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Revenge of the Witch: The Last Apprentice, Book 1
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Revenge of the Witch is the first book in the popular Last Apprentice series, the "inspiration" for a 2015 movie called Seventh Son. But the movie ages the main character up; in the book, he's 12. And while the movie seems to feature a lot of creature violence and swordplay, the book focuses more on suspense and creepiness. Make no mistake: There's frightening stuff here: Witches try to possess humans, and another witch dumps her prey in a pit and forces him to have hallucinations about giant worms and vengeful corpses. But beyond the horror, there are strong positive messages: Thoughtful Tom is very concerned with rightness and duty; his mentor offers much sage advice, especially on trusting instincts and facing fears.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Twelve-year-old Tom's the youngest of seven brothers. With the eldest married and running the family farm, and the others all in apprenticeships, it's Tom's turn to leave home to earn his keep. As the seventh son of a seventh son, he's sensitive to dark forces, and thus uniquely qualified to become the apprentice of a much-feared traveling man called the Spook, who battles and binds witches, boggarts, and other foul creatures. On a monthlong trial, Tom proves he's braver than most when he passes the Spook's test in a haunted house. But that's just the beginning: The Spook's house is surrounded by the creatures he's bound there, and one powerful witch, through Tom's unwitting help, is getting stronger by the day.
Is it any good?
Refreshingly fast-paced, REVENGE OF THE WITCH doesn't waste a moment. After one chapter, Tom's on the road with his new master, and soon spending a deliciously creepy night alone in a haunted house. The book slows down just enough when they arrive at the Spook's house and Tom's studies start in earnest.
In his YA debut, adult fantasy writer Joseph Delaney expertly lays on the suspense. No nail will be left unbitten by the end.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the scary stuff. How scary is Revenge of the Witch compared with other books you've read? What was the scariest part? Does anyone in the family think it's too scary?
Why do you think the producers of Seventh Son made Tom so much older in the movie?
At least two more great fantasy book series -- Septimus Heap and The Dark Is Rising -- feature main characters that are the seventh son of a seventh son. What's special about that birth order in stories you know?
- Author: Joseph Delaney
- Illustrator: Patrick Arrasmith
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Greenwillow Books
- Publication date: July 25, 2006
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 13 - 17
- Number of pages: 384
- Available on: Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.