Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Last Apprentice: Curse of the Bane

The Last Apprentice: Curse of the Bane

Joseph Delaney
Illustrator:  Patrick Arrasmith 
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
HarperCollins, 2006   ISBN: 978-0060766214

Tom Ward, the Spook's apprentice, is feeling very pleased with himself. He has managed to bind his first boggart, a ripper at that, and the whole process went perfectly. The Spook himself could not have done better. Unfortunately the boggart's victim, the Spook's brother, did not survive and the Spook and Tom are going to go to his funeral in Priestown.

Priestown is not a safe place for the Spook for the local Quisitor is a diligent and vicious man who would love to burn the Spook if he could. Indeed the Quisitor rides around the countryside rounding up people, accusing them of witchcraft and putting them to death. Truth does not matter to him. And yet, despite the danger, the Spook still goes to Priestown. For, not only is there the funeral to attend, but there is also some unfinished business that he needs to attend to in that place.

Apparently a terrible creature called the Bane lives in the catacombs beneath Priestown. Though it is a prisoner in the catacombs, the Bane is still able to make life in the town miserable, and the situation is only getting worse all the time. The Spook is determined to do something about the Bane once and for all, and to succeed where he once failed.

Unfortunately the Quisitor arrests the Spook before he is able to do anything about the Bane. Tom tries to rescue his master but it is the young witch Alice who ends up freeing the Spook from his imprisonment. But, alas, in the process she also frees the Bane and binds the horrific creature to her.

Now, more than ever, Alice cannot be trusted, and with the Bane roaming free about the county Tom and the Spook are not sure how they are going to destroy the terrible monster.

In this thrilling and often chilling second book in the "Last Apprentice" series, Joseph Delaney takes his readers on a roller coaster ride of a journey through the dark and frightening places in Tom Ward's world. Just when you think you know what is going to happen next, the unexpected occurs to surprise you. This is certainly not a title to read at night if you are a sensitive soul for the Bane is a terrifying beast and is best thought about in the daylight. Readers will also enjoy finding out more about the Spook and about Tom's interesting and very special mother, who has her own special secret which she is guarding.

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