The Death Catchers

The Death Catchers

3.9 12
by Jennifer Anne Kogler
     
 

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Until the letters of the newspaper article she was reading rearranged themselves into an article foretelling her best friend Jodi's death, Lizzy Mortimer had always thought of Crabapple as a relatiVely normal coastal town. But the truth is anything but normal-Lizzy is the descendant of Morgan Le Fay, the legendary Lady of the Lake, and is gifted with the ability to

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Overview

Until the letters of the newspaper article she was reading rearranged themselves into an article foretelling her best friend Jodi's death, Lizzy Mortimer had always thought of Crabapple as a relatiVely normal coastal town. But the truth is anything but normal-Lizzy is the descendant of Morgan Le Fay, the legendary Lady of the Lake, and is gifted with the ability to see and prevent unjust deaths. Now Lizzy is caught in the middle of centuries-old feud between Morgan le Fay and her sister, Vivienne le Mort, who hopes to accelerate the end of the world by finding and killing King Arthur's last descendant, humanity's destined champion. So when an obituary for Lizzie's secret crush and the likely Arthurian heir, Drake Westfall, appears before her eyes, Lizzy must race to outwit fate and save her friends before mankind is destroyed forever.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
A creative mix of Arthurian legend, romance, and fantasy ... Characters are richly developed, particularly Lizzy and her grandmother, and the plot's pacing is pitch-perfect.
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
[A]n effective blend of elegant mythmaking and genial, homey storytelling ... The romance between Lizzy and Drake is sweet, and the promise for its development in the sequels, along with Drake's future role as king, will surely bring readers back to another visit to Avalon.
VOYA - Ed Goldberg
There is a chapter in The Death Catchers entitled "Suspending Disbelief," which is what readers must do when reading this modern-day Arthurian novel. Fifteen-year-old Lizzie Mortimer does not hand in her midsemester English assignment, and her teacher, Mrs. Tweedy, requires her to justify in writing why she should pass the course. What follows is Lizzie's account of the events leading up to the missed deadline. Lizzie, while reading the newspaper one day, sees the actual words jumble into news of her best friend's impending death from an auto accident. Lizzie's feisty grandmother, Bizzie, realizes what has just occurred and confides in Lizzie that she is one of a long line of Death Catchers descending from the sisters of Avalon, Arthurian legend's immortal sorceresses. Death Catchers learn of deaths to come and try to prevent them. Lizzie also learns that Drake, the cute next door neighbor, is the Last Descendant, who is vital in preventing world doom at the hand of Vivienne le Mort, one of the sisters. Lizzie, as his Keeper, must keep him alive. The Death Catchers is a unique take on Arthurian legend; however, it gets obscured by Bizzie's cutesy sayings and unbelievable actions (for example, driving her wheelchair with her leg straight out in a cast),which become tiresome. The other characters, Lizzie and her best friend, Jodi, as well as Drake, are more believable. The writing is descriptive. Chapter titles are ingredients of writing, such as "Foreshadowing" and "Onomatopoeia." Lizzie's comments to Mrs. Tweedy, which begin each chapter, are funny. Purchase if your budget allows. Reviewer: Ed Goldberg
Kirkus Reviews

Faced with the essential paradox of prophecy—if you see the future, can you change it?—14-year-old Lizzy Mortimer races to save the people whose deaths she foresees and prevent Doomsday in this uneven modern-day Arthurian tale.

Like all the women on her father's side, Lizzy sees her first "death-specter" at the age of 14. Understandably upset, Lizzy finds help from her aphorism-spouting, Creole spice–loving Grandma Bizzy. When feuding enchantresses from Avalon start appearing in the twee coastal town of Crabapple, Calif., searching for the Last Descendent, Lizzy uncovers the Arthurian origins of her "Hand of Fate" and the high stakes for her amateur sleuthing. Lizzy comes off as younger than 14, even when crushing on high-school senior Drake Westfall, and high-school issues such as bullying, learning disabilities and overbearing/abusive parents receive a heavy-handed treatment. Spunky Bizzy outshines less well-developed characters, but Lizzy begins to blossom in the last few pages. The novel is written as a make-up final paper for English class, with literary techniques—transitions, setting and climax—explained in each chapter, and this framing device distracts from the central action. Despite a robbery subplot and an increasing number of rules about Lizzy's new "gift," foreshadowing is rampant and the end predictable.

Readers looking for rebooted mythology should stick with Rick Riordan.(Paranormal adventure. 10 & up)

School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—In this exciting fantasy, Arthurian legend journeys to the Northern California coast to a community where Morgan le Faye's daughter settled more than 1000 years ago. Writing her story as a letter to her teacher as an argument for why she should pass English despite not having turned in her final project, 14-year-old Lizzy tells how she discovered that she was a Death Catcher like her grandmother, able to see people's impending deaths and prevent them. When she discovers that Morgan's sister Vivienne le Mort is planning to kill Drake, a boy at her school and the last living descendant of King Arthur, and thereby bring about the end of the world, she risks her own life to thwart these plans and save him. Her need to maintain absolute secrecy despite the fact that Drake's name is etched on her wrist while he is under the threat of death lends the story a sense of teenage reality as well as suspense. There is a gentle and sweet romance between Drake and Lizzy, and they are interesting and likable. Lizzy's quirky grandmother is carefully drawn, even though her colloquial speech (dropped "g's" and a plethora of "ain'ts") wears thin. The fantasy elements, specifically the transplanting of the Arthurian myth and the idea that Doomsday will affect the whole world, are not entirely believable, but the realistic aspects of the story are strong enough to carry readers along. This first book in a series will be enjoyed by a wide range of fantasy lovers.—Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802721846
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Publication date:
08/16/2011
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile:
800L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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