Midnight Predator (Den of Shadows Series)

Midnight Predator (Den of Shadows Series)

4.5 182
by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

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Though she was once a happy teenager with a wonderful family and a full life, Turquoise Draka is now a hunter. In a deadly world of vampires, shapeshifters, and mercenaries, she’ll track any prey if the price is right. Her current assignment: to assassinate Jeshikah, one of the cruelest vampires in history. Her employer: an unknown contact who wants

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Though she was once a happy teenager with a wonderful family and a full life, Turquoise Draka is now a hunter. In a deadly world of vampires, shapeshifters, and mercenaries, she’ll track any prey if the price is right. Her current assignment: to assassinate Jeshikah, one of the cruelest vampires in history. Her employer: an unknown contact who wants the job done fast. Her major obstacle: she’ll have to hide her strength and enter Midnight, a fabled vampire realm, as a human slave. . . .

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“As in her other popular titles, Atwater-Rhodes builds a convincing world with its own laws, history, and culture. . . . Her fans will be thrilled by this latest addition.”—Booklist

“The plot and characters are so skillfully intertwined that each one moves the story to its thoughtful ending. . . . Readers [will be] engaged from first page to last. . . . A must-read.”—School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly
Assigned to assassinate the evil vampire Jeshikah, Turquoise Draka must go undercover as a slave in the mythical city of Midnight and the experience makes her relive her past spent in servitude. In an ironic twist of fate, Turquoise's master may hold the key to releasing her demons in Midnight Predator by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. (May) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Mercenary teenage Hunters Turquoise and Ravyn are competing to see which of them will be the next leader of Crimson, an elite Bruja guild. While waiting for the final contest, they are hired to kill ancient, evil vampire Jeshikah, the former mistress of Midnight. A long-destroyed resort of sorts for Supernaturals, Midnight has been rebuilt, and Jeshikah is vying to regain control. She believes sleek, shirtless Jaguar is too easy on the human slaves. Turquoise and Ravyn hire a vampire friend to sell them to Jaguar, placing them close to Jeshikah. Plans go awry in many ways. Turquoise falls for Jaguar. Ravyn botches an attack on Jeshikah. Turquoise is saddled with protecting Eric, a former slave, as she tries to come to terms with the tragedies of her past and discover what she wants to do with her life. Atwater-Rhodes continues her series of slightly connected, teen Goth novels with more of the same. Adept at conveying the emotional turmoil of her main characters, she displays a facility for action scenes and cliffhangers. Although this latest effort is, by comparison, a less overstated novel, she sometimes crafts purple prose, and her style can be wordy and awkward. Turquoise's flashbacks, although a bit too numerous and repetitive, are handled well, but the opening hunt for Jeshikah peters out long before the close of the book. The return of combat with Ravyn and another revenge plot stumble in to take its place. This story is Buffy without sharp wit and Anne Rice without depth or detail, but Atwater-Rhodes's followers and fans of the genre will not mind a few editorial gaffs. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P M J (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined asgrades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2002, Delacorte, 248p,
— Timothy Capehart
School Library Journal
Gr 7-9-Turquoise Draka, a human vampire hunter who escaped from slavery, is hired to kill the cruel and powerful Jeshickah. To accomplish her mission, she must once again become a slave, but this time to Jaguar, the kindly master of Midnight, a legendary vampire domain. In a classic battle of good versus evil, humanity versus the supernatural, Atwater-Rhodes fashions a tale that allows readers to see that each individual, human or vampire, makes choices in life. On the surface, it is the fight between right and wrong, but readers will come to the understanding that people, situations, and actions are not that simple. The characters continually wrestle with their perceptions of themselves and others in order to change and grow. The plot and characters are so skillfully intertwined that each one moves the story to its thoughtful yet inconclusive ending, which allows readers to imagine how Turquoise will continue in her life. The harshness and violence are softened by the soulful searching of the characters, and the story's consistent tone keeps readers engaged from first page to last. Young people who enjoyed Atwater-Rhodes's Shattered Mirror (2001) and Annette Curtis Klause's Blood and Chocolate (1997, both Delacorte) will want to add this title to their must-read list.-Molly S. Kinney, Office of Public Library Services, Atlanta, GA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Den of Shadows Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.88(w) x 10.88(h) x 0.69(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


Some people use things; they destroy. You're a creator, a builder. The words came unbidden to her mind, completely inappropriate at the moment.

Distracted by the memory, Turquoise missed a block. She hissed in pain as the knife cut deep into the meaty underside of her arm. She caught her attacker's wrist and twisted, sending the young woman attached sprawling to the ground, as her father's words faded from her mind. Once, they might have been right, but now, they could not have been further from the truth.

The woman Turquoise was fighting wasn't clumsy for long. In a near-blur of burgundy hair and black leather, Ravyn Aniketos sprang to her feet.

Turquoise rolled her shoulders, trying to work out the kinks in them, and blinked quickly to clear her tired eyes. This match had been going on for too long. She was bleeding from where Ravyn's knife had sliced through her arm, and she could feel the warm, sticky drip of blood down her back from a second wound on her left shoulder. Ravyn's black leather pants had been slit open in the thigh, and she had a shallow wound low on her jaw, which would probably heal without scarring.

Earlier, there had been other combatants; most slunk out the back door, defeated, within the first few minutes.

The fight was a competition of stealth and hunting ability. In near darkness, the competitors found and marked one another—a quick knife slice, just enough to draw blood. If a hunter was marked three times, he or she was out of the running. Turquoise was pleased to have lasted so long, but only victory would satisfy her pride. Ravyn likely felt the same. The next one of them to land a blow would win, becoming the leader of Crimson, the most elite unit of the Bruja guilds.

Somewhere in the building, a clock struck, once, twice . . .

Turquoise lost track of the clock's tones as she struck again. Ravyn cursed as the blade narrowly missed her stomach, and Turquoise barely managed to evade an answering strike to her cheek.

They were both getting tired, and tired quickly became clumsy. Only the fact that they had both been fighting for hours kept them evenly matched.

The clock finished its song, and left the room in eerie silence, broken only by the ragged, heavy breathing as the two fought.

"Ravyn. Turquoise."

Turquoise slid a fraction of her attention to the voice but did not allow her gaze to leave Ravyn.

"Sheathe your weapons," Bruja's leader, Sarta, instructed. Someone flipped the switch and both fighters blinked against the sudden light. "I have a feeling that this competition could go on for days if I let it," she announced, "but Bruja law does call for a limit."

Ravyn licked the blade of her knife clean, her cranberry-colored gaze resting on Turquoise all the while, as if daring her to react. Ravyn had no fetish for blood, and she professed to hate vampires, but she did love to give a show.

"Well, Sarta, if you're going to call a halt to our fun, do you also plan to name a winner?" Ravyn was still panting slightly, but not enough to affect the smooth drawl in her voice.

Turquoise wiped her own blade on the leg of her ruined jeans. She didn't speak yet, preferring to catch her breath. If it was ten now, then she and Ravyn had been sparring for almost five hours. This fight had begun at sunrise.

Five hours, and they were left in a draw. Turquoise's muscles ached with fatigue, but she would rather have finished this than stopped now. She wanted the title.

Crimson. It was the most elite of the three Bruja guilds. Cold-blooded as snakes and vicious as hyenas, members of Bruja were the best predators in existence. To be recognized as the guild's leader would fulfill the promise Turquoise had once made. She had sworn that no one would ever mistake her for prey again. If that meant abandoning a few of the social mores of the daylight world, as Bruja members so frequently did, so be it.

The leader of Crimson was second only to Sarta, the leader of all three Bruja guilds. Turquoise had trained and fought and competed for the position. She knew she was the best Crimson had. She could out-stalk and out-fight any vampire and had, many times. She would win this title, whatever it took.

"Rematch," Sarta said simply. "Onyx and Frost still need to compete today. You two are obviously matched evenly with daggers, but a Bruja member needs to be able to use any weapon at his or her command." She paused for dramatic effect. "A tie is decided in a private duel, one month after Challenge, witnessed only by the other leaders. The weapon is decided by the member who has been in the guild the longest—in this case, Ravyn—and the bout goes to third blood."

Ravyn sighed, looking at Turquoise past burgundy lashes. "In one month, and I choose the weapon. In that case . . ." She walked around the room, examining the walls, which were decorated with weapons of all sizes, all shapes, and all designs.

She paused to run a finger down the blade of a broadsword, but then shook her head and moved on. She glanced at the crossbows, but they were the traditional weapon of Crimson's sister guild, Onyx—not appropriate for a Crimson duel. She passed foils, epees and sabers, and did not even pause to glance at the thick wooden staves.

Finally, she pulled down two leather whips, and cracked one expertly. "I choose these."

Ravyn tossed one of them to Turquoise with a sly grin, and Turquoise almost let it fall to the ground before reflex made her catch the handle. Of the entire selection of weapons in the Bruja hall, the whip was the only one she hated. Ravyn could not have made a better choice.

"Turquoise, do you accept the challenge?" Sarta asked.

"I accept." She was grateful that her voice stayed even. She hated whips. She could use one if she needed to, but not with any precision.

"Then get out of here," Sarta ordered. "Come back the day of the next full moon. The match will begin at sunrise."

Turquoise nodded, then turned her back to Sarta and Ravyn, and stalked as gracefully as she could from the fighting floor.

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