The Spook's Curse by Joseph Delaney

(9.0/10) A rare gem that will bring delight to all who enjoy reading.

The Spook and his apprentice, Thomas Ward, have travelled to Priestown to defeat the Bane, a powerful, evil creature that lurks in the catacombs of the cathedral and is corrupting the County. As Thomas and his master prepare to battle with the Bane, they soon realize it isn’t their only enemy in Priestown. The Quisitor has arrived, searching the County for those who meddle in the dark – witches, warlocks and spooks! Can Thomas and his master survive the horror that follows…?

The Spook’s Curse is the second book in Joseph Delaney’s The Wardstone Chronicles. The series opener, The Spook’s Apprentice was a sparkling beginning to the series and The Spook’s Curse retains the same high standards.

The Spook’s Curse is the second book in Joseph Delaney’s The Wardstone Chronicles. The series opener, The Spook’s Apprentice was a sparkling beginning to the series and The Spook’s Curse retains the same high standards. The book begins with The Spook unwell and Thomas having to deal with a boggart all by himself for the first time. This is no-ordinary boggart, it is a class one boggart, The Horshaw Ripper, and to make things even more complicated it is sucking the blood and life from The Spook’s brother (a priest whom he has not talked to for over forty years). This opening lets you know that The Spook’s Curse will offer no relief from the spine-tingling events that made the first book standout!

The Spook paused and sighed deeply. ‘I don’t believe in the God they preach about in church,’ he said. ‘I don’t believe in an old man with a white beard. But there’s something watching what we do, and if you live your life right, in your hour of need it’ll stand at your side and lend you its strength. That’s what I believe. Well, come on, lad. We’ve dawdled here long enough and had best be on our way.’

From: The Spook's Curse by Joseph Delaney

The foundations were laid perfectly in The Spook’s Apprentice and Delaney now builds on these to give the major characters even more life. It is the Spook’s history that is explained most in this story; his family, loves and failures are covered and this allows him to become a far more sympathetic character. The locations for the story are both familiar and new; a perfect mixture in my opinion; we have the Spook’s house and Thomas’s farm that we know and are comfortable with and then we are taken to new places like Priestown where most of the story unfolds.

“It was a town of churches, with spires and towers rising above the rows of small terraced houses. Set right on the summit of a hill, near the centre of the town, was the cathedral.”

In every great book there are great villains and The Spook’s Curse gives us two baddies worthy of the name. Witches, or those claimed to be practising witchcraft (or the dark arts), are being rounded up and burnt. The evil man responsible for this is the Quisitor and this was Thomas’s first impression of the man - “I was fascinated by his face. It was almost too handsome to be a man’s, but it was strong at the same time, with a jutting chin and a determined forehead. Then I looked again at the blue eyes and saw the cruelty glaring from them.”. If that was not enough there is then the Bane, a powerful, evil creature that lurks in the catacombs of the cathedral and is corrupting the County. The battle to destroy, once and for all, the Bane is the heart of the story and after Thomas has entered Priestown he come face to face with a representation of the Bane outside the cathedral - “It had an elongated chin that curved upwards almost as far as its long nose, and wicked eyes that seemed to follow me as I walked towards it. Its ears were strange too, and wouldn’t have been out of place on a big dog or even a wolf.”

The scare-factor is still pretty high for a young-adult novel – we have burnings, suicide and “pressings” but nothing that will greatly disturb a young adult (they will in fact love it). I would be very interested to discover how many parallels there are between the content in the Spook’s series and the author’s own life. Was Joseph Delaney’s mother Greek? Did all the colloquial sayings come from his Dad? Sometimes the second book can be a let down but this is not the case here; we are once again treated to a magnificent tale that thankfully is but the second instalment in a five-book series. Many questions are raised here and I can’t wait to read the third book to once again be frightened and to have them answered.

Go out and buy this series now. It does not matter if you’re 8 or 80, male or female; this series is just one of those rare gems that can bridge genres and bring delight to all who enjoy reading.

Review by

5 positive reader review(s) for The Spook's Curse

Our interview with Joseph Delaney

The Wardstone Chronicles began in 2004 with the publication of The Spook's Apprentice. In 2008 the fifth book in the series, The Spook's Mistake, was released to further complement a series that is without doubt the b [...]

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9+

The Spook's Curse reader reviews

from England

An amazing book! I'm on the 7th one and I LOVE these books, so much stuffed into so few pages and in one little book!

from Australia

To me this was the best book ever written. I am now reading The Spook's Blood which I cannot put down, my fav character is also Alice Deane. These books rock!!!

from England

I was thinking whether or not to buy the Spook's books (after hearing that they are mainly for children/young adults). I bough the first two books together and honesty didn't think Spooks Apprentice was that great. However, I still read the second and was very suprised. The plot was a lot bigger and characters were developed a lot better. The one difference from the first book is that this seems a lot more grown up. The first book felt like a book for young adults, whereas this felt like it was for anyone of any age .

from America

I honestly loved the book! They are amazing and I can't stop reading them! In the book I think Alice Dean and Tom Ward will fall in Love. They hold hands affectionately throughout the series but why can't they just kiss?

from Ireland

This was, in my opinion, the best Spooks book there is. It is extremely well thought out and alot of twists and turns throughout the chapters. I think it was a great idea for Joseph Delaney to add the Quisitor. It was a book I just couldn't put down no matter how hard I tried and I thoroughly enjoyed it!!!!

from Bolton

I couldn't stop reading this book, even though I know what happens I just want to read on. This is one of them books where it just gets better and better and when you think the worst is about to happen something unexpectd comes along and gives you a thrill!

9.3/10 from 7 reviews

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All reviews for Joseph Delaney's The Wardstone Chronicles series

The Spook's Tale

The Wardstone Chronicles written by Joseph Delaney

The Spook keeps the County safe from creatures of the dark; things that suck your blood and snatch your bones and squeeze the breath from your body. When young John Gregory [...]

Published: 0000

Our rating: 8.4 | positive reader reviews

9+

The Spook's Stories: Witches

The Wardstone Chronicles written by Joseph Delaney

For years, the local Spook has been keeping the County safe from ghosts and boggarts, but more especially from witches. The Spook’s Stories: Witches features stories [...]

Published: 2009

Our rating: 9.0 | positive reader reviews

9+

I Am Grimalkin

The Wardstone Chronicles written by Joseph Delaney

'I am Grimalkin, and I have already chosen those I will kill…'Grimalkin has made it her lifetime ambition to destroy the Fiend, avenging the brutal mu [...]

Published: 2014

Our rating: 9.0 | positive reader reviews

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The Spook's Apprentice

The Wardstone Chronicles: Book 1 written by Joseph Delaney

Thomas Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son and has been apprenticed to the local Spook. The job is hard, the spook is distant and many apprentices have failed before h [...]

Published: 2004

Our rating: 10.0 | positive reader reviews

9+

The Spook's Blood

The Wardstone Chronicles: Book 10 written by Joseph Delaney

Having bound the Fiend's spirit temporarily, Tom now has to come up with a permanent solution - and quickly. But the forces of the dark are now throwing everything they [...]

Published: 2004

Our rating: 9.0 | positive reader reviews

9+

Slither's Tale

The Wardstone Chronicles: Book 11 written by Joseph Delaney

Slither is a haizda mage who preys upon humans, drinking their blood to feed his dark urges. So when a local farmer dies, it's only natural that Slither should want to [...]

Published: 0000

Our rating: 6.0 | positive reader reviews

9+

Spooks: Alice

The Wardstone Chronicles: Book 12 written by Joseph Delaney

A lot of dark stuff happened when I was young that I’ve never even told to my dearest friend, Tom Ward. Dark and scary things I hoped I had left behind forever... [...]

Published: 0000

Our rating: 8.8 | positive reader reviews

12+

The Spook's Curse

The Wardstone Chronicles: Book 2 written by Joseph Delaney

The Spook and his apprentice, Thomas Ward, have travelled to Priestown to defeat the Bane, a powerful, evil creature that lurks in the catacombs of the cathedral and is cor [...]

Published: 2004

Our rating: 9.0 | positive reader reviews

9+

The Spook's Secret

The Wardstone Chronicles: Book 3 written by Joseph Delaney

As the weather gets colder, the Spook announces that it’s time to move to his winter house on Anglezarke – a bleak, forbidding place, close to the dark with a d [...]

Published: 2006

Our rating: 9.0 | positive reader reviews

9+

The Spook's Battle

The Wardstone Chronicles: Book 4 written by Joseph Delaney

In Pendle the witches are rising and the three most powerful witch clans are rumoured to be uniting in order to conjure an unimaginable evil. Together they will be capable [...]

Published: 2005

Our rating: 9.0 | positive reader reviews

9+

The Spook's Mistake

The Wardstone Chronicles: Book 5 written by Joseph Delaney

As danger increases in the Country, Tom is sent north by his master to be trained by Bill Arkwright, another spook. Arkwright lives in a haunted mill on the edge if a treac [...]

Published: 2008

Our rating: 9.5 | positive reader reviews

9+

The Spook's Sacrifice

The Wardstone Chronicles: Book 6 written by Joseph Delaney

As the Spook’s apprentice, Tom’s first duty is to protect the County from the dark. But now Mam needs his help in her homeland of Greece. One of the most danger [...]

Published: 0000

Our rating: 8.5 | positive reader reviews

9+

The Spook's Nightmare

The Wardstone Chronicles: Book 7 written by Joseph Delaney

The Spook, Tom and Alice return from Greece to find the County under siege - and the Spook's home is burnt to the ground. With his precious library of knowledge destroy [...]

Published: 0000

Our rating: 8.7 | positive reader reviews

9+

The Spook's Destiny

The Wardstone Chronicles: Book 8 written by Joseph Delaney

The Spook, Tom and Alice travel to Ireland, fleeing from the war in the County. There, Tom must tackle a group of evil mages who are desperate to rid their land of the Spoo [...]

Published: 2011

Our rating: 8.0 | positive reader reviews

9+

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