A New Darkness by Joseph DelaneyDelaney, Joseph. A New Darkness. New York, NY: Greenwillow, 2014. Print.
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“All I had to do was wait for Jenny. She had to come down to the cellar at midnight. Once she’d done that, I would stand up and tell her she’d passed the test. But first she would have to withstand a few very unpleasant experiences.
The house was haunted by ghasts, not ghosts, so the manifestations weren’t aware of their surroundings. They were dark fragments of suffering spirits left behind when their larger selves had escaped to the light. They played over and over again the part of their lives that had resulted in trauma—as the girl would soon find out.”

Excerpt From: Joseph, Delaney. “A New Darkness.”

In the County and surrounding areas, darkness runs amok putting all of its inhabitants into dire peril. Luckily, seventh sons of seventh sons are scattered throughout to protect those in danger; these men are called spooks. Spooks have a variety of duties and abilities to aid them in their vocation. Because they are seventh sons of seventh sons, they have "some immunity to witchcraft. Let's hope that's the case for a seventh daughter (Delaney 157)." Tom challenges the requirements of becoming a spook, allowing Jenny--a seventh daughter of a seventh daughter-- to start an apprenticeship, hoping that she had the same immunities as he. Spooks, with their main weapons of a rowan wood staff with a retractable blade, an iron chain and pockets filled with salt and iron, they battle dark beings ranging from boggarts and witches to old Celtic gods and the Fiend himself.

Joseph Delaney has brought his Last Apprentice Series to a close, in which Tom Ward's master has died in a glorious battle between light and evil, the spook and his apprentice and the Fiend. Now Thomas Ward's spook apprenticeship has prematurely ended and he has to defend the County, alone. Girls are being found throughout the County with their blood drained. As Tom investigates he is approached by a young girl named Jenny. To become a spook, one must be the seventh son of a seventh son because they have a certain resistance to the dark arts. However, Jenny is a seventh of a seventh daughter. After much convincing, Tom takes her on as an apprentice and wherever he goes people are taken by surprise. in this book women are still confined to the "domestic sphere." "A girl apprentice... I never thought I'd see the day!" (Delaney 77). He finds out that it was a Kobalos-- a hostile species from the North of the County-- killing the girls. They travel North to meet their ally who had already been documenting their new foe, Grimalkin the witch assassin. To prevent from spoiling the book, that's all I'm going to say.

Throughout Tom's apprenticeship, he has been taught to fight the dark and all its spawn. But in order to defend the County from a Kobalos invasion from the North, he must accept that the old ways are changing and he must team up with the things that he once sought to kill. To his late master's disapproval, he has been a part of dark rituals and spells, but to protect the lives of the innocent. Now that Tom has to completely align with the dark, will he be able to keep his guard up to prevent them from betraying him or will his previous alliances lead to his ultimate demise(+1)?

I give this book a 4.5/5 rating because of a few things. Mainly I liked it because of its vivid language really form a mental image. For example: "There were five armed men facing Grimalkin; four were on horseback, one had dismounted. The latter was dressed in expensive armor, with a chain-mail coat that came down to his knees and a metal breastplate in which i could see my own reflection. He was very tall and and had a dark moustache that obscured his mouth. His dark eyebrows met in the middle, reminding of my brother Jack." (Delaney 268). I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys supernatural fantasy.

About the Author:

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Joseph Henry Delaney was born in Preston, England in 1945. While growing up he said him and his brother had the same reoccurring nightmare. In this nightmare a cold shadowy creature picked them up and carried them into the darkness. This experience while growing up is most likely the reason he writes dark fantasy books today. During his early school years, he attended the prestigious Regent House Grammar School in Newtonards, Northern Ireland. While in his college years, he attended Lancaster University. Delaney decided to become an English teacher at Blackpool Sixth Form College after he served as an apprentice engineer. While being a teacher at this college he helped them kickstart the Media and Film Studies Department. As he helped start up their department, he began writing, which would lead to the best-selling books that explore the depths of the never-ending battle between light and dark.


Motion Picture Inspired by His Last Apprentice Series: Seventh Son

Additional Resources:
Other Books by Joseph Delaney-other books regarding Tom and the Spook series
Joseph Delaney Biography-Joseph Delaney Biography
Regent House Grammar School-where Joseph Delaney attended school
Lancaster University-where Joseph Delaney attended college
Online Purchase of Joseph Delaney Books -amazon.com
Everything Spook Related-including a description of each book and much more
Last Apprentice/ Starblade Chronicles FanFiction-FANICTION!!
Books Similar to A New Darkness-similar books to A New Darkness on goodreads.com
A New Darkness Book Review-Barnes and Nobles Book Review
Joseph Delaney Facebook Page-facebook page with Joseph Delaney and the Spook series