Night of the Soul Stealer by Joseph Delaney
Night of the Soul Stealer, the third book in Joseph Delaney’s LAST APPRENTICE (or WARDSTONE CHRONICLES) series is another intense scary story for children. Fans of the first two books, Revenge of the Witch and Curse of the Bane, which readers should finish first, will be pleased. I’m listening to Christopher Evan narrate HarperAudio’s version of the series.
The weather is getting colder, so it’s time to travel to the Spook’s winter residence, a solitary little house set in a harsh and desolate landscape. On the way, Alice, Tom’s only friend, is dropped off at a distant neighbors’ house. There’s some reason why the Spook doesn’t want her at his depressing winter estate. When they arrive, Tom founds out why — there are nasty things locked in the cellar, including witches and boggarts. It’s not that the Spook is afraid for Alice’s safety. Rather, he’s afraid that Alice isn’t trustworthy and that she may ally with the witches against him. One particular witch is especially powerful and persuasive and Tom soon discovers that she and the Spook have a secret and complicated relationship.
Then Tom finds out that the people that Alice is living with have a son named Morgan who is an evil necromancer and also has a questionable relationship with the Spook. Morgan is trying to awaken an inert pagan god so he can bring more evil into the world. Tom and Alice must try to stop him which, of course, turns out to be a dangerous endeavor. Besides all of this drama, some tragedies occur with Tom’s family and home, too. There are severe losses, and Tom’s family life will never be the same.
As you can tell, Night of the Soul Stealer is just as dark and frightening as the previous books. The bleak and isolated setting, the baddies in the cellar, the practice of necromancy, and all the mystery surrounding his master and the tragic occurrences at home combine to create an unsettling experience which leads to some serious existential questions for Tom and the reader.
This series is probably not suitable for sensitive children, but those who enjoy being scared will love it. I recommend the audio version.
Other Last Apprentice Tales:
The Starblade Chronicles — (2014- ) Publisher: The first book in a chilling new trilogy from the author of the internationally bestselling Last Apprentice series! Tom Ward is an apprentice no longer—he is a full-fledged spook battling boggarts, witches, and other creatures of the dark. First in a three-book arc that introduces brand-new readers to Joseph Delaney’s haunting world. Tom Ward is the Spook, the one person who can defend the county from bloodthirsty creatures of the dark. But he’s only seventeen, and his apprenticeship was cut short when his master died in battle. No one trusts Tom’s skill, not till he’s proven himself. And a fifteen-year-old girl named Jenny knows more about the three mysterious deaths in the county than Tom does. She is a seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, and she wants to be Tom’s first apprentice—even though a female spook is unheard of. Together, Tom and Jenny will uncover the grave danger heading straight toward the county, and they’ll team up with a witch assassin to confront it. A New Darkness begins a three-book arc that will introduce new readers to Joseph Delaney’s deliciously scary imagination and electrify his longtime fans. A New Darkness is perfect for every reader who loves thrills, chills, action, and adventure—no prior knowledge of The Last Apprentice series necessary! The Last Apprentice series, the first internationally bestselling series about Tom Ward, is soon to be a major motion picture, Seventh Son, starring Jeff Bridges, Ben Barnes, Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Olivia Williams, Antje Traue, Djimon Hounsou, and Julianne Moore as Mother Malkin.