Brewer's first children's book, first of the planned Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, is like a Laurell K. Hamilton toned way down for the elementary school set. Vlad is miserable. His mother and vampire father died years ago in a suspicious fire, and he lives in a small town with his maternal aunt, a nurse who regularly raids the blood bank for him ("Could you get me O positive this time? That's my favorite," he nonchalantly asks her as he spoons "a big, sweet glob of half-frozen blood" into his mouth). His best friend, Henry, is the only other person who knows why Vlad is so meticulous about applying sunblock and why he brings lunch to school. But when Vlad's English teacher goes missing (readers know he's been murdered), the substitute teacher, Mr. Otis, seems uncannily wise to Vlad, leaving Vlad to worry that he may be exposed. The mystery and suspense angles never get scarier than, say, a Goosebumps installment, and the tone stays mostly light, with plenty of descriptions of Vlad's diet that are to gag for. Brewer catches the wretchedness of adolescence: the hero's crush on a classmate is dead-on in its understatement and inaction, and his friendship with Henry encompasses lots of banter and insults. The uninitiated will appreciate the ample stock of vampire lore, while the more knowledgeable will sink their teeth into the puns. Ages 10-up. (Aug.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Ninth Grade Slays (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod Series #2)by Heather Brewer
Freshman year stinks for Vlad Tod. Bullies still harass him. The photographer from the school newspaper is tailing him. And failing his studies could be deadly. A trip to Siberia gives 'study abroad' a whole new meaning as Vlad connects with other vampires and advances his mind-control abilities, but will he return home with the skills to recognize a vampire slayer… See more details below
Freshman year stinks for Vlad Tod. Bullies still harass him. The photographer from the school newspaper is tailing him. And failing his studies could be deadly. A trip to Siberia gives 'study abroad' a whole new meaning as Vlad connects with other vampires and advances his mind-control abilities, but will he return home with the skills to recognize a vampire slayer when he sees one? In this thrilling sequel to Eighth Grade Bites, Vlad must confront the secrets of the past and battle forces that once again threaten his life.
Vladimir Tod wants be popular like his friend Henry and cool and carefree like Henry's cousin Joss. He would so enjoy putting bullies Tom and Bill, who have been tormenting him for years, in their place. And, of course, he longs to tell Meredith about his feelings for her. All of this should really be a piece a cake for him. He is, after all, the only vampire "living" in Bathory, and he possesses extraordinary powers. Unfortunately, luck does not seem to run his way. What is working for him is the opportunity to go to Siberia with his Uncle Otis to be trained by Vikas, one of the oldest vampires around. Vikas sharpens Vlad's skills, especially in the area of mind control, and educates him on vampire history, language, and culture. Vlad also learns about the prophecy regarding the Pravus, a powerful vampire born from a human mother who will not only rule over all of vampirekind but also enslave the entire human race. Upon his return to Bathory, he is pursued by a vampire slayer and attacked by another one. Could Vlad, whom readers have come to love, possibly be this evil Pravus? Brewer does an excellent job keeping readers on their toes with an intense plot full of many twists and turns. Her writing style is original, witty, and on target. It has a different intensity than series like Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" (Little, Brown) or Richelle Mead's "Vampire Academy" (Penguin), but teens will eat up this installment and be ready to sink their teeth into the sequel.-Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NY
Read an Excerpt
1 - HUNTER FOR HIRE
2 - THE HUNGER
3 - BATHORY HIGH
4 - PSYCHO SLASHER CHAIN-SAW GUY FROM HELL
5 - KILLER AT LARGE
6 - HALLOWEEN
7 - AN UNEXPECTED INVITATION
8 - SECRETS EXPOSED
9 - SNOWFLAKES AND MEMORIES
10 - SIBERIA
11 - VIKAS
12 - HONORING TOMAS TOD
13 - MIND CONTROL
14 - TRAINING INTERRUPTED
15 - WHERE THE HEART IS
16 - THE HEALING POWER OF BLOOD
17 - TRAPPED
18 - THE FRIEND CODE
19 - A SON’S DUTY
20 - AN ENEMY REVEALED
21 - ET TU, JOSS?
22 - THE AFTERLIFE
23 - THE SILVER LINING
DUTTON CHILDREN’S BOOKS
A division of Penguin Young Readers Group
Published by the Penguin Group
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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2008 by Heather Brewer
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who wishes to quote brief passages in connection with a review written for inclusion in a magazine, newspaper, or broadcast.
The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
CIP Data is available.
Published in the United States by Dutton Children’s Books,
a division of Penguin Young Readers Group
345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014
This one’s for Jacob,
because high school sucks
Books may be written by writers, but they are perfected by an entire range of people who don’t receive the amount of praise they should. I’d like to thank my amazing editor, Maureen Sullivan, for working tirelessly to push me into bettering my craft, and for always having insightful ideas and a positive attitude. Thanks to everyone at Dutton, simply for doing everything that they can to make my dream a reality. Special thanks to my incredibly talented cover designer, Christian Funfhausen, for giving me the most kick-butt smiley a vampire author could ever want. And I owe an enormous amount of gratitude to my fabulous agent, Michael Bourret, for always giving me your shoulder, your eyes, your ears, and your brilliance. Without all of you, I’m just a hack with a keyboard and a thirst for blood.
Many, many thanks to the most amazing critique partner a girl can have—Jackie Kessler, who never fails to amaze me with her skill and is quick with the sympathetic chocolates. Thanks, also, to my sister, Dawn Vanniman, for believing in me and for continuing to love Seth. And, of course, thanks to Paul, Jacob, and Alexandria—I don’t know how, but “you people” managed to stay out of my way long enough for me to write another book, and I love you for it.
Thanks also to the future keepers of the Brewtopian kingdom, to my loyal Minion Horde, to every bookseller and librarian that has introduced Vlad to readers . . . and to you, the person holding this book, for giving Vlad a chance, and for following him into his high school years.
Vlad and I couldn’t do it without you.
HUNTER FOR HIRE
JASIK GRIPPED THE PHOTOGRAPH in his hand and scanned the face of the boy. Except for his pale complexion and clever eyes, no one would suspect the teen was anything other than human. But Jasik knew differently.
“This is him, then?” He looked up to the man behind the desk, who nodded once.
“Vladimir Tod.” The man’s voice was hoarse and raspy.
Jasik slipped the photo into his shirt pocket and cleared his throat against his fist. “I will need provisions, of course.”
“I will provide whatever you need.” The man wore a bitter, pinched expression on his face.
Jasik crossed the room and looked out the window to the city streets outside. It was dark, despite the many streetlights. People moved like ants on the pavement below, avoiding the small pools of light. There was almost no telling which were human and which vampires. Jasik wondered briefly if the sun suddenly rose and bathed them all in light, whether they would scurry away and seek their darkness elsewhere. “Might I ask how you came to know of my services?”
The man behind the desk coughed into a handkerchief before answering. When he removed the cloth from his lips, it was stained with glistening red. “Let’s not play games, Jasik. I’ve known for many years that your . . . talents . . . can be bought. Will you hunt this boy, or not?”
Jasik glanced back at the man and smirked. “My talents are expensive.”
“I assure you, there is no price that I am unwilling to pay.”
The man behind the desk leaned forward and flipped open his checkbook. After scribbling for a moment, he paused and nodded to Jasik. “All you need to do is provide me with the number of zeros.”
Jasik faced the desk and glimpsed the check. The ink had not yet dried before he said, “Three more and you’ve got a deal.”
VLAD SQUEEZED HIS EYES shut tight. He was awake, but he wasn’t incredibly happy about it. Weekends, even summer weekends, were meant for sleeping in ... especially when those weekends were spent hanging out super late under the full moon because your vampire genes won’t let you go to bed before they’ve had their fill of nighttime. Even more so when you only had a matter of days before the joy of summer would be over and the dread of school would begin.
A low, buzzing sound drifted over his face, paused, then moved again toward his right ear. He popped open one eye and glared in disgust at the housefly that was hovering about the room. So that’s what had woken him.
The fly fluttered over and landed on the tip of Vlad’s nose. He swatted it away, and when it took refuge on his pillow, he smacked his hand down to squash it, but missed. Vlad grumbled obscenities under his breath. What did the fly have against sleep, anyway?
Flapping its tiny wings, it buzzed across the room and landed directly on the center of Henry’s forehead.
After a moment of hesitation, Vlad crept over to Henry’s sleeping bag. He raised his hand slowly, giving the fly one final chance to move. He whispered, “Don’t think I won’t do it.”
The fly responded by washing its gross little fly face. If it could have spoken, Vlad was almost positive it would have laughed at him.
Vlad brought his hand down fast and hard. The slapping sound his palm made when it hit Henry’s skin echoed throughout his bedroom but was shortly covered by a yelp from Henry, who sat up, clutching his forehead. “Dude!”
Vlad straightened his shoulders, triumphant in battle. “There was a fly.”
Henry rubbed his forehead, snarling in disgust. “Well, did you at least kill it?”
“Yeah, I think so.”
The fly buzzed past his ear and out the door.
Vlad swore again but was cut off by Henry. “I smell bacon.”
But it wasn’t the smell of bacon that called to Vlad. It was the promise of a steamy mug of O positive and a gooey cinnamon roll, Aunt Nelly’s specialty. One big plus of living with Nelly—who was actually no relation to him at all, but his mother’s best friend for years and years before his parents had passed on—was that she could bake cinnamon rolls so sweet and delicious that if she had the determination and funding, she could easily give Cinnabon a run for their money. Just stay away from her meat loaf.
They raced out the door and down the stairs. By the time they reached the kitchen, they were panting and famished. Henry spotted the plate of crisp bacon on the table and grunted. “Food.”
Vlad opened the freezer and grabbed a bag of blood. He plucked a coffee mug from the cupboard and nudged Henry out of the way as he headed for the microwave. “Food.”
Aunt Nelly turned from her spot at the stove and chuckled. “I take it that means you boys are hungry?”
But neither Vlad nor Henry answered with any sound that could be classified as a yes or a no. Henry was too busy chewing on several slices of bacon at once, and Vlad had his head tilted back as he gulped down some warm O positive. It slid down his throat easily—it was always better warm—and when his thirst was quenched, he smacked his lips in satisfaction and reached for a cinnamon roll.
Blood and frosting: the vampire’s answer to coffee and donuts.
“Deb mentioned that an entire freezer of blood is about to expire at the hospital. With your appetite lately, Vladimir, I’d better sneak out as much of it as I can.” Nelly placed more bacon on the platter and sat a plate of eggs in front of Henry. She flashed Vlad a look of disapproval. “You’ve got blood all over your shirt.”
Vlad looked down at the two dime-size red circles on his shirt and smiled sheepishly. “Sorry. I was really hungry.”
Nelly’s gaze softened. “Just be more careful next time. Contrary to popular belief, laundry doesn’t top my list of favorite things to do.”
Henry swallowed and reached for the pitcher of orange juice. “So did you get your schedule yet?”
Vlad nodded and sighed with an air of gloom and doom. “I got Mrs. Bell for English, first period.”
Henry offered Vlad a sympathetic glance. “Looks like you’re not alone. I’ve got her, too, and from what my mom said yesterday, so does Joss.”
“When’s your cousin supposed to get here anyway?” Vlad stuffed most of the gooey cinnamon roll into his mouth and chewed. The truth was he was kind of nervous about Henry’s cousin moving to town. There was always the slight chance that Joss would interfere with his and Henry’s time together, or worse, that he and Joss might not get along.
“Sunday. Oh, and just so you know, don’t count on seeing me much that day. My mom’s on some family togetherness kick.” Henry rolled his eyes.
Vlad followed suit. “How annoying.”
Nelly flashed him an incredulous glance. “Vladimir!”
Vlad took a sip of blood and raised an eyebrow at Henry. “I mean, how lovely of your parental figure to insist on enjoying quality time together. You should be grateful.”
Both boys broke into hysterical laughter. Nelly chuckled and shook her head. “All right, smart mouth. I’m getting the mail. Henry, watch Vlad while I’m gone. He’s a trouble-maker.”
Vlad’s jaw dropped in mock exasperation. “Nelly!”
Nelly smiled sweetly. “I mean, he’s a wonderful boy who brightens my day and makes life worth living.”
After she slipped out the front door, Vlad eyed the wicked glimmer in Henry’s eye suspiciously. “What?”
Henry’s grin broadened. “Did you call Meredith yet?”
Vlad straightened his shoulders proudly. “Twice, actually.”
Henry watched him for a moment, the surprise in his eyes quickly giving way to suspicion. “You talked to her?”
Talk to her? Vlad hadn’t yet figured out a way to remove the lump that had taken up residence in his throat ever since she’d leaned in for a kiss after the Freedom Fest dance and he’d backed away, babbling like some kind of deranged lunatic. Talking to her was the least of his problems. First he needed to figure out how to breathe whenever she was near.
Vlad slowly stretched his hand out and picked up his mug, then took a long drink before returning it to the table. When he was finished, he met Henry’s eyes and sighed. “Nope. Hung up both times. I think she heard me breathing once though.”
“That’s progress.” Henry sighed. “You know she has caller ID, right?”
Vlad’s eyes grew wide. There it was again, that lump in his throat. “She does?”
Henry answered with a tone of indifference. “Yeah. But dude, check this out.” He grinned wickedly and lowered his voice to a tone of conspiracy. “Last night, Greg told me something interesting about the upperclassmen girls.”
Vlad leaned up against the counter and tried to act like he wasn’t completely curious. “Interesting? Like how?”
Henry leaned closer. “He says that if you can get invited to one of the senior parties, that some of those girls take pity on the lower classmen and they’ll—”
Aunt Nelly walked into the kitchen. In one hand was a stack of envelopes, in the other was a small brown box. She glanced at their frozen, startled expressions and raised an eyebrow. “What are you boys talking about?”
They answered in one wavering voice, “Nothing!”
Vlad eyed the envelopes hopefully. “Anything from Otis?”
Nelly sighed and shook her head as she flipped through the stack. “Honestly, Vladimir. Your uncle has written to you at least once a week since the day he left Bathory. Do you really think he’d forget about you now?” She pulled a thick parchment envelope from the pile and held it out to him with a smile.
Meet the Author
Heather Brewer was not your typical teen growing up. She wore black, danced under full moons, and devoured every book in sight. She hasn't changed much. Today, Heather can be found writing in her funky, black Happy Bunny jammie pants, dancing under a full moon, devouring every book in sight, and attending renaissance faire in full costume (and in character).
When Heather's not writing, dressing up, dancing and reading, she's answering email, which she loves to get over at her website.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Vladimir Tod is a great series that goes through the average teenage life that a normal ninth grader goes through. except for the trip to Siberia and his mind reading powers or the fact that hes half vampire living with his loving aunt. the drinking blood from the hospital's blood bank that his aunt is a nurse at probable isn't normal either. His life is put in danger when a vampire slayer stalks him and mr. otis is on the run. An excellent read for any YA.
My heart breaks for all the loss that Vlad has experienced at such a young age. In Ninth Grade Slays Vlad starts his first year of high school. While four years have passed loosing his parents is still very present and time has not made it easier. Vlad blames himself for the death of his parents and as a result he carries so much guilt with him. So many times I wanted to reach out and hug him! Uncle Otis sends letters often, but hasn't visited since the last book. Vlad hopes that Otis will move to Bathory and have a relationship with his aunt Nelly. Otis makes it clear to him that his dating Nelly would be against vampire law and could not do it. In similar luck Vlad can't find the courage to tell Meredith how he feels. Henry, his best friend and drudge, is spending more time with the popular crew and is a little girl crazy. This creates a distance between the two and Vlad wishes Henry would make their friendship a priority. Henry's cousin Joss moves to town and he and Vlad become instant friends. Joss even saves Vlad from high school bullies. During winter break Otis comes to take Vlad on a trip to Russia so that he can learn more about his vampire skills. Otis doesn't mention that the man who will teach him also taught his father. Not being taught about the vampire ways Vlad doesn't feel comfortable using many of the vampire powers. While in Siberia they honor his father and Vlad grieves among vampirekind. With new and old enemies Vlad is finding his secret is harder to keep. I found Ninth Grade Slays to be a great book that both male and female readers will enjoy. I can't wait to read Tenth Grade Bleeds!
Full of sarcasm, humor, action, mystery, and vampires, this book has something for everybody!!!
I usualy hate vampire series,they're too romantic,and make me want to gag. Howeve vladimire's like your ordinary goth kid with secrets that makes you feel sympathetic. This book is carcastic, smart and has just enough action to make even the romntic scenes seem kinda cool. (I mean unless you like that whole edward ,bella thing...im sorry but id rather chew off my oun arm and recarnate it into a diseased cat)...just saying.
been about a month since i read it but i did like it and was alot better than the first one in the series, i like the new charecters onboard for this book. if you like twilight series, house of night, and our other vampire series i think you will like this one too maybe even more so cause it is a guys perspective and i think thats hot....
Book review This book is about a boy named Vladimir Tod who has just started ninth grade. Vlad is half-human and half-vampire, secretly. Only a few people know about his secret him, his uncle, his aunt Nelly and his best friend Henry. Vlad has many things to deal with; bullies, a newspaper photographer, a vampire slayer and even his past. Vlad has an uncle named Otis who is a vampire and his uncle takes him to Siberia. He goes there to work on his vampire skills like telepathy and mind-control. Vlad’s life is in danger and he discovers many things that could eventually hurt him. Is it any good? This book in my opinion was really fascinating and I loved it. I'm actually going to read the whole series! In the middle I think there could have been a little more action but when I got to the end it was definitely worth the wait. I was astonished and it was such a turning point for me. This book is filled with a thrilling adventure and I really fell in love the character Vlad. I recommend this book for Young Adults.
I loved it omh
Im in 6th grade and i am currently reading 11th grade burns. I think this is the best one in the series so far. It is awsome! Vlad is my fave vampire!
Thought first book was a little slow. Can feel train ride picking up speed.
My daughter loved the book and cannot wait for the following books to be available.
This book was easy to breeze through and kept my interest throughout. It wasn't too hard to figure out. It was fun and perfect for that quick fun read before you start that other 500 page book that will take a while.
The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Ninth Grade Slays by Heather Brewer is a fantasy. I thought this book was great. I liked it because it's the types of books I enjoy which are about vampires. The book is set in modern time and in a vampire training camp in Siberia. Vlad Tod, a 14 year old boy, who is also half vampire, must go to a training camp for vampires. He needs to learn many new skills that will equip him when he becomes older. Vlad deals with going away to training his vampire skills. He has to learn skills that he doesn't know and has to go up against some of the greatest vampires. He has to learn them fast because there's a battle brewing at home with the slayer that's been stalking him. Heather Brewers style is more of a darker writing, but it does have humor in it. The Story is told from Vlad's view. People who like a good vampire fantasy would like this book. It's more modern because its set in present day.
This book has my approval. Not bad. Amazing dialog.
I dont even have to read her books to know they are amazing:: she is one of the best writers ever
Heather Brewer is a powerful writer and she conveys in her books how powerful she is. In this particular book she describes Vlad’s troubles deeply but also staying on track of the story. I felt as though I could relate to Vlad’s situations. I had a small connection with Vlad because my father died and both of his parents are not alive. Heather Brewer made it clear that Vlad was a teenager just going through the hardships of life, and added a twist of him being a vampire. She made it very easy to be able to connect with the characters in the book. The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Ninth Grade Slays is about a teenage vampire who has a hard time getting through high school. His name is Vladimir, but people call him Vlad. His best friend is named Henry and he is the only one who knows about Vlad being a vampire. He gets bullied, has a hard time keeping up his grades and has even more hardships outside of school when it comes to his personal life as a vampire. This book was very entertaining and I would highly recommend it to readers. While I read this book I got sad and I got happy, it was an interesting thrill ride to remember. I wasn’t satisfied until I had finished every page.
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I love this series