Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Book Review: Curse of the Bane (The Last Apprentice #2)

Release Date: August 29, 2006
Author: Joseph Delaney
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Length: 480 pages
Source: Purchased Book

Now it's the dark's turn to be afraid

The Spook and his apprentice, Thomas Ward, deal with the dark. Together they rid the county of witches, ghosts, and boggarts. But now there's some unfinished business to attend to in Priestown. Deep in the catacombs of the cathedral lurks a creature the Spook has never been able to defeat; a force so evil that the whole county is in danger of being corrupted by its powers. The Bane!

As Thomas and the Spook prepare for the battle of their lives, it becomes clear that the Bane isn't their only enemy. The Quisitor has arrived, searching for those who meddle with the dark so he can imprison them—or worse.

Can Thomas defeat the Bane on his own? Is his friend Alice guilty of witchcraft? And will the Spook be able to escape the Quisitor's clutches?



Protagonist: Tom Ward has been very successful in his apprenticeship to the Spook, in fact, the first chapter of this book is a testament to how far he's come in such little time, but with success comes a bit of a big head for the lad. Ironically, while Tom is our protagonist and the entire book is told from his point of view, he's definitely more or less along the ride for the Spook's tale as Joh Gregory's past is brought up quite a bit in this book and there are some interesting parallels between him and Tom. I wouldn't say that Tom had any sort of overt character arc in this story, he's still learning from his master and listening to his instincts. He's a great character, he's flawed in a lot of ways, he has a long way to go, but his journey in this book was a great look into his journey overall.

World Building: As I said this story is more focused on the Spook's past, and the Spook is a very interesting character as he has a lot of viewpoints that I don't agree with at all and what I love is that Tom will also point that out, but at the same time there's still valuable knowledge to learn from the Spook, and getting to learn more about his past it becomes almost obvious where some of his biases come from. In addition to learning more about the Spook, this book almost acts more like a "Monster of the Week" episode of a supernatural show, in this adventure the monster they're up against is fierce and deadly, and he's just the tip of the iceberg as the world gets fleshed out even more by introducing the Quisitor, a man who believes the Spook to be a warlock worthy of a fiery death. There was a whole lot more to rediscover in this book and I forgot how dense with world building it could get at times.

Foreshadowing: As this book is a reread for me, I knew mostly what happened in this book, but as I said before I forgot a good deal of things and sort of spread them into the rest of the series. There's a good deal of foreshadowing in this book, though not necessarily for the story being told. While I did see certain things pop up that hinted toward this story's conclusion, what was interesting was seeing just how many things that don't appear until much later in the books are mentioned in some way in this book. Sometimes when I read long series, it seems that the authors don't quite know where their story is going but after rereading this book it's obvious Delaney had a very good idea where he was taking this story.

Ending: The final climax of this story is very intense and while the tension does sort of dissipate at one point, it's still a really pulse-pounding ending. The end really serves to preview what's to come up with the next installment and show that we aren't quite done with a few things. I love the almost diary style writing of this series because there's always room for the small epilogue that sort of catches the reader up with how things are faring between books and set up what's to come.


While this isn't my favorite installment of this series, I honestly haven't found anything wrong with it, in fact, it holds up really well after it's been so long since I first read it. The characters are fantastic, the world is slowly growing, the writing is phenomenal and I can't help but want to continue the series right now.


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