Reviews for Curse of the Bane


Booklist Reviews 2006 August #1
/*Starred Review*/ Gr. 6-9. When readers met Tom Ward in The Revenge of the Witch (2005), the first entry in the Last Apprentice series, he was a callow lad, apprehensively apprenticed to the Spook, who routs the Dark from the County. The malevolent forces that came into play last time seem almost mundane compared to the challenges Tom and the Spook face now: a violent, deadly bane growing in strength and power to become the embodiment of evil. Despite the blood and gore, this tale is more than a well-crafted horror story. Delaney infuses his characters with depth and emotion, but equally important, he grows his world by contributing significantly to the back story. Readers learn the reason the Spook has strong feelings about women in general and witches in particular, and Tom discovers something unexpected about his mother and her wisdom. Delaney also does an exceptional job of interweaving stories, with one plot point leading insistently to the next; at the book's conclusion, readers can go over all Tom has learned by leafing through his journal. Kids will breathlessly await Tom's next adventure. ((Reviewed August 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2007 Spring
The supernatural (and human) threats remain as fierce and deadly serious as in [cf2]The Revenge of the Witch[cf1], and as challenging to apprentice Tom's growing skill at confronting them. Delaney does a fine job of presenting a stand-alone story while inveigling readers into both going back to the first book and eagerly awaiting the third. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2006 #5
"When the boggart had got up to its tricks, [the priest had] tried to deal with it himself by using the priest's tools: bell, book, and candle. But that's no way to deal with the dark." No -- as readers of the first book about spook's apprentice Tom Ward will know, sometimes you have to call in a professional. The supernatural (and human) threats remain as fierce and deadly serious as in The Revenge of the Witch (rev. 11/05) and as challenging to Tom's growing skill at confronting them. His battle with the boggart opens the book but is a mere bagatelle compared to what it takes to defeat the Bane, a bone-flattening, blood-sucking creature long imprisoned in a maze of underground tunnels but still capable of exercising its malevolence. And -- thanks to Tom's witch friend Alice -- eventually let loose to terrorize the county. This sequel has rather more action than it can really handle, and the palpable sense of evil evoked in the first book is here more extroverted and consequently less scary. But it is satisfying to watch Tom grow into his powers, and Delaney does a fine job of presenting a stand-alone story while inveigling readers into both going back to the first book and eagerly awaiting the third. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2006 August #1
Opening with a victim's agonized scream, Delaney returns to the boggart-ridden County for a second gruesome, lickety-split episode featuring young Tom Ward, seventh son of a seventh son and for some months now apprenticed to the Spook, a hunter of malign spirits. Here the duo is propelled into and out of captivity at the hands of corrupt priests in the course of a desperate effort to slay the Bane, a mind-reading, blood-hungry entity long imprisoned beneath the local cathedral. Just as in Revenge of the Witch (2005), it's thanks to quick-thinking young Alice-a witch-in-training who teeters on the dark side's brink but hasn't quite made the leap-that Tom and his master emerge from the climactic battle alive (if considerably scathed). Dark, woodcut style art at the chapter heads, and an appended section of reproduced pages from Tom's notes on various bogles met here and previously, reinforce the gloomy atmosphere of his narrative. Readers will be hooked from the first line. (Fantasy. 11-13) Copyright Kirkus 2006 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2006 September #1
When the Last Apprentice series launched with The Revenge of the Witch, PW wrote in a starred review, "Readers will clamor to learn about Tom's future adventures." Readers need wait no more: 13-year-old Tom, apprenticed to the Spook, returns in Curse of the Bane by Joseph Delaney, illus. by Patrick Arrasmith. New challenges await as the teen confronts the bane of the title, who can control others' thoughts. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2006 November

Gr 5-7 In this second book in the series, Delaney chronicles the spine-tingling adventures of Thomas Ward, seventh son of a seventh son, and the last remaining apprentice of monster hunter Mr. Gregory, aka the Spook. The most dangerous monster of all, the Bane, has been imprisoned in the catacombs under Priestown. He kills by squashing his victims completely flat, and he appears to be succeeding at controlling the minds and actions of some of the town's inhabitants. He needs to be dealt with once and for all. Priestown holds its own dangers for Thomas and the Spook, however, as their work makes them subject to being declared witches and executed by the Quisitor. In the scary and dangerous events that follow, Thomas, accompanied by his friend Alice, faces the most difficult choices of his life so far, and learns to trust himself rather than simply follow his master's instructions. His first-person narration gives this truly spooky story an immediacy and a sense of reality that heightens the tension and impending danger. While part of a series, the story stands successfully on its own. Occasional eerily atmospheric woodcuts enhance the story's mood. Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City

[Page 132]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2006 July
Tom Ward, the apprentice spook, is back in the second book of Delaney's The Last Apprentice series. Six months into his training to rid the county of supernatural beings and becoming quite skilled in his own right, Tom must save his master, the Spook, and his old friend, Alice, a young witch, from both a witch hunt lead by a fanatic inquisitor and the Bane, a bloodsucking demon that is quickly regaining its strength. As in the first installment, there is quite a bit to keep the reader's interest; and this time around, it is possessed priests, a witch burning, and the Bane itself. Clues are revealed as well about Tom's mother's mysterious and mystical past. Unfortunately, as in the first book, Tom is a lackluster first-person narrator. Even in what should be intense situations, Tom is matter-of-fact, creating a strange feeling of disconnect with the story and a lack of real excitement. Because most action focuses on Tom's struggles to save Alice and the Spook despite his limited training, this dearth of spirit is disappointing, although it makes the book more suited for younger readers. Older 'tweens may want to look for a supernatural thriller with a bit more bite.-Vikki Terrile PLB $17.89. ISBN 0-06-076622-0. 3Q 3P M Copyright 2006 Voya Reviews.

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