Night of the Soul Stealer: For kids who like being scared

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fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsNight of the Soul Stealer by Joseph DelaneyNight of the Soul Stealer by Joseph Delaney

Night of the Soul Stealer, the third book in Joseph Delaney’s LAST APPRENTICE (or WARDSTONE CHRONICLES) series is another intense scary story for children. Fans of the first two books, Revenge of the Witch and Curse of the Bane, which readers should finish first, will be pleased. I’m listening to Christopher Evan narrate HarperAudio’s version of the series.

The weather is getting colder, so it’s time to travel to the Spook’s winter residence, a solitary little house set in a harsh and desolate landscape. On the way, Alice, Tom’s only friend, is dropped off at a distant neighbors’ house. There’s some reason why the Spook doesn’t want her at his depressing winter estate. When they arrive, Tom founds out why — there are nasty things locked in the cellar, including witches and boggarts. It’s not that the Spook is afraid for Alice’s safety. Rather, he’s afraid that Alice isn’t trustworthy and that she may ally with the witches against him. One particular witch is especially powerful and persuasive and Tom soon discovers that she and the Spook have a secret and complicated relationship.

Then Tom finds out that the people that Alice is living with have a son named Morgan who is an evil necromancer and also has a questionable relationship with the Spook. Morgan is trying to awaken an inert pagan god so he can bring more evil into the world. Tom and Alice must try to stop him which, of course, turns out to be a dangerous endeavor. Besides all of this drama, some tragedies occur with Tom’s family and home, too. There are severe losses, and Tom’s family life will never be the same.

As you can tell, Night of the Soul Stealer is just as dark and frightening as the previous books. The bleak and isolated setting, the baddies in the cellar, the practice of necromancy, and all the mystery surrounding his master and the tragic occurrences at home combine to create an unsettling experience which leads to some serious existential questions for Tom and the reader.

This series is probably not suitable for sensitive children, but those who enjoy being scared will love it. I recommend the audio version.

Publisher: It’s going to be a long, hard, cruel winter. And there couldn’t be a worse place to spend it than up on Anglezarke. Thomas Ward is the apprentice for the local Spook, who captures witches and drives away ghosts. As the weather gets colder and the nights draw in, the Spook receives an unexpected visitor. Tom doesn’t know who the stranger is or what he wants, but the Spook suddenly decides it’s time to travel to his winter house, Anglezarke. Tom has heard it will be a bleak, forbidding place, and that menacing creatures are starting to stir somewhere on the moors nearby. Can anything prepare Tom for what he finds there? What if the rumors about the evil beast called the Golgoth are true? And how much danger will Tom be in if the secrets the Spook has been trying to hide from the world are revealed?

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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One comment

  1. This series sounds like a lot of fun!

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