Spook's: A New Darkness (The Starblade Chronicles) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2015/2/26
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‘It’s a dangerous job, but someone has to do it.’
For years, the local Spook kept the county safe from evil. But now his time has ended, and there is only one boy who can take over – Thomas Ward, barely more than a child himself. Now he too must take on an apprentice, a girl called Jenny who is untested but willing to be trained in the dangerous life of a Spook.
When girls start dying in mysterious circumstances, they soon find themselves on the path of a terrifying and deadly beast. Monstrous assassins are loose in the County, and far to the north, a new darkness is rising that threatens to engulf the whole world. Do Tom and Jenny stand a chance against the might of the Kobalos?
The first terrifying tale in the Starblade Chronicles, from the bestselling author of The Spook’s Apprentice
"The ending will shock all Spook’s fans and leave them desperate for the next in this new series" (Andrea Reece lovereading4kids.co.uk)
"A solid, suspenseful, and spooky adventure with a fiendish cliffhanger" (Publishers Weekly)
"The ending will shock all Spook’s fans and leave them desperate for the next in this new series"
"A solid, suspenseful, and spooky adventure with a fiendish cliffhanger"
Okay, what else? I'll admit that I'm a bit confused by Tom's snarky attitude, as he was such a nice, polite young man - always priding himself on not being short tempered, fresh mouthed or rude - but he sure isn't very nice to his new apprentice, Jenny in the beginning! I found myself thinking, "Whoa, who is that guy - and what has he done with Tom?". I can't help thinking mam and dad Ward would not be too happy to see Tom's abrupt loss of manners, and he might have even earned himself a smack in the mouth once or twice if they were alive.
Grimalkin shows a selfish, manipulative side I didn't think possible for someone such as herself, one whom lives by a strict code of honor and all. I mean, yeah - she's a witch assassin, and a malevolent one at that, but the obsessive-compulsive, scheming, plotting, princess-like "I get what I want, no matter who gets hurt" type of primadonna behavior was a bit much, and totally outside of the established character realm she's known for in past books. Of course, it backfires in the worst possible way - causing the death of a major character and friend (although it is questionable if it is a permanent fatality) then she openly wails and grieves? This is such atypical behavior for her that I have to wonder if Joseph Delaney even wrote this story at all.
Alright, that said, the story seemed kind of short when read on a kindle, but Amazon.com says it's 320 pages, so what do I know? But what I can say is that it sure didn't seem like it. It so totally didn't seem as though it should end quite where it did (and where it did end it certainly shouldn't have). In my opinion it seemed half baked - as though not enough of the groundwork for a new story was laid out yet; in fact, if you didn't read Slither, you wouldn't know half of what is really going on under the surface. The story was broken up into odd segments of Grimalkin's journal - which covered questionable experiments with dangerous, unknown creatures; Jenny's journal - which covered current, as well as past events of her life, and the usual first-person format from Tom's POV at all other times in between (although, not necessarily in that order). The actual story felt somewhat unsatisfying somehow, and veered off hither-and-yon, ending badly for Tom. I think in the next installment we just may be privy to what the upside of being half winged lamia (vaegnir) can be for Tom when the chips are down (and hopefully for his brothers too). This was something I was always curious about, and couldn't believe hasn't been addressed even remotely at some point in the previous series. I mean, Tom (and at least two of his brothers) have come pretty close to death before - why did their superior lineage never present itself before? Hmmmm ... a mighty good question - I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Another maddening thing to chew over: the first series has already ended and a new one has begun, and yet we STILL don't know the meaning of Tom's enormously long shadow yet - but we are still be teased with what it's meaning is in book one of the new series! What DOES it mean? I find that I just can't patiently wait any longer and MUST know! Maybe even Delaney hasn't figured that one out yet - perhaps he should have asked Mam before he killed her off in the citadel of the Ordeen?
All and all, I had hoped for a bit more from book one of this story, but it is after all just the first book, so maybe I'm being too critical and harsh (and perhaps grumpy too, as this is not the first time one of my Delaney reviews has vanished into cyberspace, never to be seen or heard from again - and quite possibly my first review was a bit more generous than this one). I hope the next book is published soon - a cliff hanger of this magnitude is NOT a good place to leave long time fans of this series waiting, as I thought we deserved a bit more than that. If the next book doesn't get right down to business, I really can't see the likelihood of wrapping this story up in three books, which is not necessarily a bad thing - I really hope there are many more between this one and the series finale.
With this review I feel I owe an explanation for having given it a four-star status, then griped like an old lady - the reason is a simple one: I am a long time fan of Joseph Delaney's, as well as the Spook/Last Apprentice series and I just couldn't bring myself to rate it any lower. Plus, I'm hoping that the other books in the series will have enough promise to make this tale one worth reading, similar to the maiden series we've all grown to love for it's originality and memorable characters. Delaney is a master story teller whom excells in his craft, so I'm betting he'll pull it together, come through and swing it for those of us that qualify as hardcore fans of the series who are dying to know what happens next. Hopefully, with the next book he'll smack it right out of the ballpark.