Tom is the seventh son of the seventh son, who has experienced things that others haven't. After his father has found jobs for all of his other brothers, Tom is left with only one option: to be a Spook. The current Spook, Mr. Gregory, accepts him as his apprentice. Tom, though, doesn't heed one of Mr. Gregory's first warnings: stay away from the girl with the pointy shoes. One foolish promise later, and he not only endangers his life, but his family's as well.
First, I need to mention that Delaney is not stingy with his vivid descriptions. In the places where this book needs to be scary, it thrills you, and can fill you totally with dread. He can make your heart beat father than you though a children's book could.
But by no means is this a scary book. It's fast-paced and familiar. It follows certain traditional myths, folklore, that we all know. Witches and boggarts play a large role in the novel. Also making an appearance are ghasts (which are like ghosts, but follow the same pattern over and over again, and do not have a mind of their own. Note: not the creature in Minecraft!) I believe this takes place in England, or an area similar (it is a fantasy novel, after all).
I only have two hesitations with this novel.
The first is that Gregory seems to disappear whenever he's needed the most. Whether or not this is deliberate from Delaney, I have no idea. While this part makes some sense to me, Gregory shows back up at the very end and explains how Tom did the right thing. While this is nice, and needed when Gregory disappears all the time, I feel it was a little overdone in the novel.
The second is the ending. By "ending", I don't mean "what happens". Instead, I'm referring to how it's written. A nice epilogue could have suited it, written in the same the way as before. Or even leaving it off entirely. Instead, it was written as Tom directly speaking to the reader. While it fit with the perspective of the book, I think it stood out a little too much, and fell a little flat.
Overall, though, the quality of the book is phenomenal. I'm not sure what the illustrations are like in the UK version of the novel, but it must be said that in the US version, they were amazing and encompassed the chapters well. Such things should always be mentioned if they're worth it. It's actually what first attracted me to this book in the first place.
While Wikipedia might call this a children's novel, and while Tom is thirteen years old, it could certainly be enjoyed by someone older, who likes a good, quick fantasy. It could be read in a couple of days, if you tried. The plot wasn't convoluted, but it was interesting and something that I haven't seen, even though the lore was familiar to me.
P.S. There is a movie called Seventh Son in post-production as of the writing of this review. It's "inspired" by Revenge of the Witch. I won't go into my opinion of the adaption, but it looks like they've changed quite a few things from the books. It's scheduled to be released February 6, 2015 - though it's gone through quite a few release dates, the original being January 17, 2014. It stars Ben Barnes, Jeff Bridges, and Julianne Moore, among others. Click here for the official website.