Reading Level: Young Adult
Length: 448 pages
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Stand Alone or Series: 12th book in the Last Apprentice series
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
This is the twelfth book in The Last Apprentice series by Delaney. The thirteenth (and final book) Fury of the Seventh Son, will come out in the US in April 2014.
This book is all about Alice and is told from her point of view. While Alice is away from Tom she goes on a hunt for the Dolorous dagger. This is one of the three daggers needed to make the final sacrifice that will destroy the Fiend once and for all, it is also the dagger that will be used to sacrifice Alice and cut out her heart. When Alice first enters the Dark she thinks it will be a friendless journey, that’s when she meets up with Thorne who offers to assist her. Together they face some of Alice’s most feared enemies.
The story goes back and forth between the present and Alice’s past. When Alice encounters someone in the Dark that she has a past with, the story diverges for a bit to tell the tale of Alice’s past. This was interesting since much of Alice’s past has remained a mystery throughout the series.
Through most of the book all I could think was “poor Alice”. She has a very heartbreaking past and as we learn about her upbringing my heart went out to her. This girl has got to have the worst luck of any heroine I have ever read about.
Then you get to the present and Alice’s journey through the Dark. Poor Alice has to face things no one should have to face. She has to face enemies that she’s already vanquished and deal with their hatred for her part in their deaths. Things just get worse and worse for her as the book goes on.
Then you remember that she is doing all of this to retrieve a dagger that will be used to maim and kill her as a sacrifice to destroy the Fiend. It makes you even sadder. That’s not to say that this is an especially depressing read. It is one of the darkest book in the series. However, Alice faces her miserable circumstances with a surprisingly practicality and a resilient attitude. She is incredibly brave and incredibly determined to not succumb to the Dark.
We also learn a lot more about how truly powerful Alice is and how that is a danger to her heart and soul. She is one powerful witch and we see it in this book.
The book ended at a good spot, but right at the end Grimalkin shows up and throws one heck of a twist into the story. It’s another one of those “oh my god! poor Alice!” moments. There is a lot of wonderfully creepy artwork throughout just like in previous books.
The only thing that bothered me throughout the book is that Alice’s accent seemed to come and go without rhyme or reason. Also while I enjoyed hearing Alice’s story, I really really want to get to the final battle between all of characters and the Fiend. I feel like the progress of the overall series has slowed to a crawl.
Overall I loved this book. It was wonderful to see things from Alice’s perspective, to learn more about her past, and follow her through her quest into the Dark. We learn a lot about Alice and…man has this girl gone through some horrible trials in her life. This whole series is incredibly well done and highly recommended to those who love dark fantasy. It’s a very well done fantasy horror for the middle grade and older age set.