriate for its age range.

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