Author: Joseph Delaney
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Length: 98 pages
Source: eGalley from Netgalley
‘This is the entrance to the Witch Well and behind that door you’d face your worst nightmare. Don’t ever go through there.'
Night falls, the portcullis rises in the moonlight, and young Billy starts his first night as a prison guard. But this is no ordinary prison. There are haunted cells that can’t be used, whispers and cries in the night... and the dreaded Witch Well. Billy is warned to stay away from the prisoner down in the Witch Well. But who could it be? What prisoner could be so frightening? Billy is about to find out...
An unforgettable ghost story from the creator of the Wardstone Chronicles (Last Apprentice) series.
Illustrated throughout by the incredible Scott M Fischer, this beautifully produced book will make the perfect Halloween gift.
Protagonist: Billy is an orphan who has recently taken up a job as a guard for a local prison. Of course once he gets there he discovers far more than he bargained for. Since this story is so short, being able to easily read it in under an hour, there wasn't all that much character development. That being said I could still get a pretty good feeling as to what type of character Billy is, hard working, loyal, and, while not the bravest of the bunch, can persevere in frightening situations.
World-Building: This story takes place in the same world as the Last Apprentice series by the same author. While there isn't that much world-building in this book, with it being more like a short story than a novella, there are some references to the Last Apprentice series, nothing major and nothing truly spoilery, but just a few things to tie the two stories together.
Predictability: So I really didn't expect where this book was going. I think for like, the first four chapters or so I understood how the story was going to unfold, but as the end drew nearer the story took some unexpected twists and turns.
Ending: So as I said before the ending of this story is where things get a bit unpredictable. At first I assumed a few things were going to happen and well, it turns out that I was totally and completely wrong, and secondly I didn't expect the story to end as darkly as it did. I know Joseph Delaney isn't necessarily the king of fairy tales and happy endings but even so this was unexpected.
This is a beautifully crafted and highly entertaining short story. I'd say that even though this story lands somewhere in the lower-YA age group that anyone could enjoy it and that it might be scary, but in a good way, for children 7-12. Perfect for a spooky Halloween story.