Monday, February 15, 2010

Review - THE SPOOK'S SACRIFICE


In terms of excitement and non-stop action, The Spook's Sacrifice is right up there with the first book in the series. I read this installment in just 2 days' time and now I'm a little bummed that I read so fast, because this is it until May!

This book has a formula that I consider to be successful in nearly all cases: there's a quest - an actual journey that takes the characters out of a familiar setting and plunges them into a totally new atmosphere. That tension nearly always creates a fun and exciting read for me. Also, there's a battle: the whole story revolves around this major good-evil confrontation and the suspense surrounding the planning and execution of the goal. Action, when done right, is definitely a winning element. And Delaney is a master when it comes to setting up scenes, particularly in the visual elements. He's also really good at drawing you in to the suspense and excitement of what's going on, particularly through the narrative voice of the MC, Tom Ward.

- That being said, there were a few plot revelations that really didn't work for me. I'm one the readers who believes that not everything an author writes has to be devoured with this "Oh sure thing!" attitude. I didn't like a few things that happened - they just seemed a little too far-fetched for my liking. But hey, I'm obviously not docking stars or anything...
- Characterization, though, has regressed a little throughout the last 2 books. I still like Tom and everything, but lately he's kind of gotten on my nerves, and he seems at times like a major walking contradiction, especially when it comes to how he deals with the Spook, his Mam, and Alice. He'll do something really noteworthy, and then just a little while later he'll revert back to the same old self that he was before...so I don't really know what to think of him sometimes. He's a well-rounded character, sure, but his actions/emotions seem very contradictory. I don't want to drop spoilers, so I won't elaborate. And this is bad for me since he's like one of the MCs, but I pretty much don't like the Spook. He annoys the crap out of me - gah he's so hypocritical! It drives me so crazy! I just want to thrust my hand through the page and smack him! It seems like everything to Spooks says and does is justified by the author, because I'm not picking up on any "well, clearly the Spook is wrong" message, and that annoys me. I like my Authoritative Figures (the Dumbledores and the Chirons and other teacher-mentor characters) to either be relatively flawless OR flawed-and-used-as-an-example. But by the end of the book, the Spook seemed to have been slipped some Compassion Pills so maybe we're good...

If you haven't started this series already, they are highly recommended! I like to muse and rant, sure, but the bottom line is that this is a highly engrossing series by a very creative and talented author that you will DEVOUR! Now I'm off to Wal-Mart to find a pet boggart :P

Final Rating: 4.8/5. Winning formulas and nonstop action make this one of the better books of the series! NEARLY a perfect 5-star rating!!

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