“It’s been almost too quiet . . . it feels as if the dark is gathering its strength.”
A chilling new trilogy from the author of the internationally bestselling The Last Apprentice series! Tom Ward is an apprentice no longer—now he is a fully fledged spook battling boggarts, witches, and other creatures of the dark. This three-book arc will introduce brand-new readers to Joseph Delaney’s haunting world, and delight longtime fans.
Tom Ward is the spook, the one person who can defend the county from ghosts, ghasts, boggarts, witches, and other bloodthirsty creatures of the dark. But he’s only seventeen, and his apprenticeship was cut short when his master died in battle. No one trusts Tom’s skill, not till he’s proven himself. And a fifteen-year-old girl named Jenny knows more about the three mysterious deaths in the county than Tom does. She is a seventh daughter of a seventh daughter and she wants to be Tom’s first apprentice—even though a female spook is unheard of. Together, Tom and Jenny will uncover the grave danger heading straight toward the county, and they’ll team up with a witch assassin to confront it.
A New Darkness begins a three-book series that will introduce new readers to Joseph Delaney’s deliciously scary imagination and delight his longtime fans. A New Darkness is perfect for every reader who loves thrills, chills, action, and adventure-no prior knowledge of the Last Apprentice series necessary!
The Last Apprentice series, the first internationally bestselling series about Tom Ward, is soon to be a major motion picture, Seventh Son, starring Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Olivia Williams, Antje Traue, Djimon Hounsou, and Julianne Moore as Mother Malkin.
A New Darkness is the first book of the planned trilogy in The Starblade Chonicles by Joseph Delaney. As of I know, this new trilogy is set in the same world of his previous series, The Last Apprentice – a series consists of thirteen novels which I haven’t got the chance to read yet. But in-spite of not knowing anything about the said series, A New Darkness is still interesting enough to get me hooked in this world of spooks, monster, ghost, witches and other creatures.
Tom Ward is the Chippendale new spook after his apprenticeship was cut short when his master died. He is the seventh son of a seventh son which is a major requirement for being a spook, as they has the ability to see ghost. As a spook his job is to fight boggarts, ghosts, ghasts, witches and other troublesome creatures. As a new spook and as young as he is people don’t have much faith in his ability. They trust him with small problems but when young girls started dying mysteriously, Tom suddenly needs to prove himself as the new spook. Problem is, he has no clue of who is murdering the girls and why.
Then he meets Jenny, claiming to be the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter. She also claim to know who is killing the girls and can show it to him for a condition to finally accept her as his apprentice. Tom is reluctant to have a girl as an apprentice but finally agree since he needs all the help he can get to save girls from dying. Together with the help of an assassin witch, they have to solve the mystery of the dead girls and fight against a powerful evil.
As a new reader of Joseph Delaney works, I find his writing simple yet flowing. At first I thought it is choppy but after few paragraphs I get to enjoy his style. The pacing is well-controlled and the world building though not fully detailed is still easy to grasp. Though of course, followers of The Last Apprentice series where this book is based will be more acquainted to the world of spooks than new comers like me.
Tom Ward is an interesting character. For a young boy he carry a mature personality, honed by his experience from being a spook’s apprentice to being the new spook. He is believable as a young spook and a responsible master to his apprentice, Jenny. The way he regards Jenny and her training is very considerate and mature. The fact that he take a girl as his apprentice is risky enough, but he still accept and train Jenny with his best of abilities.
As for Jenny, she actually started as a nice character but as the story progress I can’t help but get annoyed with her from time to time. I am not a fun of whiny character. And for someone who so eager to be a spook’s apprentice I don’t understand how she questioned his master like she doesn’t believe in his skills.
The ending is a major cliffhanger. As in gigantic cliffhanger, so if you don’t like those kinds of endings be warned picking this one as you may hate the author for leaving the story so abrupt. As for me, I’m looking forward reading the next installment. After the shocking twist I won’t settle not knowing what’s next to Tom Ward. I cannot accept that kind of ending for him.
With suspense, mystery, interesting and compelling characters, A New Darkness is a quick, well-paced enjoyable read. Followers of Joseph Delaney’s The Last Apprentice series will surely like this first installment of the spin-off tale of spooks. I will definitely check out The Last Apprentice series before the first movie comes out early next year.
* This review is based on an advance readers copy I received courtesy of the publisher, HarperCollins International in exchange of honest opinion.