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Token of Darkness (Den of Shadows Series)

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Overview

Cooper Blake has everything going for him—until he wakes from a car accident with his football career in ruins and a mysterious, attractive girl by his side. Cooper doesn’t know how Samantha got there or why he can see her; all he knows is that she’s a ghost, and the shadows that surround her seem intent on destroying her.

No one from Cooper’s old life would understand what he can barely grasp himself. . . . But Delilah, the captain of the cheerleading squad, has secrets of her ...

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Token of Darkness

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Overview

Cooper Blake has everything going for him—until he wakes from a car accident with his football career in ruins and a mysterious, attractive girl by his side. Cooper doesn’t know how Samantha got there or why he can see her; all he knows is that she’s a ghost, and the shadows that surround her seem intent on destroying her.

No one from Cooper’s old life would understand what he can barely grasp himself. . . . But Delilah, the captain of the cheerleading squad, has secrets of her own, like her ability to see beyond the physical world, and her tangled history with Brent, a loner from a neighboring school who can hear strangers’ most intimate thoughts. Delilah and Brent know that Cooper is in more trouble than he realizes, and that Samantha may not be as innocent as she has led Cooper to believe. But the only way to figure out where Samantha came from will put them all in more danger than they ever dreamed possible.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Naomi Butler
Cooper Blake awakes from a car accident to find that he can see a ghost girl named Samantha. None of his friends except for Delilah would understand what he sees beyond the physical world. Her friend Brent, from a neighboring school, can hear a stranger's most intimate thoughts; that makes it easier for Delilah to believe Cooper's new experience. Cooper's football career, car accident and past cause even more trouble. But the real danger is Samantha, who will put him in more danger than he realizes. This story is a bit complicated, chilling and mysterious. It is described on the book jacket as "a chilling irresistible read about the nature of power—and responsibility." The author adds it to her list of popular titles with tangled mysteries and plots. Given the current trend towards fantasy and horror selections, the book should become very popular with youth. Add it to the young adult choice lists. Even the cover will grab interested readers. Reviewer: Naomi Butler
VOYA - Arthur Dixon
Token of Darkness is an entertaining if unremarkable book for teenagers. It does not stray from Atwater-Rhodes' usual subjects of magic and the supernatural, but its characters are interesting and its story is engaging. Current fans of this author and her genre will likely enjoy the novel, but those who are not already fantasy readers may find it somewhat slow and dull. Reviewer: Arthur Dixon, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Cheryl Clark
When Cooper Blake wakes up in the hospital after surviving a brutal car accident, he realizes he isn't alone. He's brought back a lively, colorful ghost named Samantha and a pack of shadowy creatures that feed on human misery. Plagued by a constant feeling of dread, Cooper is forced to admit his eerie new reality when he meets Brent, a telepath, and almost knocks him off his feet. Brent recognizes Cooper 's supernatural affinity immediately and decides to introduce him to his mentor, Ryan le Coire, who shocks Cooper's fragile recovery when he suggests that the real danger comes not from the dark creatures that stalk him but from the friendly, upbeat spirit Samantha. And when Delilah, cheerleading captain and novice sorcerer, perceives the power Samantha holds, a force will be unleashed that could tear them all apart—or become the key to a new beginning. Despite the dark premise, Token is actually a fun, light read. Interesting characters, a full plot, and unexpected twists make it a page-turner. It is especially entertaining to watch Atwater-Rhodes skew common stereotypes with her fully-realized characters: The football star is tormented physically and emotionally, the cute cheerleader dabbles in magic, the Vo-tech kid is psychic, the heir to a family of sorcerers looks like a college kid, and the entity that may be bent on evil talks like a teenager and has a penchant for punk rock colors. Give this to readers who prefer their occult lit light and spunky. Reviewer: Cheryl Clark
Publishers Weekly
Cooper Blake's car crash left him emotionally and physically damaged—and able to see a brightly clothed teenage ghost named Samantha, who has no memory of her life when she was alive. But as high school senior Cooper begins trying to “find a way to bring her peace,” he soon discovers other young people with unusual abilities, including Brent, a sensitive mind reader, and Delilah, a cheerleader casting reckless spells (the narrative shifts among the three teenagers). But Cooper is unsure who to trust—even friendly Samantha may be “something else, something bad.” Some of the plot particulars seem forced, especially surrounding the book's ending, which feels rather convenient. But Atwater-Rhodes (Persistence of Memory) certainly understands how to create a mood: her story offers extreme weather, flashbacks to Cooper's mysterious and tragic car accident, and creepy, shadowy “scavengers” that feed “upon the power put out by emotions like pain and fear.” Readers may not understand exactly how all the magic works in this fast-paced supernatural thriller, but there are enough plot developments to keep them engaged. Ages 12–up. (Feb.)
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Cooper Blake's life is in ruins. A summer car accident shattered his body and ruined his football career. He can't—or won't—talk to anyone about the pain, the nightmares, or his inability to sleep, and he is feeling disconnected from his family and friends. And then there is Samantha, the attractive, sassy girl who has stayed by his side since the accident. She has been his confidant and cheerleader, urging him to fight through the pain of physical therapy. There is only one small problem—Cooper is the only one who can see her. Samantha has no memories before he woke up in the hospital. She just knows that she wants a physical body. Cooper also sees dark shadows that seem to feed on the living. Samantha's desire for a body sends him to the occult section of the public library and a chance encounter with Brent. Brent takes Cooper to a sorcerer who may be able to help him deal with the shadows and discover Samantha's true nature. Cooper also runs into Delilah, the captain of his school's cheerleading squad and a budding sorceress in her own right. Together they seek answers to Cooper's visions and Samantha's origins, and in the process expose themselves to dangerous forces beyond their understanding. Atwater-Rhodes has crafted another chilling tale with enough plot twists to keep readers guessing. Some may find the ending a little too neat, but most readers will burn through this slim novel in one or two sittings.—Anthony C. Doyle, Livingston High School, CA
Kirkus Reviews
Ever since Cooper woke up in the hospital, the result of a mysterious multiple-car pileup, the former high-school football star has been followed everywhere by twisting, menacing shadows-and a cute, easygoing ghost named Samantha. As much as Cooper wants his normal, popular, pain-free life back again, Samantha would be happy to live with any human form. With the help of fellow students Brent, a telepath, Delilah, a flirtatious cheerleader and sorceress, and their 26-year-old mentor, Ryan le Coire, "heir to the most powerful human magics in the Western Hemisphere," Cooper pieces together the details of the car accident and learns the origins of Samantha's form. Despite his new friends' initial distrust, Cooper and his ghost may achieve at least part of their wishes. Although her characters remain flat and the concluding explanation resolves rapidly, Atwater-Rhodes's quick read will entice her long-time fans and those of the supernatural with its suspense, the possibility of romance and magic that's easy enough to understand. (Supernatural romance. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385737500
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 2/9/2010
  • Series: Den of Shadows Series
  • Pages: 197
  • Sales rank: 1,047,198
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 900L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes wrote her first novel, In the Forests of the Night, when she was 13 years old. Visit her online at www.ameliaatwaterrhodes.com.

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Read an Excerpt

1    

"Necromantic golem."  

Cooper gave a start. He had been lost in reverie, the content of which had fled his mind the moment Samantha had spoken.  

"What?"  

"Necromantic golem," she repeated. "I'm just saying. It's an option."   Cooper looked down, and realized he had nicked himself with the knife when she startled him. The cut wasn't bad, but he pulled his hand and the knife away from the counter and the compulsively neat apple slices sitting there.  

"You're going to have to clarify for me," he said as he washed the cut and reached for a bandage. "And get off the counter."  

"I'm not technically on the counter," she objected, "and I should think it would be the natural answer to our situation."  

Cooper shook his head and studied Samantha as he carefully cleaned up after his mishap.  

She was petite, standing only a little over five feet tall. She had straight blond hair with silver highlights that looked natural, along with a few streaks of teal that didn't. She was cute, actually, bordering on sexy, a fact that did not seem to be lost on her. Today she was wearing a short, pleated skirt—black with neon pink splotches—and a green and orange striped peasant-style blouse. Beneath the skirt, she wore gray paisley stockings, torn at the bottom to expose most of her bare feet.   Her eyes were . . . well, it was hard to tell. They were prismatic. Looking in them almost gave Cooper as much of a headache as today's outfit did.  

Cooper had asked Samantha about her clothes at some point over the summer. She had told him she didn't decide what to "wear"—her clothes were no more solid than she was—but admitted that she "liked bright colors." Very bright, apparently.  

She certainly looked like she was sitting on the counter, but of course it didn't matter. She could as easily have been standing in the counter, or on the wall or the ceiling. She did things like that sometimes, defying the laws of physics without seeming to notice or care.  

If she had been alive, it probably would have been considered a health hazard when she walked through the food, but since she was a ghost and not dripping ectoplasm, it was only annoying. And only to Cooper, because no one but him seemed able to see her. Even when she lay in the middle of the pastries display case as if it were Snow White's glass coffin, everyone else was oblivious to her presence, including Cooper's father, who owned the shop.  

"Seriously," she insisted now, apparently not ready to let this idea drop. "Golem."  

He rolled his eyes. "I assume you mean for you."  

"Uh-huh."  

"And I assume you mean I should make one, so you can . . . take it over, or whatever."  

"It's not possession if it's a golem, since they don't have souls, right?" she said, making him wince at the way her voice echoed when she got excited. "And it's not a zombie or anything since you'd be making it and not using a dead person."  

"You wouldn't be able to sit on the ceiling anymore if you actually had a body," he pointed out.  

She paused, chewing her lip, then shrugged, and fell halfway through the counter before finding her feet on the floor. "I wouldn't be able to sit on the ceiling, but I'd be able to . . . to curl up on a cold night, wrapped in a blanket, with a mug of raspberryhot cocoa. So, what do you say?"  

"I say I don't know how to make a golem, necromantic or otherwise."  

"You use clay, duh!"  

"Where do you get this stuff?" he asked. "Clay. Okay. And then . . .?"  

"Then . . . then . . . I want a body! I'm sick of this non-corporeal crap. Check out the library's occult section. Check out Harry Potter. I don't care!"  

With the last outburst, Samantha flickered like a candle flame going out and disappeared. Cooper shrugged and turned back to see if the apples were salvageable. He wasn't worried about Samantha. She often disappeared, and always came back.   Maybe he should have been concerned about himself since he was the only person who could see her, but he wasn't. He knew better than to tell anyone else about her, though; they would probably lock him away in a padded room somewhere. Could he really blame them?  

The fact of the matter was, he was being haunted by the color-coordination-challenged ghost of a teenage girl. She had appeared by his bedside when he had woken in a hospital last July, and neither of them knew why.  

He finished cutting the apples and started laying them into tarts. The work was soothing, mechanical. His father was in the next room, kneading bread dough; occasionally, his soft humming reached as far as this room, but mostly it was quiet, the way Cooper liked it. He appreciated the routine of waking up at four in the morning, getting to the shop by four-thirty to bake bread and pastries and brew the coffee before they opened at seven. Then—at least on weekdays, like today—he hung up his apron as his father spoke to the first of the morning's customers, rolled down his sleeves, and trudged fifteen minutes to school.  

Before this summer, he would have laughed at the guy he was now: quiet, reserved, and living very much in his own head, instead of constantly surrounded by outgoing friends who only managed by sheer luck not to get kicked out of every public place they entered.  

It was only the fourth day of his senior year of high school. It was going to be a long year, and not because the day started when he had already been awake for more than three hours . . . often longer. . . .  

The problem was, he couldn't find it in him to care about this year. He used to care about things, people. His room, his stuff. His friends, especially the other guys on the Lenmark Ocelots football team, including John, who had been his best friend since sixth grade. He had barely seen any of them since the end of the previous school year. Then there was his car, a 1993 Dodge Colt hatchback—more than a decade old with more than a hundred thousand miles on it, but it rode like a dream, like his dream, like freedom.

Cooper didn't have that anymore, either, and he didn't miss it, even yesterday, when he had walked from his father's coffee shop to school in a fine drizzle. His father had offered to let him take the family car, but he hadn't minded the cold or the rain or the way it made Samantha sparkle as it fell through her.  

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 34 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 35 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 21, 2011

    Highly recommended

    This is a really good book.
    It takes you a little bit to figure out the story and whats going on but other then that it`s really different and i like that.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2013

    Loved it

    I enjoyed every moment of this book. I didnt want yo put it fown when i stared it. I think this is one of thr best ghost books ive ever read.

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  • Posted December 23, 2012

    This is a very amazing book. Its draws you in and you do not won

    This is a very amazing book.
    Its draws you in and you do not wont to put it down but you do really have to think about what is happening though
    through the  story.

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