Spook's: Slither's Tale: Book 11 (The Wardstone Chronicles) Hardcover – Special Edition, 25 Apr 2013
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He has chosen to live alone and although he uses the local humans as food, he has made a bargain with a local farmer that he will not touch the farmer's daughters in return for the farmer letting him have a cup of bullock blood whenever he wants it. The farmer has also made another trade with Slither and that is that when he dies, Slither can have his eldest daughter Nessa but take the other sisters to their Uncle and Aunt. The farmer is gored to death by his bull and then begins the strange story of Slither, Nessa and her two sisters, Bryony and Susan.
This is more of a stand alone book but I have a feeling that we will be hearing more about Slither in further books. I was pleased that Grimalkin the Witch Assassin put in an appearance and what's more, she helps Slither out of a potentially deadly situation.
As per usual with Joseph Delaney's books there is a fair amount of blood and gore and strange creatures but somehow I couldn't get to like this book as much as I do the stories of the Spook et al.
I believe Delaney misled the reader into buying a supplementary book under false pretenses, by keeping the word 'spook's' on the front cover. Delaney should have made it clearer that this was a book that had no connection with the thread of the other 10. I do not consider the presence of Grimalkin a sufficient connection to maintain relevance to the Spook's apprentice's adventures and Fiend's destruction plots.
I also resented the attempt to make me identify from the start with a very dark character who needs animal or human blood to survive, a parasite in other words. ( the book is written in the first person from the perspective of Slither)
With Grimalkin and Alice, there is a very clear moral code, a struggle with their dark nature, an attempt to redeem their darker side by destroying the fiend. neither of them drinks blood as a rule, and Grimalkin only removes thumb bones once she has killed her opponent, one is led to believe, reading between the lines.
I only read the first couple of chapters as I did not want to be drawn so deeply into the inner world of a truly dark creature from the inside. I felt polluted by it, and wanted to throw it away/ hide it, unlike the others in the series, where I could keep a safe boundary between the dark and the light. I did not want to sympathise with such a dark creature in such an intimate/ personal way.
It's a very cunning tale, wonderfully written with a whole rich new myth set for the author to play with. Add to this a lead antihero character that seeks to do right by a bargain as well as maintaining his own standard of honour and it's a tale that really does keep you glued from start to finish. Add to the mix cracking prose, a great understanding of pace and of course enough action to keep you more than happy. Great stuff all in.
The basic synopsis is that Slither, a brand new creature to Delaney's world, is given the life of a farmer's eldest daughter, Nessa, when he passes away. The farmer's condition states that Slither has to excort Nessa's two younger siblings to their aunt's house. Once he has done that, Slither is able to do what he wants with Nessa. But, along the way they face danger from different foes. So, master and possession have to work together in order to reach their destination.
That is a very brief synopsis. Slither is an interesting new character - his world is very different to the world of the Spook and this book provides a detailed insight into this new world. Slither's traditions, beliefs and values are closely examined. And, once again, you get the impression that here there is a creature of the dark but one who has complexities to his psychology and his behaviour. There is also the suggestion that we may see more of him in the future - if this is the case, it would definitely be interesting to see how he fits into the County that we know.
I would certainly recommend this book. Presumably, the majority of readers will be those who have read the prequels, but as mentioned, you could certainly read this on its own.
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