Attack of the Fiend (Last Apprentice)

The Last Apprentice: Attack of the Fiend (Book 4) by Joseph Delaney

Characters:
Tom: a seventh son of a seventh son, the Spook’s apprentice
Alice: a witch, friend of Tom, lives with Tom and the Spook
Spook/Mr. Gregory: gets rid of witches and other problems in the country
Jack: Tom’s brother
Ellie: Jack’s wife
Mary: Jack and Ellie’s daughter
James: Tom’s brother, a blacksmith
Andrew: Spook’s brother
Father Stocks: friend of the Spook’s, prior apprentice, and a priest in Downham
Mother Malkin: witch and relative of Alice
Bony Lizzie: witch, relative of Alice, took care of Alice
Mab: witch from Pendle
Jennet: one of Mab’s younger sisters
Beth: Jenner’s twin sister
Roger Nowell: magistrate, former high sheriff of Caster, does not believe in witches
Mistress Wirmalde: housekeeper to Roger Nowell, a witch
Tibb: creature created by two of the witch clans in Pendle
Grimalkin: cruel assassin the Malkin sometimes use, skilled with a long blade
Fiend: Nick, the evil one, the devil, darkness
Book Review/Summary:
This series just keeps growing in depth, characters, and draws the reader in.  As the characters continue to develop and Tom gains experiences the reader grows more attached to them.  Alice yet again proved she could push back the “bad” witch aspect of her family and put Tom ahead of them.  Tom’s family was hurt and she willingly went to Pendle to see her family to protect them and help Tom free them.  Afterwards, she helped heal Jack and worked with the Spook and Tom to try and stop the Fiend.  The adventures in the Malkin Tower showed how well these two can work as a team, especially without the Spook around for guidance.  The Spook was missing for most of this book, as Tom worked with Father Stocks and had to use his internal guidance to decide what to do when things went south.
Tom is coming into his own as a Spook, and at the same time learning more about his mother.  Tom realizes that his mom was a lamias, and meets his ‘aunts’ who it is hinted at will make an appearance later in the series.  Tom’s family is highlighted in this book, and the distance and gap that has formed while still remaining close because of kinship is a delicate line that Tom is learning how to navigate.
Tom was told of a prophecy from Tibb, that he questions at the end of the book.
Mab is an interesting character, who could easily start to be a rival for Alice.  She is smitten with Tom from the start and tries to claim him.  When that doesn’t work she strikes a deal with Tom and appears to keep her end of the agreement.  As Tom is running for his life, she warns him of the dangers ahead and claims she loved him.  I predict Mab will come into play in other books in the series.  Mab clearly seems to be a ‘bad’ witch, but there is something about how she interacted with Tom that makes me question if she could form another alliance with Tom.
The book ends with Tom’s life being in danger from several dark forces, and the possibility of being forced to fight in a war.  However, it also looks like the Spook will have Tom apprentice with a Spook further North to avoid being forced to fight.  This sounds like it will happen in the next book, and if not then it would be book after that.  It will be interesting to see how a different Spook trains Tom and what Tom is like without Mr. Gregory being his Spook.
I see a girl, soon to be a woman.  The girl who will share your life.  She will love you, she will betray you, and she will die for you.” (Chapter X) Tom questions if it is Mab who claims she loved him or Alice who he is growing close to.  I also question if it could be Tom’s mother or niece.  Tom’s mom is a lamias, and she can remain youthful or change back to a young woman.  The only reason I am dismissing this is because I don’t think Tom’s mother would betray him and this prophecy seems to indicate a romantic love.  This is also why I am dismissing it as not being a family.  However, book four in a series of at least twelve books means that another girl who is about to be a woman could be who this prophecy is about.  It is best to keep an open mind about who this girl is, but the front-runner is Alice.

Suggested Reading/Viewing

Book 11  Slither
Book 12 I am Alice
Movie Seventh Son – as with all movie adaptations, the books are better.  The cast is good but the story was changed too much to make it as suspenseful and appealing as the books are.
Originally posted on Blogger on 4/18/16 (click here to view)
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