Thursday, November 22, 2012

Lure of the Dead (The Last Apprentice book 10)

Me loves a good scary monster! Delaney creates some awesome predators in his horror books. Book 10  of the Spook Series has Tom working more on his own as a Spook; he's no longer the apprentice. He has discovered that he must retrieve a sacred object and make a sacrifice of someone he loves before getting rid of the Fiend. I thought they had gotten rid of the Fiend when Grimalkin chopped off his head but, alas, he is not gone from the world. Even with his head in a sack being carried by Grimalkin, the Fiend can still speak out loud and manipulate his servants to pursue Alice, Tom, and Grimalkin in an attempt to attach his head to his body and achieve world dominance. Even his talking rotted head that resides in a sack can strike terror in the hearts of the heroes. Except Grimalkin. No one can scare Rambo-woman. She just sticks his head near the fire and toasts him a little to show who's in control. Gotta love that assassin. This sacred object/sacrifice of a loved-one quest looks like the storyline but it isn't so don't read it like I did thinking, "When are they gonna get the sacred object?" Instead this story is about Tom and the Spook going to fetch some books for a library only to find servants of the Fiend trying to bring forth powerful old gods of the dark to create an army to take over earth.

The strigoica and strigoi are the monsters this time with lizard-like vampire features and appetites. They move so fast that victims are dead before they can lift an arm to defend themselves. Tom continues to muse about how he has to use the dark to fight the dark. The Spook no longer gives speeches about the dangers of this, but then the Spook ends up in a horrible predicament that forces Tom to rescue him. He must enlist the help of one who betrayed them, along with Grimalkin and Alice. He is terrified that the prophecy of the Pendle Witches regarding  the Spook have come true.

Delaney does a great job with creating monsters, tension, and violence. This book has more decapitations than I can count, along with stabbings, and blood-sucking creatures. The prose is on the boring side and there was very little character development in this book. Actually there is very little seen of the character, Alice. I missed her. Her voice is different and she's more in-your-face sometimes good, sometimes bad. She's too good and accepting in this book. The Spook seemed out-of-character at the end giving up. I could buy him being weak from his ordeal but I couldn't buy him retreating so into himself. There needed to be a better explanation than just turning old.

This plot wasn't as unpredictable as others. It was pretty obvious the power of the Strigoica's illusion. As always, the monsters shine. They are creepy and unpredictable. They usually have something odd or different about them that makes them not quite your stock vampire or shape-shifter. This book is similar to the others but the plot wasn't as complex and the characters didn't have much internal changes as in previous ones. It was less interesting with the loss of the mentor-apprentice tension that came from Tom learning the trade. Instead the tension was supposed to come between Judd and Tom with his betrayal; however, Judd's situation was too horrible to hate him for his actions. That tension is filled up instead with nonstop action as the plot moves forward and beasts and monsters attack the heroes. Enjoy this fast read and don't read if you have a queasy stomach.

Reading Level 5.7
3 out of 5 Smileys

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