Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Witches and Ghosts and Abhumans, Oh My!

The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch
by Joseph Delaney
When my son was ten I was fortunate enough to get an ARC (advanced reader copy) of Joseph Delaney's The Last Apprentice while attending the Texas Library Association's annual conference. He read it almost immediately and was hooked.

The Ghost Prison
by Joseph Delaney

When I opened the ARC of Delaney's novella The Ghost Prison last night, my son (now a high school graduate and seventeen years old) was excited to see it. He began reminiscing about The Last Apprentice and how much he enjoyed the books. We also talked about the upcoming movie (to be released in 2014). Like all book adaptations we agreed the book would be far superior to the movie. It is always a pleasure to talk about books with someone, especially when it is my son.

The Ghost Prison will be released in early October, just in time for Halloween, is a fantastic read. I loved the black and white illustrations that perfectly reflected the text. One of the greatest elements was close to the end of the book when young Billy, the fifteen year old prison guard, is plunged into darkness when his torch was blown out by a gust of wind. The illustrations turned from black on white to white on black. I love this effect. Not only does it make the ghostly images pop, but it also creates a more intense and scarier element to the story.

I will admit. I started reading during the late hours of the night and stopped. I finished reading in the bright light of the new day. I can't say I was exactly scared, because I have always LOVED spooky stories, but I can say that even though the pictures are in black and white, I could very clearly see the color red surrounding on particular illustration! For those of you who have seen the original black and white Psycho you can attest to the fact that the blood flowing down the drain was RED! Well, this is the case with the illustrations by Scott M. Fischer. Without saying which illustration to which I am referring (you can see it two different times in the book, the last on the second page of the "About the Illustrator" section). Now, when you read this great book, I want you to see if the red glows for you as well.

I will highly recommend this book for all libraries who serve children from the fifth grade and up. I'm sure it will be devoured just like Delaney's previous novels. Pair this book with books like Alvin Schwartz's collection of folklore in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark in order to have enough terror for any and all readers for October.

*To comply with new guidelines introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, Sourcebooks, Inc. has provided a complimentary electronic copy of this book through NetGalley.com.

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