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Wednesday, 7 January 2015

The Spook's Apprentice: The Series

The Spook series is about the story of Thomas Ward, a seventh son of a seventh son and one who was apparently born to fight evil. To do so, he is apprenticed to a Spook, a term given to someone whose profession is fighting the darkness. While unwilling at first, he eventually grows into his role even as prophecies; both light and dark, come into play.  

Well, I've read the whole series before I saw the movie that was supposedly 'based' on the books and I used the word 'based' very very loosely. And I guess I like the series well enough, or at least well enough to buy 10 books in the series. It's got its ups and downs but overall, the series is plenty enjoyable, starting with Thomas Ward when he's 12 years old and apprenticed to the local Spook; Gregory, who is a stern but fair man. In the first few books, they fight mostly evil witches who terrorise the local populace before moving onto more dangerous prey, such as old gods, vampires and werewolves. 

The series has a very quaint medieval English charm about it, with the main locale for the series being a very obvious not-England countryside. The characters even visit Ireland for a while. They even make use of quite a few local superstitions or myths with regards to the supernatural and it's, what's the word? Quite charming in terms of its style. 

There's a very human element throughout the books, because even though Thomas Ward was born to fight evil, he's still human and he's still as frail as a normal human is. The only apparent quirks he has is that his shadow is 3x as long as a normal human in the light of the moon; a fact which is harped on several times by several characters due to the local saying 'the light of the moon reveals things for what they are', his ability to slow down time for short periods of...well, time, and his ability to sense where evil is. However, he pretty much bleeds and dies like anyone else. 

And that's true of pretty much all the characters in the book. They're all pretty human, even the witches. Well, most of them anyway. It's rare that I find a series that doesn't have a character that just rubs me the wrong way but I honestly can't remember anyone in the Spook's series that did that. 

My overall impression of the books is that the first few books were probably the best in the series; much like a lot of other series, with the last book, especially, being a bit rushed in terms of execution. One flaw of this author is that I think he falls way too much into the "tell and not show" habit of writing, which is when he just has a character say 'oh this and that happened', which is okay for mundane parts but he even just tells important parts and skips actually showing it. You'd figure someone who's actually a professional writer wouldn't commit such an egregious mistake but nope, he does. Still, overall this series was pretty decent and worth the time I spent reading it.