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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Whenever you get back from a vacation, it's always nice to get back home... unless soldiers have burned your home, and an evil witch is now on the loose. So you can guess what happens in "The Spook's Nightmare," a solid new chapter in the tale of the Spook's apprentice -- bits of horror speckling an darkly elusive fantasy story.

The Spook, Alice and Tom return to Chipenden... only to find that soldiers have burned the village, including the Spook's cottage. So the trio head off to find a safe place, and end up heading for the remote island of Mona, which isn't very witch/Spook-friendly. Soon Tom and Alice are imprisoned as witches, and are in danger of either being killed by a deadly test... or being eaten by a buggane.

However, that turns out to be only the start of their problems, since at least two witches are loose on Mona, and a demonic buggane is threatening them along with a shaman. And even worse, an old enemy has been brought to the island -- and she's more powerful now than she's ever been before, fulfilling the Spook's nightmare.

Joseph Delaney seems to have a knack for inserting very mundane fears -- the death of loved ones, being buried alive -- into a dark fantasy setting. And in "The Spook's Nightmare," it's all about suddenly losing your home and all your possessions, and being cast adrift in a cold cruel world. Plus evil witches causing trouble on top of that.

And the change of setting doesn't change Delaney's prose, which is surprisingly dark for a kids book. Blood, bones, straw and mud coat this adventure, as well as some monstrous creatures (the buggane is hairy, squat and oily, with two layers of omnivorous teeth). And there are some powerful moments, such as when poor Tom is being compelled to attack an innocent family of dogs.

The one problem is that Tom seems a LITTLE too calm about that whole soul-selling business, but otherwise the characterization here is pretty solid. But the kind-hearted apprentice and the strong-willed Alice are still likable leads, and Delaney has begun delicately introducing the questions of what toll age is bringing to the Spook -- his power is waning, and the loss of his treasured library is a massive shock.

"The Spook's Nightmare" is a solid new chapter to the tale of the Spook's apprentice, reintroducing us to a truly horrible enemy. And the door is still open for more.
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Having read the first 6 of the Wardstone Chronicles I did wonder where Joseph Delaney could go next......I needn't have worried. This has to be the best of the bunch so far and I believe there will be more books coming in this excellent series.

There is a war going on in the County and the Spooks house and his beloved library have all been lost. The soldiers also try to capture the Spook, Tom and Alice so they flee to the island of Mona (the Isle of Mann). Their greeting upon arrival is not a good one as the islanders are very insular and suspicious of strangers. However, when they learn that an evil creature called the Buggane is living on the island they are called upon to help. There is also worse ahead when they discover that Bonie Lizzie, Alice's Mother, a Bone and Blood Witch has escaped from her prison in the Spooks then garden. She has become quite powerful once again and it takes all of Toms, Alices and the Spooks ingenuity and skill to catch her.

This book is much darker than the first 6 and in places genuinely scary but so readable that I finished it in one and a half hours flat.
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on 22 May 2015
Another brilliant chapter to this story ... really scary, this one. And set on the Isle of Man this time - what a great idea! The buggane is actually a legendary creature which is referred to by people on the island in real life - similar to 'the bogeyman' (that's according to my mum, who is Manx). Bony Lizzie's return is creepy as hell, and with Master Gregory at death's door ... how can Tom and Alice prevail? The ending is just awesome - this story is one of my favourites. This is the only book in the series that I've been unable to buy with the alternative old-fashioned matt cover with silhouette design. I wonder why that is? It's a real shame - I love those book covers, they look so great on my bookshelf - far superior to the glossy ones.
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on 28 June 2010
Like some people i have read all of these books and they are all brilliant. But i have to say that i wasen't that surprised of what would happen next after a dramatic event that would make you excited. I always knew what was going to happen which did not give me as much buzz compared to his other books. i dont think there was as much emphasis on what was happening compared to his previous books. I have to say that instead of reading the book in one day i struggled not to pick it up and read all of it and i managed for about two weeks. Delaneys titles are quite addictive and hard not to finish quick. I would definatley Recommend but i just cant wait for the next book because of what the spook learns in the end which i say is the best part of the book.
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on 10 December 2012
The Spooks series continues with a deadly nightmare that haunts your sleep and fills every waking moment with thoughts on how the hero is going to overcome the terrors that await him...full of electric tension amidst and inspired and truly original storyline this book you will find unable to put down, even for a minute! I will warn you though that if you are a younger reader, to NOT read these books after dark!

The county is facing dark days as uncertain times lie ahead, but for the spook it is the nights that are darkest. Having up until now stood against all evil, he is now haunted by vivid dreams that fill his entire being with such terror and foreboding. The dreams almost seem to be like premonitions of what is to come...With his precious library now destroyed by fire and his arch rival, Bony Lizzie free to wreak havoc amongst the people, things soon begin to fall apart and those once strong certainties crumble into dust. As the nightmares soon turn into reality the Spook begins to notice that his powers appear to be waning; just when he needs them the most. Can he defeat this deadly enemy or will his nightmares and the horrors that fill his waking hours take over?!

Tom, the Spooks Apprentice is a fantastic, well-crafted character whom I have really enjoyed following in many adventures that all began in book one "the spooks apprentice". This chilling tale has you glued to the pages with such frenzied anticipation of what undisclosed secrets lie in wait as you turn over the next page. Complete with symbols, maps and character profiles, book 7 is just as compelling and even more intense as the others within this truly remarkable series. Joseph Delaney is an accomplished author whose series also has now its own online website ([...]) where you can take part in your own spooks battle, find out more about your favorite characters such as Alice and Tom and where you can plunge back into this magical world of spooky monsters, nightmares and evil enemies that threaten to take over the county.

Thoroughly engaging I cannot fault this tale, although I will say that I have only given this 3 ½ stars because it is designed for the younger reader hence although the characters are individualistic and memorable and the world-building is good, there is not a great deal of depth and so I would recommend this to fans of YA or children/ teen.
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on 5 October 2015
The action is developing from book to book. Tom Ward is getting older and it's visible that his apprenticeship is more mature. The adventures they are facing are increasingly more dramatic and dangerous.
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on 5 August 2014
Again we are on the move, leaving the county and getting towards Ireland. The spook is getting older and less concerned about Tom's links with the dark. Alice as a character is getting more complex and her mother 'Bony Lizzie' is dead? Again this is a good read and this series is keeping me engaged.
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on 11 January 2015
Once again Tom and Alice face the dark and it's servants. Adventurous, compelling and gripping. You end up placing yourself in their shoes (pointed or not) and trying to figure out your next move! Brilliant!
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on 19 May 2016
Amazing, the gramma and wording is amazing the witches and humans are a brilliant idea keep up the good work Josheph Delaney!
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on 24 March 2013
I have bought all the books in the set so far. I originally bought these for my son when aged 13 as he liked all things spookey. I read them myself and got hooked. If you want something more spookey than Harry Potter then give these books a go. Suitable for boys and girls alike who like something out of ordinary. By the way I am a 57 year old female but these books are well written.
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