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4.6 out of 5 stars
Night of the Soul Stealer (The Last Apprentice, Book 3)
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
The Last Apprentice series, while dark and sinister, has many white knuckle scenes, leaving you holding your breath with anticipation. Delaney is masterful, his fine crafting of words creates a world far different from other fantasy/horror writers. The beyond-sinister witches and other creatures make you want to take that running jump into bed at night, in case there is something underneath that may just grab you. I never know what to expect next, his many twists and turns in the plot leave you amazed and wondering where he is leading you. My son and I are huge fans of his books we can hardly wait for the next installment.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Last Apprentice: Night of the Soul Stealer is a great follow-up to the first two books in this series. Just like it's counterparts, Soul Stealer kept me on the edge of my seat with terror, while at the same time wanting MORE, MORE, MORE! I was a bit apprehensive when I got the book, wondering how Mr. Delaney could possibly come up with new ideas, but as usual, he did not disappoint! As usual, I was terrified of going into my basement alone after I read this! This series is fantastic for adults and kids (10 and over) alike, especially for anyone who likes to be scared! My eleven-year-old son has read the series and cannot wait for the next book to come out. I just can't wait to see what kind of trouble Tom Ward will get into next! Keep up the GREAT work, Mr. Delaney!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The book continued along nicely with the series. It was good to see more into the past life of the Spook. Can't wait to see what the apprentice finds in his mom's room in the next book of the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Tom Ward, the local spook's apprentice, must journey to the spooks second house in Anglezarke as the winter approaches. A strange cloaked figure appeared for the spook prior to their departure, saying that the spook had something that belonged to him. This encounter changed the spooks behavior and so they journeyed to Anglezarke. It's a bleak and depressing area, and the house isn't exactly welcoming either. The spook decides this is a great time to separate Alice, as he dislikes witches and spooks being together. It just doesn't fit. He sends Alice to a farmer's house, where we later learn that it's also where Morgan lives a few nights a week. As the days go by, Tom accomplishes his usual routine with household chores and spooks training. Although the spook has added a special demand. Tom must give Meg, the Lamia witch, a dose of potion everyday so she does not remember the past. This twist creates doubts and intrigues Tom to search the full story on Meg and her relationship with his master, but the dark is rising and Morgan is desperately searching for the grimoire in the spooks possession. Tom and his master must act swiftly before Morgan summons Golgoth, one of the old gods, and takes over the county!

The third book of the series was by far the most interesting and plot twisting! You find out another side of the spook, other than his old, grumpy, business like attitude. I did enjoy the increase of reference to the "old gods" they're very interesting and they add a thrill to the usual spooks business. Book 3 seemed to me as very emotional in many chapters and we did see the relationships between numerous characters. I hate to think it, but for me, the spook seems to be getting old and I doubt he's going to last very long through the series. I just hope he can complete Tom's training before the dark consumes the world. Anyways, Book 3, for me, was the best so far and I'd recommend it for anyone who's into adventure/fantasy or has read the first 2 books and doubt the third. It's a great purchase if you ask me, and I liked every chapter of it! I will be awaiting book four with anticipation and hope it gives me as much pleasure as this one!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2007
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
With this dark tale of supernatural mayhem, Delaney has launched a fine fantasy series that should appeal to kids and adults alike. Initially the pace is leisurely. Delaney doesn't rush in setting up his dark story world and introducing a cast of intriguing characters: young, earnest Tom, the seventh son of a seventh son; his enigmatic master the Spook; Alice who wears pointy shoes and can't decide whether to choose the side of darkness or light; the tame boggart that cooks their meals and appears from time to time in the guise of a ginger cat; and Tom's wise and mysterious Mam.

The monsters, witches, ghosts, and evil boggarts bring in plenty of complications soon enough as Tom begins his apprenticeship with the Spook. This isn't the Hogwarts brand of training, and you won't find the humor or occasional zany misadventures that are served up in a Harry Potter book. Instead, the tone stays serious as if Delaney doesn't want us laughing at the ghasts that haunt the night, lest we let our guard down too far. Tom spends a lot of time digging holes of the proper dimension to hold boggarts, and if that seems spun out a bit too long, be patient. Delaney's pacing in this book reminds me of a Hitchcock movie, slow and leisurely at first, but before you know it he's got you by the throat and you don't want to put the story down, especially when Tom has to confront the scariest witch I've met in recent fiction.

I'll also add that the second book in this series, THE CURSE OF THE BANE, opens with grim, hair-raising urgency. But read NIGHT OF THE SOUL STEALER first.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful series, most especially because of the ongoing development of Tom's relationship with the Spook, and of Tom's connection to Alice. Be warned that in later volumes this development is much less pronounced and the books become more interchangeable episodic adventures. But for now, and the next two volumes, if you are interested in Tom's mother's history, and in Tom's development as an apprentice, this book will be very rewarding.
This volume in particular provides a lot more back story for the Spook. It also moves the tale out of the County, and adds much more detail about the world around Tom. The plot is also a bit more complex, and moves beyond just "find and trap" the monster.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2012
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This is the 3rd book in The Last Apprentice series. Tom and Mr. gregory will be going to The Spooks desolate winter house in Anglezarke. There Tom will learn more on Meg and the soft spot Mr Gregory has for her, Golgoth, an old God of winter, and the truth of who Morgan is. All Tom knows of him is that he is one of Mr. Gregory's appentices and he is a Necromancer.

These books just keep getting better with each installment. Ive seen reviewers make the statement of how Tom hasnt changed much. I think since the "actual time" taking place in the book is going at a slow pace it would make sense that he hasnt changed much. Tom does get braver as he faces different aspects of "the dark" with each installment. His relationships with the secondary charachters also grow especially with Alice. What would Tom and Mr. Gregory do without Alice??? She and Tom are my favorites and Im rooting for them!!! Also I love the relationship Tom has with his Mam. I cant wait to see her secrets unfold...and what she has in those trunks.
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on February 1, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I enjoyed the third book in the Last Apprentice series. Winter is coming. It is time for the Spook and Tom Ward, his apprentice, to leave Chipenden and head to Old McGregory's winter home.

This was a very revealing installment in the series. We get to learn more about Meg, a witch from the Spook's past. We also get to see Meg's sister. These two women are very dangerous witches. The problem is Meg was someone the Spook cared about. He's never been able to bury her the way she should have been buried.

In the cellar of the winter home the Spook has three witches locked up behind iron bars. When they get out, Tom Ward must figure out what to do next . . . Only the trouble doesn't stop there. Morgan, one of the Spook's old apprentices (an apprentice the Spook had to fire), is trying to conjure great evil from the depths of Hell.

Morgan wants Tom's help -- and blackmails the young apprentice. Morgan instills doubt about the Spook into Tom's mind.

Facing dangerous witches, an evil ex-apprentice and growing doubt about who he can trust, Tom Ward finds himself to trying to figure out what is what, and who is who . . . With the help of Alice, a witch his age, a friend he is conflicted about having (since his job is to capture, bind and bury witches), Tom moves forward, out of childhood (thirteen years old) into young adult hood.

A great story. I love the visits to Tom's family. The friendship between Tom and Alice, and the numerous dangers that are constant between the pages. Joesph Delaney writes very simplistically, but does not hold back on the darkness and horror. So far, the series is quite entertaining. I will now move on to read, Attack of the Fiend, Book 4. . .

Phillip Tomasso,
Author of Damn the Dead and Blood River
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on February 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book takes a bit of a turn (an interesting one). We finally get more than a peak at the Spook's life before Tom's arrival and it is this past that helps move the story.

As the days get colder, it approaches time to move to the Spook's winter home in Anglezarke. Tom doesn't really want to go. He is comfortable in Chippenden, it's warmer there, Anglezarke is more overrun by the dark, and Alice will be leaving them. A letter from Morgan, one of the Spook's old apprentices prompts an earlier departure than expected. Once in Anglezarke, things get moving quickly. Meg (a witch and the Spook's love) lives in the house but she is kept drugged to keep her memory from returning. There is dangerous stone-chucker boggart on the loose, and that is the least of their worries. There is something Morgan wants from the Spook and he will stop at nothing to get it.

Definitely driving this book is the Spook's back story and, to a lesser degree, Tom's family drama. The Spook, it turns out, is a much more complex character than he first appears. And he isn't nearly as harsh and uncaring as he seems to want to appear either. This book employs the typical mentor not telling his mentee everything he needs to know device (though at least in this case it is because it is too personal, not because he thinks Tom "isn't ready"), which is always frustrating because of the number of issues that could be prevented had he simply told him everything.

The strangest thing about the book is that we know Tom has six brothers, but because we never actually see anyone but his oldest brother Jack, it is hard to really imagine him having other brothers. Do we even get their names? It would be interesting to see Tom and Jack's relationship develop beyond Jack being uncomfortable with him as a Spook. I'm also hoping we see Tom's mother again, and I imagine we will eventually, but I am more curious to see what is in her room and learn more about her.

Alice and Tom's relationship remains the most intriguing aspect of the book in many ways, but in this book Tom seemed to look at her as though they had something more than friendship between them. While I don't doubt that sometime in the future this may be the case (even if only for a little while), it seemed a little early for it.

My one issue with the book is the Spook's resolution for Meg seems more like he just fostered a dangerous issue on someone else who is unsuspecting of it.
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on May 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Thomas Ward has been the Spook's apprentice for several months now. When the winter starts to roll in, the spook decides it is time to leave his home in Chipenden, to go to his house in Angelazarke. Thomas is forced to leave Alice, a young witch friend, behind in a town on the way to Angelazarke.
The Spook hides many things about his past, Thomas at one point read a personal diary of the Spook's which revealed he was and is in love with a domestic lamia witch, and Thomas gets the pleasure of meeting her in Angelazarke. Yet more secrets come out when Thomas leans about a trouble maker in a town near Angelazarke, a failed apprentice of the Spook's, named Morgan. Morgan, who practices necromancy, wants to raise an ancient and forgotten god of winter, Golgoth. If Golgoth is raised, then the entire county or maybe even more will fall under an eternal winter.
Morgan attacks Tom's recently deceased father, who is in limbo, and tortures him, so Tom will do Morgan's bidding. When the Spook catches Tom attempting to steal an ancient book with the summoning ritual for Golgoth, Tom's actions are stopped. Eventually Morgan captures Tom again and he steals the ritual book. As Morgan begins the ritual in an underground crypt Thomas ponders how he could escape, realizing that he can't. Unannounced to Morgan and Thomas, however, the Spook destroyed to original book and had it remade, with an extremely minute change but important change; he replaced a word in Latin with another. Now, instead of summoning Golgoth outside of a protective ritual circle, Morgan summons Golgoth inside the circle, which ends in Morgan's demise. Now Thomas is sure he is doomed, as the tunnel has collapsed, but soon he finds Meg, the Lamia witch and her feral sister coming to his rescue. With Morgan dead and Golgoth never to be summoned again, the worries of winter are over.
The Spook and Meg have come to an agreement; Meg and her sister are going back to their homeland via ship. This is the wisest choice because up until now the Spook has been feeding Meg some special herb drinks, making her forget who she truly is and what she can do. For the remainder of the winter the Spook and Thomas will continue battling evil on the Angelazarke side of the county.
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