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.