A few years ago, the books of Harry Potter made reading childrens books as an adult almost an acceptable pastime.

I duly read the books and must admit I really enjoyed them.  It must be quite a hard thing to write for people younger than yourself, how do you know what they want to read?  How scary can you make them, how much detail to put in?

Most would agree that J K Rowling knows the answers to these questions as the Harry Potter stories were widely read around the globe - and by people of all ages.

Harry Potter has been and gone though, and I moved on to the Young Bond books as the next series of stories intended primarily for teenagers which I wanted to work through (I do also read books intended for adults honest!).

What Young Bond and Harry Potter have in common is that I chose to read them by choice.  My next foray into the world of teenage fiction was more or less by accident.

I’m a sucker for a 3-for-2 offer in book shops, I especially like it if there’s a couple of books that I want and can then get a third free which is a book I wouldn’t normally buy.  This way I can try new authors without it costing a fortune if it turns out I don’t like them!

So, in Borders one day I found a couple of books that I wanted and then headed to the We Recommend section.  Here employees of the shop write very brief reviews of books they have read lately to try and entice you into purchasing them.  The books are usually not your bestsellers, and you can unearth some pretty decent material there.


In amongst the collection there, I found an intriguing looking book called The Spook’s Apprentice.  The cover was made to look quite grand and old-fashioned and it really stood out among the others so I picked it up to read the blurb on the back cover.

Only when I picked it up I realised that wasn’t possible as it was actually in cellophane, with another free book (the second in the series) so the back was covered.  So, if I took the plunge and bought this book, I’d actually be getting FOUR books for the price of two - an offer too good to miss!

I could see the back of the second book though and the very brief blurb claimed that the book was not to be read after dark, and centred on the tales of a boy who had become the apprentice to a Spook, someone who travelled the land keeping the forces of evil at bay.

That was enough to suck me in, although admittedly the fact I was getting both books for nothing had something to do with it.  Rightly or wrongly, if there are two books at £6.99, one with 200 pages and the other with 400, the shorter one has to sound pretty amazing to convince me to buy it over the longer one!

I like to get value for money - must be the Scotsman in me!

Anyhoo, once I got round to taking the cellophane off later on and actually started to read the first book, it became apparent that it was probably aimed at the younger market.  Not that the writing made that clear, rather the way the writing was spaced out, with not too much on each page - which in turn made it easier to read and I worked my way through the book fairly rapidly.

The second book was also despatched quickly, and I was lucky enough to receive this, the third book in the series, at Christmas along with the next two as well.

I’m not really a huge fan of fantasy writing, or science fiction for that matter, but the author, Joseph Delaney, really brings the characters and places to life in such a way that despite the talk of ghasts, witches etc it all feels somehow real and not too far-fetched.

Like Harry Potter, each book takes place with a specific goal in mind.  With Potter, each book covered one academic year whereas with the Spook’s Apprentice, they set out with a particular foe to vanquish and the book details just how they went about it in all the glorious detail.

I don’t really care what people think about reading books aimed at younger readers, I simply love this series of stories and that’s all that matters to me!

On with the next one!