Thursday, 2 December 2010

The Spook's Nightmare (Wardstone Chronicles Book Seven)

The Spook's Nightmare
Spook's Nightmare on Amazon
Title: The Spook's Nightmare

Author: Joseph Delaney

Series: Wardstone Chronicles
Preceded By: The Spook's Sacrifice


Score: 8/10
How likely I am to read the next in the Series: Definite!


It's always more difficult to review a second (although this is actually the seventh) book in a series than the first, or even a second book by an author. This is because the writing style, and pitfalls of an author often change little between books. So If you haven't already, I would advise reading my review of "The Spook's Sacrifice" as well as this one, which will give a more detailed account of the author's style.

On saying this however, there are some marked differences between the two books I've reviewed of the series so far. The main one being is that this book's storyline, while not actually being set in "the County" as the first five were, is much closer to them in storyline than the The Spook's Sacrifice was. By this I mean that while in The Spook's Sacrifice they were on a heroic quest to save the world, Once more they are dealing with local enemies, in fact one they've faced before, and also the fact that there is again distrust between characters, and peoples as a whole, that were more muted in The Spook's Sacrifice. This book felt somewhat more realistic for the fantasy world Delaney has set up.

Speaking of the world he was set up, I would appreciate a map that covered more of the county. I live near the area the county is based on, and it would be nice to see the real towns on a map, such as Kendal. But I do appreciate the geography of the County, and I love the idea of it.

There are a couple of points that went very well, and one that didn't go so well. Beginning with the Spook's failures mentioned in the blurb; It's good to see that the Spook isn't perfect. It helps with the realism and roundedness of the character. Although we have already seen this before, in the Spook's Secret for example, it's also good to see the main character noticing the weaknesses. Similarly, the use of the Dark by the 'good guys' is also good to see. Not because I think they should be dark, but because it represents that not everything in life is black and white. I think that this book generally represented our world a little more than the others, particularly The Spook's Sacrifice, did.

---SPOLIER ALERT: Tom & Alice (Highlight to read)---

Now, the thing that I didn't think went so well was the romantic tension between Tom and Alice. It's been there for several books now, and I'm quite disappointed that they haven't done anything with it. They hold hands every now and again, but I get the impression that the Author's reluctance to take it any further than that is due to the fact it's aimed at children.

While I disagree even that romance should be minimised even in normal children's books, this series has been growing darker, and in many ways more mature, as it's characters age. I don't think that it would be out of place for the two teens to kiss, or be boyfriend and girlfriend. In fact, it's something that I hope will happen in the next book.


But overall, this is possibly my favourite of the spook's books so far, and I am eager to read the next, which will hopefully be written soon. Bony Lizzy is a fantastic opponent, and she is restored brilliantly in the book. I look forwards to more returning villains, and new ones, in the future. As before, I would seriously recommend this series to anyone who likes fantasy or supernatural novels, adult or child.

More Information

Main Protagonist(s): 2 Male, 1 Female
Main Antagonist(s): 1 Female
Main Relationships: Hinted Heterosexual
Genre: Fantasy/Supernatural
Brief Synopsis:  (From

The Spook, Tom and Alice return from Greece to find the County under siege – and the Spook’s home burnt to the ground. With his precious library of knowledge destroyed, they seek refuge on the nearby island of Mona. But with Mona in the thrall of a twisted Shaman there is little respite from hostility or denizens of the dark. And as Alice dodges the ever-tightening net of the island’s witch hunters, a more deadly enemy emerges...

Bony Lizzie, freshly-escaped from the Spook’s bonds, has grand ambitions: to take for herself the throne of isle. She has harnessed the services of a tunnel-dwelling buggane, an evil creature which thrives on stealing the animas, or life force, from its unsuspecting victims. With the buggane as her secret weapon can she become an all-powerful Witch Queen?

ISBN: 978-0-370-32981-9
Amazon Link: The Spook's Nightmare
Pages: 401 (hardback edition)
First Published: 2010
Publisher: Bodley Head (Random house imprint)

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