In the Forests of the Night (Den of Shadows Series)

In the Forests of the Night (Den of Shadows Series)

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by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
     
 

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In the Forests of the Night is a lush, moody tale of vampires, witches, and shape-shifters. It's the story of how one female vampire comes to terms with her inner nature and reclaims her rightful powers. From the first few pages, readers will feel themselves transported into this haunting world that rests just on the edge of our own.

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Overview

In the Forests of the Night is a lush, moody tale of vampires, witches, and shape-shifters. It's the story of how one female vampire comes to terms with her inner nature and reclaims her rightful powers. From the first few pages, readers will feel themselves transported into this haunting world that rests just on the edge of our own.

Readers will also be interested to learn that this exciting debut novel was written by a teenager herself. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes found out that In the Forests of the Night was accepted by Delacorte Press on her 14th birthday! We caught up with this busy young author to find out the story behind the story.

barnesandnoble.com: What's your life like now that you're a published writer?

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes: My life is similar in most ways to the way it was before. [Most of the] changes that I've gone through lately have more to do with the transition to high school. However, I must admit my life is more hectic, trying to create a separation between my "normal" life and my literary life.

bn: How has the experience of your writing -- your literary life -- changed since your book was accepted by Delacorte Press?

AAR: The main difference is that, before, I saw my writing as just mine. Sometimes I never even had the courage to share my writing with my parents! Now I'm sharing it with any stranger who happens to pick up the book. Since Forests was accepted, people have a tendency to ask me for advice or share their own writing with me. It's nice to think that my success can encourage other people.

bn: Have other authors inspired you in particular ways?

AAR: Almost everyone that I have ever read [has inspired me]! My favorite young adult authors are L. J. Smith and Christopher Pike. Pike became my role model. L. J. Smith's Night World , which I stumbled upon more recently after I had created my own "night world," fascinates me. Like many other L. J. Smith fans, I am still waiting for Strange Fate to be released.

bn: What is your writing process like? Do you write every day?

AAR: My writing process is varied. When I start a book, I have two files -- the actual manuscript and then another file in which I log character names, important facts, and descriptions so I will not contradict myself later. After that, I write whenever I have the inspiration to do so, at any time. I am famous for complaining (in school) that I woke up at two in the morning with an idea and have not been to bed since. I always have music on when I write, about three songs that I put on repeat. The music is usually something that has to do with the character. I think that I wrote Forests mostly while listening to Alanis Morissette's "Forgiven" and "Perfect." I usually have no idea what is going to happen in the book until I am writing it. I have a tendency to write a scene and surprise myself with some strange detail I did not know until it fell into a sentence.

bn: Why do you suppose that we are so interested in reading about vampires and witches and otherworldly powers?

AAR: Personally, I write about Nyeusi (my word for my group of otherworldly powers) because they are so varied. Vampires, shape-shifters, and witches all have their own cultures. In general, though, I can't explain why humans are so interested in nonhuman creatures. My best idea is that we are interested in them because they are us, but aren't. [They have] ties to humanity but consider [themselves] not human. As a writer, creatures like vampires allow me to act out more than I could with human characters. [Creating] a likable human murderer is difficult (and I try to make both my protagonists and antagonists likable in some ways), but writing about a likable vampire is not so difficult. For example, if Risika had been human, many people would have been upset by her killing an innocent human in the third chapter; instead, since she is a vampire, she is given some leeway outside of normal moral boundaries. From a reader's point of view, creatures like vampires allow us to read about the more violent side of nature, but still be distanced from it. Of course, that explanation doesn't even touch on the whole romanticism associated with vampires...

bn: How did you learn about vampires? Have you ever met one?

AAR: No, as far as I know, I have never met a vampire. I was raised on a lot of vampire literature. It always shocks me when I hear of someone who has never seen the movie "Dracula," in any of its many forms. After "Dracula," Christopher Pike's The Last Vampire series really kindled my interest.

bn: Do you have plans to write more about Risika, the main character in In the Forests of the Night ? What's next from you?

AAR: Risika is in other books of mine, but not as a main character. I believe Forests said most of what needed to be said about Risika. However, she does play a part in the end of Aubrey's book and a few others that I have written.

bn: We have recently signed a contract for the next book, which is titled (subject to change) Bitter Life . While Aubrey (the antagonist of Forests ) is once again a major character, the main character is a young author named Jessica, briefly mentioned in Forests . After Bitter Life , there are other finished manuscripts that I am trying to decide between, including Aubrey's history.

bn: What did you learn about yourself as this story and these characters developed on paper?

AAR: The main thing I learned about myself as this story developed was my own vindictiveness. [Writing, and the fight scenes in particular] has given me a whole new outlet for dealing with my personal anger. My moods are reflected in my writing, though they can be seen clearest in first drafts. Also, the characters' preferences and personalities are inspired by my own preferences and dislikes -- such as Aubrey's dislike of sarcasm or Risika's love of tigers.

bn: Of course, many writers will be inspired that you were published so young. Do you have advice or words of encouragement for other young writers?

AAR: The best advice I would offer to other young writers is to not give up, and -- if they try to get published -- not to think their work is bad if it gets turned down. Also, don't write to get published; write because you like to write. It takes a lot of work to get a book into its best possible form and to do the work necessary to publish it. If you don't have fun doing the writing and are not proud of what you have done, then it is not worth it.

--Cathy Young

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
First-novelist Atwater-Rhodes writes astonishingly well--considering that she completed the manuscript for this vampire novel when she was only 13 years old (she's now 15). Even compared with many adult authors, she's skillful at building atmosphere, insightful in creating characters and imaginative in varying and expanding on vampire lore. The sophisticated structure flashes between a 300-year-old vampire named Risika and her previous, human existence as one Rachel Weatere. The weaknesses in this venture, however, point to the author's youth. Risika's world-weary profundities have the ring of easy, adolescent cynicism (e.g., while visiting a favorite animal at a zoo, Risika says, "[Humans] even cage themselves, though their bars are made of society, not steel"). Characters wander in and out of the story; a climactic showdown between Risika and her archenemy depends more on telling than on showing; and an 11th-hour surprise, though neatly planted, strains the narrative logic. But with the popularity of books such as Annette Curtis Klause's The Silver Kiss and TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed, this precocious debut will likely find fans. Ages 12-up. (June) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Risika is Rachel, or, rather, was Rachel. That is, three hundred years ago she was Rachel, before Ather came to change her into someone of the night, the blackness, a vampire. This book, written by the author at the astonishing age of thirteen, is a hauntingly human and realistic vision of what that might actually be like. Changed in the 1600s by vampires who have come to seek revenge on her twin brother, Risika tells her story and reveals the dark torture of being such a creature, immortal, but surprisingly vulnerable and full of insight into her own growing vampire nature. The vampires prowl the human world on a shadowy level, combing streets and bars in search of victims, looking normal except to those who can sense their auras. After a series of confrontations, she takes revenge on Aubrey, the cruel and vicious one who sent her to this fate, and learns that although at one time it may have been possible to choose a different path, she must live with her vampire nature in all its complexity. Although clearly not for everyone, this is a literary work from a young author who surely bears watching. 2000, Random House/Dell Laurel-Leaf, Ages 12 up, $8.95 and $4.99. Reviewer: Nancy Partridge—Children's Literature
VOYA - Kevin Beach
The author of this slight vampire tale was only thirteen years old when she penned it, and it is a remarkable accomplishment for such a tender age. Atwater-Rhodes has thoroughly considered her own imaginary "whys" and "hows" of vampirism, and realistically communicates adolescent passion and angst through the teen heroine of the story. The setting alternates between the present day, featuring creature of the night Risika, and the colonial-era America of Risika's pre-vampiric days as the girl Rachel. Unfortunately, Rachel's colonial family is barely introduced before she is transformed and removed from them. Her twin brother's psychic powers and the reason why the two of them are targeted by a vampire in the first place could have been better explained. The present day three-hundred-year-old but eternally youthful and powerful Risika still harbors the resentment of the loss of her soul and the apparent death of her brother. She seeks vengeance upon the two vampires who conspired to condemn her. The main character does not show much sophistication for such a long life, and there is no indication as to what she did during those intervening centuries. The plot moves from one confrontation with Risika's nemesis to the next with some excitement but little literary atmosphere. Readers used to the ethereal erotic essence of Anne Rice's characters will be disappointed, but the Fear Street/Goosebumps crowd will enjoy the rapid pace and the sense of power the heroine describes as she shape-changes, astral projects, and hunts. The book will strike a chord with young readers close in age to the author. She promises future dark stories about more night creatures, and has certainly made an impressive debut that shows the promise of a gifted writer in the making. VOYA Codes: 3Q 3P M J (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9).
KLIATT
Written by a gifted thirteen-year-old, this vampire novel travels from the present to the past in alternating chapters. In 1701, Rachel Weatere attempts to defend her brother from supernatural fiends and ends up becoming a victim of a vampire, Ather, who then makes Rachel one of them. As Rachel becomes a vampire, she fights against the need for blood and the urge to kill. Her name is changed to Risika and upon awakening as one of the undead, Risika begins a battle with Aubrey, one of Ather's vampire kin. Although Ather praises Risika's strength, Aubrey scoffs at her weaknesses and silly morals. In their last battle, Aubrey leaves Risika with a huge scar along her collarbone as well as a deep hatred of him. Aubrey's feelings about Risika's inferiority do not change for 300 years even though he and Risika have drifted apart. In the present, the two meet again when Risika intrudes on Aubrey's territory. Now he is ready to teach her a lesson that may involve danger to the only thing that she loves in the world - Tora, a caged tiger at the zoo. Atwater-Rhodes uses William Blake's poem The Tiger with great effect to introduce this tale of strong-willed desires and mental turmoil. In swift prose, the author has deftly created a spunky and almost fearless protagonist who constantly struggles with her vampiric nature and her humanity. The vampire clubs, black roses, and hidden lairs also make for a delightfully eerie setting. Fans of Anne Rice, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel will find much to enjoy in this first novel. (Editor's Note: The follow-up to this book has been published in hardcover: Demon in My View. Delacorte. isbn 0-385-32720-X. $9.95.) KLIATT Codes:JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 1999, Dell/Laurel-Leaf, 147p, 18cm, $4.99. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Ginger Armstrong; Principal Lib. Assoc., Chesterfield Cty P.L., Chester, VA, September 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 5)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-Risika is a vampire of great strength and power, yet she hates and fears Aubrey, who was one of the vampires responsible for her transformation. The novel jumps between the present day, and 300 years ago when Risika was a mortal young woman named Rachel. While thinking that she is defending her twin brother from the evil beings, Rachel herself is taken and transformed into "one of them." Risika still remembers her former life and the morals she held as a human, yet has come to an understanding of her new life as a vampire and tries to find a balance between the two. She believes that Aubrey was responsible for the murder of her twin brother, and her need for vengeance is strong. But is it strong enough to defeat Aubrey? The story is well written and very descriptive, and has in-depth character development. Risika has passionate feelings, strengths, and weaknesses. Taking on the characteristics of a tiger, an animal she admires and respects, she finds the wherewithal to defeat her greatest enemy, self-doubt. This first novel by an author with great ability and promise is sure to be popular.-Kendra Nan Skellen, Gwinnett County Public Library, Lawrenceville, GA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kathy Kelly
Amelia Atwater-Rhodes writes about vampires. Not the cheesy I-vant-to-bite-your-throat types, but interesting, complicated immortal souls, with good and bad tendencies and involved family histories.
USA Today

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786247615
Publisher:
Gale Group
Publication date:
10/28/2002
Series:
Den of Shadows Series
Edition description:
LARGEPRINT
Pages:
120
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

A minute or an hour later, I woke for a moment in a dark place. There was no light and no sound, only pain and the thick, warm liquid that was being forced past my lips.

I swallowed again and again before my head cleared. The liquid was bittersweet, and as I drank I had an impression of power and . . . not life or death, but time. And strength and eternity . . .

Finally I realized what I had been drinking. I pushed away the wrist that someone was holding to my lips, but I was weak, and it was so tempting.

"Temptation." The voice was in my ears and my head, and I recognized it as Ather's.

Once again I pushed away the wrist, though my body screamed at me for doing so. Ather was insistent, but so was I. I somehow managed to turn my head away, despite the pain that shot through me with each beat of my heart. I could hear my own pulse in my ears, and it quickened until I could hardly breathe past it, but still I pushed away the blood. I believed for that second, in my immortal soul, and would not abandon it -- not willingly.

Suddenly Ather was gone. I was alone.

I could feel the blood in my veins, entering my body, soul, and mind. I could not get my breath; my head pounded and my heart raced. Then they both slowed.

I heard my own heart stop.

I felt my breath still.

My vision faded, and the blackness filled my mind.

Meet the Author

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes wrote her first novel when she was 13 years old. You can visit her online at www.ameliaatwaterrhodes.com. She lives in Massachusetts.

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In the Forests of the Night (Den of Shadows Series) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 260 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this and the book demon in my view while i was in jr high school..... aka middle school now. The books were outstanding.
DinFaroreNaryu78 More than 1 year ago
I picked this up in seventh grade, and after reading, I was inspired to keep up my writing. I thought if she could get published at thirteen, I could get published early too. Her characters and storyline were really beyond her age, and I couldn't get enough. This is a great start to an amazing, tour de force author and her wonderful world of vampires, witches and shape shifters!
Guest More than 1 year ago
for such a younge writer she has evolutionize all vampire books by making them come alive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing read
Sharpay More than 1 year ago
This book is very engaging since it goes back and fourth between the past and the present.
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