Rage of the Fallen by Joseph Delaney
In Rage of the Fallen, the eighth book in Joseph Delaney’s LAST APPRENTICE / WARDSTONE CHRONICLES horror series for children, Tom flees with Alice and the Spook to Ireland to avoid the war that has engulfed their county. The evil creatures who live in Ireland are different from those they’re used to, so Tom gets to learn about, and attempt to defeat, these new threats to the world. Basically it’s the same sort of trouble he’s always been dealing with, just more Celtic-inspired. There are Irish gods, Irish witches, Irish mages, Irish ghosts, Irish blood-suckers, etc.
In addition to these new challenges, the old ones remain. The Fiend continues to dog him as we wait for their final confrontation. Witches are trying to get revenge on Tom. Alice continues to use dark magic with good intentions while the Spook continues to be mad at her for doing so. Tom continues to go off on his own and blithely walk into traps. I read Rage of the Fallen a month ago, but the books are so similar that I didn’t realize that I hadn’t reviewed it yet until now.
One thing I’ve liked about the series is that each book introduces children to a new mythology as Tom and his friends travel the world dealing with mythological creatures. Kids are going to learn a lot from these stories. However, this causes a problem with the world-building. These belief systems don’t mesh well together, especially when Delaney attempts to underlie them with a Judeo-Christian foundation (the Christian church is a safe haven, the Fiend is Satan, and there is a continuing theme of redemption). It’s hard to imagine a world where all of these religions and mythologies are true.
But that doesn’t really matter, does it? This series is immensely popular with kids and I’m happy that they love it. I think I’m finished with THE LAST APPRENTICE, but I won’t hesitate to recommend it to a youngster looking for a good clean horror series.
The Last Apprentice (The Wardstone Chronicles) — (2004-2015) Ages 9-12. In the UK, these are The Wardstone Chronicles (The Spook’s Apprentice, The Spook’s Curse, The Spook’s Secret, The Spook’s Battle, The Spook’s Mistake, The Spook’s Sacrifice). Publisher: A wonderful and terrifying series by a new writer about a young boy training to be an exorcist. Thomas Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son and has been apprenticed to the local Spook. The job is hard, the Spook is distant and many apprentices have failed before Thomas. Somehow Thomas must learn how to exorcise ghosts, contain witches and bind boggarts. But when he is tricked into freeing Mother Malkin, the most evil witch in the County, the horror begins …
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.
I do like that the stories introduce different mythologies and folklore to youngsters. I was surprised at how many books there were in this series!
I loved these books when I was a little younger, but I agree that they get repetitive.