Book Review: Spook’s The Dark Army by Joseph Delaney

Spook’s The Dark Army is the second book in the Starblade Chronicles Trilogy. It’s been 3 years since the first book went out and with it having a cliffhanger ending, I was itching to read the follow up.

Tom Ward died in his battle against an assassin at the ending of A New Darkness. Though upon his burial, a mysterious creature appeared resurrecting Tom from his death. Grimalkin, on the other hand took this opportunity to use Tom as a beacon of hope in fighting The Dark Army.

As a person who loved the initial series, The Wardstone Chronicles, I was looking forward to this new series. Unfortunately this my least favorite book out of all the books. The story is all over the place, our main protagonist, Tom Ward really doesn’t do anything, he’s mainly being used as a puppet and he has no authority whatsoever, which makes it difficult to root for, this time around.

Grimalkin is extremely one-dimensional and even the newcomer Jenny Calder has nothing to contribute to helping their cause. Some older characters return and even they don’t have major to contribute maybe except for one. It felt as if the author ran out of ideas for the story of this book and just added every old character in the mix because he can do so. This, unfortunately is the book’s major flaw.

As a book trying to separate itself from the amazing initial series, this book referenced a lot of events and characters from the older books making it feel as if you’ve missed so much. For a fan, this might not be a problem at all, however for people who are reading for the first time or who haven’t read the Wardstone Chronicles Series, that might be problematic.

There are some exciting moments in the book, during the second act there is a huge battle sequence which ultimately felt like a third act despite it being in the middle was still fun to read. The third act however goes into a screeching halt as it slows down tremendously and leaves for an extremely unsatisfying climax.

Overall this is the weakest book out of all The Spook’s book. For older fans they can follow through this book without giving much thought however, I highly doubt newer readers would be invested in this story.

Rating 2.2/5

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Book Review: Spook’s A New Darkness by Joseph Delaney

Spook’s A New Darkness is the latest book from Joseph Delaney, although some argue that this is a s spin off from the original series it is more a continuation as it continues from the previous book (The Spook’s Revenge). Tom Ward is now the Chipenden Spook, with his apprenticeship cut short, he’s trying his best to deal with the local ghasts and ghouls but when 3 girls have died bearing the similar deaths, Tom discovers that something sinister is out there and it’s his job to take care of it.

As a big fan of the series, I could not wait to read what happened after the 13th book. Reading this, I was not disappointed. Tom Ward is still coping with the events of the previous book and he is trying incredibly hard to be strong and brave despite being a spook at a young age. Most people he helps doesn’t see him beyond his age and mostly see him as a young boy who doesn’t know better nevertheless he still gets the job done.

A new concept has been added by introducing Jenny, which claims to be a seventh daughter of a seventh daughter. Although both Jenny and Tom share some of the same abilities. Both have abilities which are unique to their gender. This of course expands the Spook lore as never in the past has a seventh daughter of a seventh daughter been mentioned. We also get several chapters where we read through Jenny’s perspective and it is a great way for readers to get to know the character. All of this really does make the book a completely brand new chapter and makes the series exciting.

Grimalkin is also back and for a side character she does quite a lot. The second half of this book, is mostly Grimalkin ordering Tom Ward to do all sorts of things. Which unfortunately makes the protagonist an afterthought.

To conclude, Spook’s A New Darkness is an incredible start to a new series. The book covers a lot from previous books so new readers don’t have to read the previous books to relate to this one. However it won’t have the same emotional impact as it will have to loyal readers. Spook’s A New Darkness is a great read and it is as usual a page turner and with an ending that blew me out of the water it is something the fans would love and new readers can get into and indubitably look forward to.

Book Review: Spook’s Bestiary by Joseph Delaney

The Spook’s Bestiary is John Gregory’s guide to the dark. It is a must read for any spook apprentice and to my surprise an astonishingly good read.

If you are familiar with the Wardstone Chronicles, then surely you would be familiar with the Spook’s Bestiary which was mentioned quite a few times within the series. Upon finishing it, I was blown away. The book gives so much details on the dark. From binding boggarts, witches, to introducing the old gods to so much more. This book is just full of information about the county and the denizens of the dark. Without a doubt Joseph Delaney wrote a very well written add on, to the Wardstone Chronicles.

The book not only acts as an encyclopedia to the denizens of the dark but it also includes past stories of John Gregory, the spook, and his earlier work. It also includes some stories of his master, Henry Horrocks, and some John Gregory’s other apprentice. Without a doubt the addition of these stories makes the book so much more interesting. Also the integration of Greek mythology was just right, it does not quite follow the original myth, but it is tweaked and blended nicely to fit in the Spook’s universe.

Another addition to this magnificent book, is the artwork. My goodness the artwork, as terrifying as it is, it is enticing to look at. The drawings are surely scary and one would be thankful that none of these exist, or do they. But they definitely give the readers an idea on what the creatures look like in the series.

To sum up, as a big fan, I really love this book and without a doubt a favorite of mine. The extracts are so detailed one would wonder, ‘How on earth does Joseph Delaney come up with this stuff?’, surely all of this can’t come from personal experience, or did they. Nonetheless it is an amazing read and it is highly recommend that long time fans of the series should put this to their reading list. Although as a precaution, this should be at least be read after the 10th book, The Spook’s Blood, to prevent any spoilers.

Book Review: Spook’s Revenge By Joseph Delaney

The Spook’s Revenge, the final book on the Wardstone Chronicles. This book dwells on the events after Spook’s Alice. After coming out of the dark, Alice encounters Grimalkin, who gives her an idea on how to destroy the Fiend, by reading the grimoire Doomdryte. While this is occurring, Tom and the Spook, on the other hand prepares and thinks of ways to fully defeat The Fiend.

Having read all the books before this, I was both very excited and sad to read this book, for the same reason which is, it is the final book of the series, The Wardstone Chronicles. To my judgement I was very happy with The Spook’s Revenge. I can tell that Joseph Delaney went all out on writing the book. Tying up loose ends and giving it an ending that stayed true to the nature of the plot and yet a satisfying one at that.

There are a lot of things that happens in this book, deaths, betrayals, unexpected alliances so much that would definitely give the reader that sense of excitement and the feeling of not having any clue on what is going to happen next. It is unpredictable and quite shocking at points. It does take you on an emotional roller coaster but in the end it delivers a gratifying ending. Long time fan of the series would have no problem with the conclusion but I’m certain some won’t be too pleased.

The writing as usual is magnificent, Joseph Delaney really knows how to extract emotions from his readers, whether it is happiness, sadness or the sense of victory on also as said on the title that vengeful emotion. As we follow through events in the eyes of Tom Ward, we are very sympathetic on what happens to him in the book and all of it is due to Delaney’s writing.

To conclude, as a big fan of the series from reading the first book to this. I am very pleased and very happy with this book, I am quite sad since it is the final book on this series but as the foreboding events in Spook’s Slither, we may not have seen the last of Tom Ward although the sneak peak at the back of the book confirms this as well. I do not think this is the best in this series, The Spook’s Nightmare followed by Destiny are still my favorite, however the Spook’s Revenge is still a strong and rewarding book for long time fans.

Book Review: The Spook’s Slither by Joseph Delaney

Spook’s Slither is the 11th book in Joseph Delaney’s Wardstone Chronicles. It follows a Haizda Mage named Slither.

Slither’s Tale does not particularly have a strong connection to the on going series other than it features one of the main characters in the form of Grimalkin. Nonetheless I find this a swift and a very entertaining read. It features monsters, assassins, mages and a whole lot amount of action involving decapitations, blood drinking and other nasty doings. All of it of course makes up a very solid journey overall.

The book is told in to two different perspectives. One is told by the protagonist Slither and the other in the view of Nessa. Slither is not the usual hero that we get. In fact we can tell that he is a monster through and through he will kill, drink blood, decapitate and he loves a good competition. Bounded by a trade he is forced to take care of 3 human girls one of which is Nessa, the other perspective in the book. Nessa brings the humanity in the book, that human perspective that will give a humanistic reaction to monsters and their doings. This, in return gives a perfect blend in the book, switching from one perspective to another when needed.

Another factor to take in to the book is Grimalkin. To me, I feel like Grimalkin was needed in the book. Her personality and charisma brings lively tone and gives the readers that extra nudge to keep them on reading.

To conclude, Delaney, successfully expanded the universe the original series is in. It is indeed a great expansion, but I feel like this should have been written after the main story arc has been finished. I can also confidently say that loyal readers can skip this book and go straight to book 12 after book 10 and they would not miss anything from the main arc. However this should be a satisfying read to readers who would want to take a break from the main story.