Tag Archives: Joseph Delaney

Joseph Delaney is so feminist!

Joseph Delaney, author of the Last Apprentice series, is the most feminist person I have ever known. And he’s a guy. Joseph isn’t like a pseudo name for an old woman who lives by herself in a quaint little house with forty-seven cats. At least I think not.

I mean, his series is completely devoid of any strong male characters, and every female character happens to be (on average) a billion times more powerful/cool than the male ones. The series is supposed to be about a spook and his apprentice, Tom, and how they kill witches and boggarts and things, but the witches just totally steal the show. Especially Tom’s love interest, Alice.

Yes, I am not at all impressed by the Spooks. The only semi-cool male in this book series happens to be a goat. (Pan, if you’re wondering.)

Tom Ward is an utter disaster of a Spook. He is extremely dumb and gullible and gets tricked by just about everyone who wants to. This is what happens to him in the eighth book (Rage of the Fallen):

The Evil Witch beckons to him with a crooked finger, smiling evilly. “Come boy, I know I look like an evil witch, (and I am), but don’t worry, just come into my dark creepy house that’s infested with blood-sucking babies and eat some of my poison so I can kill you.” Says the evil witch. “Oh, and please leave your weapons and anything you can use to defend yourself against me and my monster outside, far away where you can’t use it, thanks.”

What does Tom do? Does he smash the staff over that old poser’s head? Does he karate-kick the witch to death? Does he burn the house down and save the world? Nope. He says “Ok”.  Enthusiastically.

 

And whenever he gets captured (which happens about twice in every book), he just lies there, feeling very sorry for himself, until someone comes along to save him. Most of the time, that someone is Alice. And she risks her own life in order to do so, time and again.

Honestly, I think the only thing he’s good at doing is being a Disney princess. When Alice finally needs rescuing, Tom is able to do nothing but mope around sadly. In the end, (spoiler alert) it isn’t even him who saves Alice, it’s Pan. And Grimalkin does most of the work binding the fiend. Tom just gets in a lucky strike with his awesome sword.

I have no idea what Alice sees in him. It’s the movie She’s so out of my league all over again. Well, except Tom’s got a billion chances to get things right and he fails every single time. Alice: smart, pretty, powerful, daughter of the Fiend, the supremely powerful Lord of the Dark. Tom: stupid, useless, son of a pig farmer. Honestly, if I were Alice, I’d rather marry Pan, the goat, than Tom. Even though my offspring would probably be a little weird.

The Spook used to be pretty interesting at least, a sarcastic, mysterious man with a scandalous love affair, but now he’s just an idiot who’s missing-in-action most of the time and about as flexible as his Rowan wood staff- Not flexible at all.

On the other hand, all the female characters in the series are so flippin’ awesome. Grimalkin, Alice, hell, even that Celtic witch is cool enough to capture Tom twice. Oh, and Tom’s mom, the Lamia witch- she’s pretty cool too.  I’d be really disappointed if I were the first Lamia witch, and I had a son like Tom. She probably has recessive genes or something.

It’s great that there are awesome female characters in the Last Apprentice series, but it really pains my heart that the males are so completely annoying. I need at least someone to crush on, and it can’t bloody well be a goat. But ah well, here you go, the Last Apprentice Series is femininity at it’s finest.

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Last Apprentice Series: Rage of the Fallen

 
Author: Joseph Delaney

Plot:

This is book eight of the Last Apprentice series (but it’s also known as the Spook’s Destiny, 8th book of the Wardstone Chronicles in Britain) I’ve got to say though, the American version sounds way cooler than the British version. I mean, what the heck is a wardstone supposed to be? A gem stone you put on ladies’ jewelry?

Anyway, if you haven’t heard of the book series, it’s about a guy called Tom Ward who’s a Spook’s Apprentice, which means he goes around with John, a Spook, fighting dark, evil things like boggarts, witches, shamans, and ancient Gods from exotic religions. In this book, though, he fights a goat. What? Goats are dangerous. They can…um…squirt milk on you.

Only joking. This particular goat happens to be a God, the Greek god of nature Pan (no, not the things you cook eggs with), to be exact. He might or might not have looked like the guy below. I’m really not sure about the red hair. Whoever’s heard of a goat having red hair, God or not?

Anyway, in between all the fighting, Tom Ward somehow finds time to fall in love. Unfortunately, it’s a tragic love story, because the girl Tom Ward falls in love with is a witch. That’s not really a problem if you’re Harry Potter, but Spooks are supposed to killwitches, not marry them. The Spook does not approve of this at all, because he is an old prude doesn’t trust witches (though that didn’t stop him at the time-yes, he had a scandalous little affair in his youth. Check out the third book in the series) But anyway, it doesn’t matter whether Spook approves or not anymore, because Tom and Alice have to stay together or they die. Literally.
The Fiend will kill Tom immediately if he has a chance, because apparently there is a prophecy that he will one day triumph over the Fiend (yes, pathetic dumbo that he is. I have a vague suspicion that professor Trelawney made this prophecy, because it is soimprobable).In comes Alice, who happens to be the Fiend’s daughter (and mega-ly powerful). She, for some weird reason unknown to man, she falls in love with him and, fearing for his life, makes him a blood jar that will protect him from the fiend. This greatly compromises her safety from the fiend, so now they both have to stay close to the blood jar, because once they stray from its protection, the Fiend will whisk them away to torture for eternity.
In this book, that’s exactly what happens.
Tom gets captured by this celtic witch who holds a grudge on him, and thus Alice is separated from the blood jar and is captured by the Fiend. Unfortunately, other than having to battle the Fiend to save Alice, Tom also has to contend with the annoying Celtic Witch, Pan, and the Evil Pan Worshippers, some shamans who are determined to get rid of Tom and Spook. Luckily, Tom somehow picks up a legendary sword known as Destiny’s Blade and has got himself a powerful witch ally Grimalkin, who’s bent on getting her own revenge on the Fiend.The showdown between the Fiend and Tom Ward that the previous books have been building up to takes place in this book. The battle is not going to be the last between them, not even the most important, but it is still a battle against the Lord of the Dark, so it’s definitely legendary.
Review:
As you all know, some book series die off at the third or fourth book, becoming really repetitive and sort of lame after awhile (Maximum ride, Ranger’s Apprentice-although the last few books were getting better) But this series seems to be steadily improving. In fact, it’s one of those series you want to go on forever, like Percy Jackson and Artemis Fowl, although I’d pity Tom Ward. Can you imagine an eternity of fighting evil? You can’t even retire, because once you do, the Fiend will whisk you away into the dark. No, not to sleep. To torture.
Seriously though, one thing I feel pretty annoyed about is that there is a complete lack of strong and un-annoying male characters. Check out my post about why Joseph Delaney is definitely and most undoubtedly a feminist. But other than having to read about male-losers all the time, this book series is actually pretty entertaining to read.
It doesn’t really have a very complex plot, doesn’t explore deep ideas, isn’t touching or thought-provoking, but it is entertaining. An absolute witch-burning, monster-thumping, goat-milking, boggart-enslaving, Fiend-binding galore. It’s the perfect thing to take to class with you as an antidote to your teacher’s droning voice, a revival potion if you have to do a piece of abysmally boring homework but can’t seem to keep awake. All in all, pretty useful.
Score:
7.8/10 Not bad at all, unlike the Fiend, who’s completely, unabashedly bad.
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