Title: Alex Van Helsing: Vampire Rising
Author: Jason Henderson
Publisher: Harper Teen
"Fourteen-year-old Alex has no idea that he's descended from the world's most famous vampire hunter, but that changes fast when he arrives at Glenarvon Academy and confronts two vampires in his first three days.
Turns out that Glenarvon isn't the only school near Lake Geneva. Hidden deep underground lies an ancient university for vampires called the Scholomance. And the deadly vampire clan lord known as Icemaker? You might say he's a visiting professor.
When two of Alex's friends are kidnapped by Icemaker, it's up to Alex to infiltrate the Scholomance and get them back - alive. Assisted by the Polidorium, a top-secret vampire hunting organization with buried ties to the Van Helsings, Alex dodges zombies, bullets, and lots - and lots - of fangs on his way to thwarting Icemaker's plans and fulfilling his family destiny."
"Alex Van Helsing ran. He ran instantly and without a second thought in the direction of the scream, bursting from the side of the road into the trees as fast as his legs could move, rubber soles churning against soft earth and leaves slick with dew."
As you can probably tell from the first few lines, this book kicks off with a ton of action and it doesn't let go until the very end. And even then, you know there's more action to be had.
This is a wonderful action-packed, horror story that fits squarely in the middle grade guys fiction stuff. It's got enough detail to be interesting and enough things going on to keep you reading. Honestly this book didn't take me very long - I was surprised to be at the ending so soon. I definitely was left wishing for more, but this story leaves you with a few questions. So hopefully there will be another one.
You may be thinking that this is just another of those vampire books. And yeah, it's a vamp book... but none of your main characters are. And every vamp you encounter actually fits the mold of vamp - pasty skin, hates holy stuff, snarly, and will attack you in an instant. That makes for a lot of fun. Not to mention that it pulls in characters from literature. That makes my lil' librarian heart go pitter pat. I really liked all of the Van Helsing references. I think it will spark some interest in anyone who doesn't know the original stories.
The setting for this book is really cool too - Switzerland @ Lake Geneva. It's possible that I google mapped this while I was reading the story. I can just see how things pan out and it would be very awesome to visit there. I think that it also makes for a great setting for a movie - that's one of the great things about this book. I could see everything happening just as it's written in a movie. How cool would that be?
I will definitely be recommending this to all of our guys who are looking for the next best thing. This story will absolutely satisfy and they will be itching for more. Girls will love this one too, but it's not very often that a book is solidly dude - especially with all that newfangled romance stuff they're throwing in fantasy books these days :). It's good. It's solid. And a really fun read.
The author has an Alex Van Helsing blog that has interviews, news, and other reviews. Check it out!
Other Blog Reviews:
Library Lounge Lizard
The Bibliophilic Book Blog
Bookworming in the 21st Century
There are lots of reviews out there - and it seems like everyone really likes it. Therefore you need to pick this one up immediately. Obvs.