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NIGHT OF THE SOUL STEALER by Joseph Delaney

NIGHT OF THE SOUL STEALER

From the Last Apprentice series, volume 3

By Joseph Delaney (Author) , Patrick Arrasmith (Illustrator)

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-06-076624-5
Publisher: Greenwillow/HarperCollins

The third and weakest episode in Delaney’s Last Apprentice series takes narrator Tom Ward, his secretive master Old Gregory and canny young witch Alice to winter quarters on bleak Anglezarke Moor where, thanks to massive contrivances, they survive encounters with three blood-sucking witches, a boggart or two and a necromancer out to raise one of the old gods. Along with offering supernatural threats that are both fewer and less dangerous than in previous volumes, Delaney injects his plot with artificial peril by repeatedly having his protagonists inexplicably lie or refuse to impart important information to one another. He then sets up the climax with a cruel deception that is not only ludicrously complicated, but out of character for the gruff but fundamentally decent Gregory, and closes with Tom’s newly widowed mother showing him chests of magic secrets that he’s forbidden to open for several months. Arrasmith’s dark chapter-head illustrations and appended “notebook” pages add atmosphere but not vitality to this limp, overlong outing. (Fantasy. 11-13)