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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
I have looked forward to and enjoyed very much each of the new books in this series, and this one did not dissapoint, but I do have a couple of quibbles.

Firstly, yes, like other reviewers I missed the extra 100 or so pages, it was too short, only because I enjoy these books and so want them to be at least as long as the last ones.

But my big dissapointment is...why, why, why, before the series is complete, change the cover format? It was the different and not mainstream cover of The Spooks Apprentice that caught my eye and made me pick it up and bye it, and as a collector of childrens hardback books (the ones I like anyway) I have looked forward to completing this good looking set. THEN THEY GO AND CHANGE THE COVERS! When I first saw it advertised on Amazon I thought it must be an American version, but no, it wasn't. Why didn't they wait until the end and then if they wanted to they could have re issued the books with the new covers. I was not happy!

I wonder also about why the author has either put himself under so much pressure or been put under pressure from his publisher (I suspect the later) to write two additional books in addition to carrying on with the series. Why now, and is that why the Spooks Sacrifice was shorter? Why not finish the series and then write the two add on books. Fortunatlely, it didn't affect the quality of the writing, there was just less of it. I hope that the next book is a thicker one...real shame though about the cover change, although I guess children will like the new pictures, I'm a 43 year old child and I prefer the old covers, so there...whoever made the change I hope a big scarey boggart comes along and sits on your head.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 7 July 2009
Tom is back with his original master, passing the time with his studies when he gets attacked by an assassin. Forewarned by Alice in a method which the master Spook disapproves of, Tom manages to keep himself alive. However, assassins are the least of his worries when he's asked by his mother to return with. Back in Greece, where she normally lives, evil is brewing - more than just the Fiend. The Ordeen is making preparations to return, which would of course kill most people in the area and make the earth a terrible place to be. The condundrum facing Tom, is that if he joins his mother, he'll forsake all further training as a Spook.

I have deliberately with-held information about this, it's one of my favourite parts in the book. Tom faces a lot of internal conflict: naturally he has ties to his mother, even though he doesn't see her much, and wants to discover who she really is. He has strong ties with his current master, for he's taught him so much. And he naturally wants to help make the world a safer place to be. Being pulled in two directions provides much to think about.

There are a couple of moments in the story which took me completely by surprise - real, strong plot twists which match the twists in the previous book. This installment was perhaps more enjoyable than The Spook's Mistake because it delved into Tom's family life. I like learning how characters interact with their family, especially if contact is limited. Additionally, the whole Alice/Tom story line really blossoms. Not romantically - everything is kept blush free. It is Tom's desire to develop their friendship which clashes against his master's wish for the two youngsters to keep apart. Dark magic has no place in the life of light magic - at least that's how his master views the world. Unfortunately, just like life in our world, black and white is divided with varying shades of grey.

Even if this is the first Wardstone Chronicle's book you read, I whole-heartedly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 July 2009
First off, I am such a huge fan that I ordered thru UK rather than wait months for it to come to the USA. Unfortunately, I that found this book disturbing--and not in a good way. (Yes, I STILL gave it 3 stars). The story telling was great and I love the way Delaney creates a "chicken skin" type atmosphere...very nice.

But the first rule of writing is to make your characters "sins" forgivable...and I found it hard (and near impossible) to forgive Mam's sins. I know, it makes Alice and Tom perfectly suited but there are some sins of the "father" and in this case "mother" that can't help but leave a stain on the children. Now I'm not so sure how much I like either character.

I also found myself wanting to fast forward to the end of the book because unlike his other books where each page was an adventure and a scary kind of wonder to God-knows-where, in this book, we all knew about the big battle at the end and the only question was how it was going to unfold.

It appears there will be another book...let us hope that Delaney gives the reader a real reason to continue to root for Tom and Alice.
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on 31 August 2011
The sixth book in the Wardstone Chronicles keeps up the excellent pace and thrilling plot lines, this time around Tom is called upon by his Mam who desperatley needs his help back in her homeland of Greece where one of the old Gods is about to return and wreak chaos and devestation upon the country and then beyond. Tom finds himself fighting alongside Alice, the Spook and his mentor for six months Bill Arkright, but to the Spooks anger and apprenhension the witches from Pendle who now regret their decision of releasing the Fiend are fighting alongside them as is the witch assasin Grimalkin who wants nothing more than to slay every ally of the Fiends.
The action is fast and exciting and many unanswered questions from the previous books have answers revealed, the twists in the latest novel are suprising and unexpected and leave possibilities wide open for the future volumes. This installment is less scary than the Spooks Mistake but that is not a bad thing as the lamias are back and meaner than ever and want nothing more than to kill everybody they can.
The character development is as per usual very well done and every single one of the characters is fleshed out considerably, particularily Grimalkin who we began to learn a lot more about in Spooks Mistake, Mam also has secrets to reveal and her character becomes much clearer as the book unfolds. Delaney's style of writing is very enjoyable and again the pages seem to flick past so quickly i was staring at the back page before i knew it.
If you haven't already read this sixth book then get it fast, if you are new to the Wardstone Chronicles i suggest starting from the beginning, because you will definitely not regret it.

Awesome!
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on 12 October 2009
Reading this to my son, I felt this was the best yet. The dark becomes yet darker and the divide between light and dark becomes ever more complex to discern. This series ought to have started to feel churned out by now, and going to Greece has the danger of 'I have run out of ideas in the County so I will repeat myself in another land' and yet Joseph Delaney in fact seems to be just getting into his stride. The story can't be put down and I was as keen as my son to get to the next chapter. I have no idea how the author will carry on as he has seriously upped the ante in the story line - a normal Boggart and Witch tale will not suffice from now on. I found out about this author through Lancashire Libraries but have bought every edition - and with this one as soon as it was out in hardback.
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This man is truly inspired. His books are wonderful filled with adventure and wonderful likeable characters. The stories are always fun and thoroughly interesting, those books you can never put down.

My sons loves him, my daughter enjoys his books and I just think hes wonderful after all he keeps my children reading.

If you are lucky enough to have a Borders near you he does the rounds for school talks and signings so its worth keeping your eye on his website as it keeps you upto date with details of all his furture signings and book talks.

I attended a school book talk session at our local Borders hes funny intelligent and so very interesting. If you get the chance its worth a visit.
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Since purchasing my collectionof The Spooks Books, I was dumbfounded when they decided to rebrand the original books dust jackets and opt for the new hologram ones.
Fortunately, Mr Delaney listened to his readers who wished to continue their collections of these fabulous books and agreed with the publisher to release a number of special edition dust jackets.
My only hope is that they continue to do this with the rest of the books to be released!
The Story of Tom and his family and his Master continue in much the same vain as the other 5 books.... if you enjoyed the others - youll love this one! Cant wait until it comes out as a movie.... Move over Harry Potter, Tom Ward is in Town!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 July 2014
The Spook's values are challenged in this the sixth book in the series. The storyline is still good but we do loose a couple of characters but gain insight into Tom's continuing apprenticeship.
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on 25 October 2009
If you like the others then this one is just as good. another exciting tale, dark and accessible to all ages from about 8+ yrs. The main things I like about these books are the fact they arent patronising at all - very dark and serious - nothing lightweight about these tales and this is a refreshing change from most young/ adolescent aimed books. Consumed it in 24 hours - only complaint about the whole series is I would love each book to be a bit longer and more indepth!... but then again I am 28 and not the target audience and perhaps younger readers will appreciate the fact that they dont go on forever!! :)
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The latest in the spook series and one that demonstrates the dangers to a spooks life with some stark choices and some of Tom's mysterious family past revealed. As usual beautifully written with some great prose, some wonderful description and above all else the author continues to keep the reader not only interested but fascinated with the characters. Add to this some seriously good story plotting, a great sense of pace and backed up with Joseph's own unique writing voice and its definitely a tale that will keep you glued to the last page. The final two novels (to date) are going to be hard to resist.
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