Vampire Rising

( 6 )

Overview

The Van Helsing name reborn

Fourteen-year-old Alex has no idea that he's descended from the world's most famous vampire hunter, but that changes fast when he arrives at Glenarvon Academy and confronts two vampires in his first three days. Turns out Glenarvon isn't the only school near Lake Geneva. Hidden deep underground lies an ancient university for vampires called the Scholomance. And the deadly vampire clan lord known as Icemaker? You ...

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Overview

The Van Helsing name reborn

Fourteen-year-old Alex has no idea that he's descended from the world's most famous vampire hunter, but that changes fast when he arrives at Glenarvon Academy and confronts two vampires in his first three days. Turns out Glenarvon isn't the only school near Lake Geneva. Hidden deep underground lies an ancient university for vampires called the Scholomance. And the deadly vampire clan lord known as Icemaker? You might say he's a visiting professor.

When two of Alex's friends are kidnapped by Icemaker, it's up to Alex to infiltrate the Scholomance and get them back—alive. Assisted by the Polidorium, a top-secret vampire-hunting organization with buried ties to the Van Helsings, Alex dodges zombies, bullets, and lots—and lots—of fangs on his way to thwarting Icemaker's plans and fulfilling his family destiny.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Launching the Alex Van Helsing series, Henderson’s debut is a pedestrian mashup of common contemporary genres: action hero meets vampires in an elite boarding school setting. Unlike Hogwarts, Alex’s new school, Glenarvon Academy, is populated primarily with mundane (if wealthy) students; Alex, however, is far from ordinary, being descended from a family of vampire hunters, though his family’s past has been kept secret from him. But Glenarvon isn’t the only premier academy on Lake Geneva: its neighbors include the Scholomance, an equally elite educational facility for vampires. Early and violent encounters with vampires (which Alex has a preternatural ability both to detect and dispatch of) allay his initial skepticism about the supernatural, and soon he’s gearing up to face Icebreaker, a powerful and very famous vampire. Henderson’s prose is serviceable, but the dialogue in particular tends to be corny and trite (“'Joining the family business, are we?’ Icemaker snarled”). The plot, while action-heavy, is predictable, with plenty left unanswered for future books, making this an accessible but uninspired choice for reluctant readers. Ages 12-up. (May)
ALA Booklist
“Trouble seems to follow Alex Van Helsing wherever he goes... Invigorated by likable teen heroes with believable interests (one loves vampire lore, the other manga). This first book in the Alex Van Helsing series seriously doesn’t suck.”
ALA Booklist
“Trouble seems to follow Alex Van Helsing wherever he goes... Invigorated by likable teen heroes with believable interests (one loves vampire lore, the other manga). This first book in the Alex Van Helsing series seriously doesn’t suck.”
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) (Starred Review)
“This book will engage readers easily and many will not be able to put it down... Characters and plot are strong and the development of a new twist on the Van Helsing and vampire mythology will make readers eager for the next in the series.”
Children's Literature - Amanda Ledbetter
Alex Van Helsing is a fourteen-year-old boy who has just begun studying abroad at Glenarvon Academy near Lake Geneva. Only two days after arriving, Alex follows the sound of a scream in the woods and finds himself face-to-face with a vampire. The next few days lead to more encounters with vampires, including witnessing the arrival of the powerful and deadly vampire Icemaker. Joining forces with a secret vampire hunting group known as the Polidorium, Alex learns the truth behind his family name and sets out to defeat Icemaker and his army of vampires before they can complete their sinister plan. The first book in the "Alex Van Helsing" series, this story is packed with action from the first to the last page. While vampires are an essential element of the story, Henderson has limited the blood and gore to isolated incidents, and only minimal foul language is present. The plot also contains ties to Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Dracula by Bram Stoker, allowing language arts teachers to make connections and encourage their students to read these classic works of literature. Reviewer: Amanda Ledbetter
VOYA - Karen Sykeny
This wonderful series opener is a compelling action, fantasy, horror story and tells the Van Helsing family history of hunting evil monsters like vampires and werewolves. Alex is a teenage boy who is sent to a boarding school in Geneva, Switzerland by his father after getting into a severe fight at his local school. Alex soon learns that what he thought was "not happening" and "not real" based on his father's words, is real. Vampires exist and he is the great-great-great grandson of Van Helsing. He finally understands that the "static" in his head is his ability to sense when evil is near. He befriends two boys at school, Paul and Sid, and they are all soon involved in this strange new world where evil really manifests as monsters that hunt and abuse mortal humans. Their literature teacher, Sangster, has mysterious connections to an order, the Polidori, which secretly protects people from vampires and other creatures. Alex's archenemy in this novel is a vampire called The Icemaker, whose background offers a nice surprise by tying into 19th Century literature. This book will engage readers easily and many will not be able to put it down. This excellent book is a must-have purchase for all libraries, especially where horror fiction is hot. Characters and plot are strong and the development of a new twist on the Van Helsing and vampire mythology will make readers eager for the next in the series. Reviewer: Karen Sykeny
School Library Journal
Gr 6–10—Alex Van Helsing always believed he was a normal teen who just happened to possess a legendary last name. All that changes when he begins to experience strange sensations and is involved in the bizarre death of a student at Frayling Prep. His parents decide to send Alex to Switzerland in order to attend Glenarvon Academy near Lake Geneva. Alex's dreams of a new beginning are shattered when he is attacked by a vampire on his second day. He must now face the realization that his instincts about supernaturals have been right all along and that they do indeed exist. Mr. Sangster, Alex's teacher, reveals to him that the Van Helsings have always been an integral part of the Polidorium, a secret organization of vampire-hunters. The Polidorium is in Lake Geneva to find the Scholomance, a vampire stronghold under the leadership of an ancient vampire known as Icemaker. When the vampires take captive two of Alex's friends, the 14-year-old must take action. Henderson references Mary Shelley's Frankenstein to weave a great story line full of action, suspense, and adventure. The satisfying story captivates readers with a modern-day spin of James Bond meets Dracula. It has lots of bite that will have readers thirsting for more.—Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061950995
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/4/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,056,883
  • Age range: 13 years
  • Lexile: HL780L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jason Henderson is the author of Alex Van Helsing: Vampire Rising, which was named Best of 2010 by VOYA, and Alex Van Helsing: Voice Of The Undead. He has written for games and comic books, including the Activision game Wolfenstein, the vampire action comic series Sword of Dracula, and the manga series Psy-Comm.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 13, 2010

    The right kind of hunter, the right kind of vampire

    I picked up Alex Van Helsing because it looked like it had something different. I was right. Henderson's teenage hero doesn't even know that he comes from a long line of heroes--after all, "Van Helsing" is just a name, right? Of course it's not "just a name," and Alex is soon dealing with villains that leave school bullies in the dust. What raises this book above many other YA hero books is the depth of the characters. Alex's friends are real, three-dimensional kids--not stock sidekicks like "geek" or "jock" or "airhead." The adults aren't buffoons or mustache-twirling community theater characters--they're resourceful humans who know how to use their brains. And the vampires live up to the narcissistic amoral mythos begun by Polidori and Stoker. Whether or not you know vampire fact and fiction from the last few centuries, this book won't disappoint. It takes the vampire and hunter lore and makes it believable for today. I was rooting for Alex before the end of the first chapter. Henderson's imagery and dialogue make the story zip along. He ties up the loose ends of the plot (hooray!) yet gives just enough hints to make me wish the sequel was available RIGHT NOW. Highly recommended.

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  • Posted July 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Alex Van Helsing: It was ok, nothing spectacular

    Alex Van Helsing by Jason Henderson was filled with action and a bit of horror. The book centered around a 14 year old boy, Alex Van Helsing, who doesn't know about the `family business'- slaying vampires. He soon learns quickly though, that something strange is going on after getting attacked twice by vampires near his school, Glenarvon. Meanwhile, Alex is trying to figure out why his literature teacher, Mr. Sangster is going out late at night, how to avoid his two roommates, trying to make friends with Sid, Paul and Minhi (a girl who kicks ass, literally), and he is trying to help defeat an evil vampire, Icemaker.

    This book was a page turner, and an interesting read but I can't say that I really liked this book. In some parts of the book the writing was choppy and didn't flow very well. It also wasn't the type of book that you HAD to keep reading or you'd pull out all your hair and beat up anyone who got in the way of you and your book (:p). It was an average, ok, book. Nothing special, but nothing really terrible about it. (Although I have to applaud the author for putting so much detail into the action scenes.)I would recommend Alex Van Helsing: Vampire Rising to anyone who is looking for a quick and interesting read, but not a book that would blow their minds.

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  • Posted June 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by John Jacobson aka "R.J. Jacobs" for TeensReadToo.com

    Alex Van Helsing is a normal thirteen-year-old boy, who just so happens to have been shipped off to a school in Switzerland. He also gets a strange itch behind his eyes at the oddest of hours. Not to mention the strange being that he kills outside in the woods surrounding the private school and Lake Geneva on his first night there. Or how it blew up in a cloud of fire and ash when he stabbed it in the chest. Yeah, normal.

    When Alex catches his English professor sneaking out on a motorcycle late at night, just as another one of those things - things that don't exist, according to his father - nearly kills him, he decides to investigate. More of those things wait in the woods, on motorcycles just like his teacher. Alex barely escapes death again...until his teacher takes him into a secret base known as the Polidorium, where he finds out the truth about vampires - and his last name's legacy.

    Characters are important. Characters are half the reason I read a book, period. If I don't like them, then there is an issue. Especially because I like most characters. But the ones in Alex Van Helsing....They don't work well for older teens. Alex is funny and fairly smart for a male protagonist, and I like that. His friends are, of course, the nerds with cool ideas and quirks. One is also bigger than the average boy, the other is lankier and slightly more intelligent. And he meets a girl - Minhi - Minnie, but with an 'h'. And she kicks major ass. Not the most original characters, they have an air of immaturity about them that makes them more for a late-middle school crowd than an older YA, which is partially why I never warmed up to them.

    I did like Minhi, though - her knowledge of a form of martial arts combined with a love of shojo Manga and an Indian (country, not the politically incorrect term Americans use for Native Americans) heritage makes for a fun read. Too bad she is kidnapped and not around for much of the action. The main villain gave me issues, too...mostly because I had an image of him before the book, and it didn't meld well with how he was pictured as a vampire. Even if vampirism changes the people, it just didn't work for me.

    The premise is one thing that is great about this book, despite my qualms with action-oriented plot. I can't read action. And really, the action part isn't the most well thought out. Though I enjoyed how Alex has contact troubles and the resulting flub-ups with them. As someone with contacts, I felt his pain. The really enjoyable side of the premise is the mythos. The school's location at Lake Geneva has a brilliant, and for me, great purpose.

    Vampires in this world have a deep history, but the ones centering in this book connect to the party of writers at the villa alongside Lake Geneva. If that doesn't ring a bell, think of a contest involving Mary Shelley, John Polidori, and Lord Byron, with two others, including Shelley's half-sister, Claire. As a fan of random facts, I loved this connection, and the clues involving Frankenstein were fabulous and creative, and more than made up for the slower parts...

    Read the full review at www.teensreadtoo.com

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    Posted April 26, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2012

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