The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch
For years, Old Gregory has been the Spook for the county, ridding the local villages of evil. Now his time is coming to an end. But who will take over for him? Twenty-nine apprentices have tried—some floundered, some fled, some failed to stay alive.
Only Thomas Ward is left. He’s the last hope, the last apprentice. (Goodreads)
I just happened upon this book at a yard sale a few weeks ago and was immediately drawn to the cover. Holographic creepy hooded dude walking in a graveyard with a bunch of dead trees? Don’t mind if I do! And then when I read the synopsis and saw it was a YA book about the village spook and witches and boggarts and ghosts (oh my!), of course I brought that sucker home with me!
I love reading more easy/quick reads when I’m feeling like I’m stuck in a slump. I’ve been making more time to read lately, but I was just really feeling like taking it easy for a book or two. And this was the perfect book for that. It’s directed at a younger audience, so the language was pretty simple. Thought this was also a downfall for me, cause at times it was a little too simple. Like I get that it’s for YA readers, but you don’t have to spell everything out for them. Have more faith in your readers, man. I promise they can pick up what you’re puttin’ down.
The pacing could’ve been better, too. The first half the book was just setting up the story. It didn’t quite get to the point of being boring for me, but I did find myself wondering when the good bits were gonna start. There was some great imagery every so often, though. Simple enough lines that just creaked opened those imagination chambers.
“Soon we were walking down through the narrow cobbled streets, keeping pressed close to the grimy walls to make way for carts heaped with black lumps of coal, wet and gleaming with rain. The huge shire horses that pulled them were straining against their loads, hooves slipping on the shiny cobbles.”
The biggest reason this book got 3 stars from me is because the characters are nothing special. I loved the idea of a town spook whose job was to get rid of all the spooky things in town, but the character of the spook totally fell through for me. His apprentice, the star of the story, had his moments (not totally believable moments, in my opinion), but I was far more interested in the super dangerous witch with red eyes who was living inside of a pit and thirsting for the blood of children. Give me a version of this book told from her perspective!
There was one character who stood out: Alice. The girl with pointy shoes. The girl who doesn’t want to become a witch like her aunt but who’s destined to become neither a good nor a bad witch but rather something in between — the most dangerous kind. I loved her character! I feel like this book could’ve been amazing if it was written about her instead of the spook’s apprentice. He was just so… bland. Idk.
Overall, it was a pretty decent read. It was a nice break and an interesting enough story. The illustrations were great, too. I love a book with illustrations, and this one had some great ones scattered throughout. Helped add to the feel of the story.