The Last Apprentice: Curse of the Bane


Being the second book in the series by Joseph Delaney.

In case you couldn't tell, I was so enthused by my first encounter with Thomas Ward, Apprentice Spook, that I went right on to my second. And this was no disappointment--every bit as creepy, perhaps creepier, and deepening the questions of what it means to believe and how belief manifests itself.

More, we discover family secrets that make Thomas Ward the perfect defender against the dark.

The Bane is a spirit of such malignity that it was once worshipped as a God and given the sacrifice of the sons of the king of the Little People. The last of these sons imprisoned the Bane in the crypts beneath Priesttown and was subsequently done-in by it.

The present Spook's brother is attacked and killed by a malign boggart and the Spook (Gregory) goes to Priesttown for the funeral and to at last face down the bane. And the rest of the story ensueth.

The writing is crisp, taut, easy to read. The plot unfolds with small surprises and large and we learn more and more about this semi-medieval world.

Elements that may cause some Catholic discomfort--a malign Quisitor whose primary preoccupation is getting more and more money through the accusation and execution of the innocent; however, he remains completely blind to the real evil surrounding him--possibly because he is participating in it. There are also a few false priests. But never is the Church qua Church attacked nor is faith considered a bad thing. The lead characters are uncertain of their own faith and uncertain about the existence of God, sensing that there probably is one, but not believing that He is most perfectly revealed within institutionalized religion--although even that is a very soft position.

So, while I really enjoy these, and they are written for a quick-reading YA audience, I would caution any adult thinking of presenting these to children to read them carefully first to discern if there are elements that might be disconcerting or misleading. Nevertheless, recommended, certainly for adults. (Not because of content--there are no "adult" situations in the books.)

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on October 31, 2006 9:07 AM.

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