Book Review: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney

Posted July 31, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 1 Comment

Book Review: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney
Series: ,
Genres: Paranormal Fantasy
Published by HarperTrophy on August 1, 2006
Pages: 344
Format: Paperback
Source: the library

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Also by this author: Curse of the Bane

First in The Last Apprentice paranormal fantasy series for middle-grade readers (a.k.a., the Wardstone Chronicles) and revolving around Thomas Ward, the county’s young — last — hope.

My Take

Whoa…his Mam sure is hard on him! Telling him he can never come home again. I suspect Delaney using first-person protagonist point-of-view helps make this even more heartrending.

It’s a simple and very easy-to-read tale of a young man thrust into a role he hadn’t expected and didn’t particularly want, especially when his mentor is such a curmudgeon! Delaney does a nice job of introducing the characters, setting the scene, and creating the culture, all while properly imbuing a sense of the horror of what Tom experiences. Parents, you needn’t worry that this is too horrific.

On the whole I enjoyed Revenge of the Witch, and yes, I’ll be reading Curse of the Bane next.

What I did not enjoy was how stupid Tom could be, those cakes a case in point.

It’s all about making your way in the world, whether you be witch, farmer, or protector. There is much to learn and rarely the time to learn it.

The Story

Tom has no time to worry about the things he still sees in the night, for he’s off to apprentice with Old Gregory.

It’s an interesting life for Tom, until he ignores the strictures Old Gregory places on him … until babies and children start to go missing.

The Characters

Thomas Ward is from a family of farmers and as a younger son, a seventh son, will inherit nothing. Dad, a seventh son, and Mam, who knows more about plants and medicines than the local doctor, are his parents. Jack is the oldest who will inherit Brewer’s Farm and is married to the pregnant Ellie. “Snout” butchers the pigs.

The Spook is Old Gregory, the man who protects the farms and villages from things that go bump in the night, and he’s served for 60 years. One brother is a priest and the other a locksmith.

Horshaw is…
…a pit village with the largest coalyards in the county where Old Gregory has his house. (His winter house is in Anglezarke.) Tommy is one of the children who go missing.

Near Pendle Hill are…
…where the witches live. Alice is Bony Lizzie’s favorite niece. Old Mother Malin is a live witch buried in the ground.

Boggarts come in all sorts: free boggarts can roam far from home and do endless mischief; a bound boggart can’t move at all; naturally bound boggarts can’t move more than a few yards; hairy boggarts may be evil or good; hall knockers play tricks and rap on walls and doors; stone chuckers can rain stone on you for weeks; and, cattle rippers also like human blood.

Now, witches come in four types: the ones who don’t know they’re witches; good witches; evil witches; and, those who are falsely accused. Bone magic is used by necromancers. Blood magic is powered by human blood, particularly that of children. Bone-bound is when the spirit of a dead witch is trapped inside her bones. Leys are lines of power beneath the earth. Ghasts are fragments of spirits; ghosts are spirits unable to move on.

The Cover and Title

The cover has the feel of a woodcut and is dark in its browns. It’s the bearded Spook, hooded and cloaked in gray, brown knee high cuffed leather boots, a thick chain dangling from his waist, carrying a staff and lit lantern, stalking through the cemetery. The background is of dead grasses amongst the leaning tombstones with a broken stone wall behind him, the trees bare in this late autumn story. The series information is at the very top in an embossed, aged gothic red with the tiny title under it in an embossed brown, both backed with a creamy widespread shadow. The author’s name is centered at the bottom in white with a round red seal promoting its forthcoming movie, Seventh Son.

The title is the inciting incident, the Revenge of the Witch.

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