Favourites Friday: The Cephalopod Coffeehouse Edition

Happy Friday everyone! The weekend is almost here - woohoo! Hope y'all have an excellent time!

Thanks for the comments on my latest Working Wednesday entry; the congrats on the new position and the feedback on my work in progress snippet were greatly appreciated. 

It's back to Favourites Friday today, but this week is a little different. Instead of talking about all the things I've enjoyed this week, I'm focusing on one book in particular I've enjoyed this month, as part of The Armchair Squid's Cephalopod Coffeehouse

So, what is the Cephalopod Coffeehouse all about? Well, from the mouth of the Armchair Squid themselves, here is the description:

Greetings to all!  I hope you'll join us for the next installment of the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, an online gathering of bloggers who love books.  The next meeting is set for Friday, June 28th.  If you're interested, please sign on to the link list at the end of this post.

The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you've finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same.  In this way, we'll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers.  Please join us [link].

Image from Goodreads.com
"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 for ever . . ." 
Over the years, Alice has fought evil side by side with the Spook and his apprentice, Thomas Ward. But now Alice is alone – in the realm of the dark. And the creatures she has helped to banish there, now have the chance to take their revenge. 
Alice must seek the final weapon needed to destroy the Fiend for good. If she fails, the world will fall into despair and darkness. If she succeeds, it means facing her own death at the hands of her dearest friend. But can she prevent the darkness from taking her over completely . . . ? 
The penultimate installment of the Wardstone Chronicles follows Alice, Thomas Ward’s loyal companion, to the most terrifying place of all.
**Spoilers for  Spook's: Alice by Joseph Delaney**

The Wardstone Chronicles have been a favourite of mine since February, when I was in the library with my son, and randomly picked up a book called The Spook's Stories: Witches. I was instantly drawn to it because of the mention of witches; my favourite paranormal being. A couple of weeks later a one of the stories from Witches was available for free on Google Play. I downloaded the tale, entitled Grimalkin, and instantly fell in love with the dark, creepy world Joseph Delaney had created. In quick succession  I read the eleven books that make up the Wardstone Chronicles, and then hit a problem ... book twelve, Alice wasn't released yet.

I waited patiently until June 6th, even stopping up past midnight to download it on my Kindle and begin reading right away. I was more than excited for Alice, because she's my favourite character, but also because it was the penultimate book in the series and Alice was venturing into the dark (the domain of The Fiend aka the Devil). 

Unlike the other books in the Wardstone Chronicles (with the exception of I am Grimalkin), this book wasn't told from the point of view of Tom Ward, but his best friend, and witch, Alice Deane. Also in a change from the usual format, this book took place in the present in-book universe, as well as travelling back to the past, where Alice relived some of her worst memories growing up as a witch under the tutelage of Bony Lizzie. 

As with all Joseph Delaney books, the creep factor was high. Not only did Alice have to face enemies from her past, like her estranged mother - who Alice had a hand in killing - and hideous werewolf daemon-spawn the Kretch that almost killed the witch assassin Grimalkin, but she also had to fight new monsters like the Fiend's right hand lieutenant, the bee daemon Beelzebub, and the giant spider daemon Raknid. 

And all the time Alice is fighting these entities of the dark, she knows her quest will eventually lead to her doom, because she's gone into the dark to retrieve the finale of the three hero blades, forged by the old god Hephaestus, needed to defeat the Fiend once and for all; and the ritual to defeat the Fiend requires that she willingly allow Tom to kill her. 

While in the dark Alice encounters a familiar face, we see the return of a previous character who comes to Alice's aid. I won't spoil who the character is, but it was great to have them back; they and Alice made an excellent team. 

There are many heart stopping moments throughout, where you think Alice's quest will surely fail and she'll die in the dark, or worse still return past the time when the ritual can be completed because time works differently in the dark.

The book ends with a twist that sets up the final book in an interesting way, and makes it so that the conclusion of the series isn't as cut and dry as you might assume.

Over all, Spook's: Alice (The Last Apprentice / Wardstone Chronicles #12), was a brilliant penultimate book in a fantastic series, and an amazing insight into the character of Alice that I've been waiting eleven books to read. 

Thanks for reading, don't forget to hop on over to all the other participants to see their favourite book of this month, and please check out my writing blog on Monday for a new week's Memorable Mondays


  1. Sounds like fun - striking cover, too. 12 books into a 13 part series - you are devoted!

    I'm so glad you're participating, Clare. Thanks for helping to promote the idea, too.

    1. I was spoiled, actually, I read books 1-11 back to back, as they were all released when I got into the series.

      Thanks for having me, it's a great idea! :D

  2. Sounds like fun to post about books. I'll think about joining in August. :) And Spooks sounds like a really fun read.

    1. It was a lot of fun, I'm going to try and take part when I can.

      I love the Spooks books, they're brilliant MG/ YA fantasy.

  3. I love the cover of this book. The story sounds great, too!

    1. It was a brilliant read; I'm dying for the last one in the series.

  4. I think it is fun to find books which have heart stopping moments. Thanks for suggesting this.

    1. You're welcome, hope you enjoy it if you check it out. :)

  5. Nice little clip there- and if you've read all of these they must be good. I'm going to have to add these to my ever-growing TBR pile! It's sky high right now. But that's a good thing, right? :)

    1. Yes, it means you'll never run out of good things to read. :D

      They really are brilliant MG/ YA fantasy books, I love them, and hope you enjoy them too if you check them out. :D

  6. Clare wrote: "I read books 1-11 back to back"

    Wow! Quite a testament to their appeal!!!


Thanks for reading and commenting. Your thoughts are always appreciated. ^_^