Sunday, May 20, 2012

Middle Grade Monday-- The Last Apprentice

Major SQUEEEEEEE! The Revenge of the Witch is being made into a movie called The Seventh Son! It's supposed to come out in 2013, and Jeff Bridges is the Spook. Yes, yes, I know I still haven't seen the film version of Cirque du Freak, but it's always fun when a book that is popular in my library but is NOT The Hunger Games is turned into a movie!

Delaney, Joseph. Grimalkin, the Witch Assassin. (#9)
17 April 2012
Reviewed for Young Adult Books Central

I was concerned that this book would not advance the plot of the series, but it does, and it makes sense that Tom is not the main character. The Fiend has been captured and bound, with his body in a remote location trussed up in silver, but Grimalkin is forced to carry his head around in a sack so that his followers can't get it to reunite with his body and reanimate him. This does not stop the followers from producing a kretch that is on Grimalkin's trail. Even with the help of her apprentice, Thorne, Grimalkin is poisoned in a fight with this monster and needs the help of Agnes to survive. In her weakened state, she continues her trek to permanently disable the fiend, hunting down lamias who knew Tom's mother and trying to get information from them. After they rescue Will, a young nobleman, he pledges the help of his father's soldiers, which Grimalkin desperately needs. Unfortunately, Will's father dies without defeating either the kretch or the mage supervising him. Grimalkin must turn to Alice, asking her for help in healing, and also for some of Alice's magic. If Alice does this, however, she will become a fully malevolent witch. While some things are resolved in this book, the Fiend is still a threat, and will continue to be until the end of book 14, which is supposed to be the last installment!
Strengths: LOTS of action, adventure, and gory killing of monsters. This was a surprisingly violent book, which the students will like. I preferred scenes like the dilemma of Alice.
Weaknesses: Again, very violent. The book also starts with the discussion of how Grimalkin wanted the fiend to leave her alone, and the only way to do this was to have his child, whom he then murdered. This is a bit much for 6th grade. Depending on what the next book in the series is like, this one might be one to skip.

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, hosted by Shannon Whitney Messenger over at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe.

Middle Grade is so hard to define. I know that our high schools do not carry The Last Apprentice series at all, but I doubt that many elementary schools do, either. When I was in middle school, it was a true middle school-- grades 5-8. To me, that is the middle grade audience, but everyone else seems to go down to second or third grade for this designation.

Any thoughts? Is this series middle grade? What ages do you think middle grade encompasses?


Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for the review. I've almost done with book one in the series and enjoying it but I don't know if I'll get to 9 or 14.

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