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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 ...
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.
Posted November 13, 2010
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 13, 2010
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.
Posted June 13, 2010
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
Posted April 26, 2011
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Posted May 30, 2012
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