Vodník

Vodník

5.0 2
by Bryce Moore
     
 

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When Tomas was six, someone—something—tried to drown him. And burn him to a crisp. Tomas survived, but whatever was trying to kill him freaked out his parents enough to convince them to move from Slovakia to the United States. Now sixteen-year-old Tomas and his family are back in Slovakia, and that something still lurks somewhere. Nearby. Ready to drown him

Overview

When Tomas was six, someone—something—tried to drown him. And burn him to a crisp. Tomas survived, but whatever was trying to kill him freaked out his parents enough to convince them to move from Slovakia to the United States. Now sixteen-year-old Tomas and his family are back in Slovakia, and that something still lurks somewhere. Nearby. Ready to drown him again and imprison his soul in a teacup. Then there’s the fire víla, the water ghost, the pitchfork-happy city folk, and Death herself who are all after him. All this sounds a bit comical, unless the one haunted by water ghosts and fire vílas or doing time in a cramped, internet-deprived teacup is you. If Tomas wants to survive, he'll have to embrace the meaning behind the Slovak proverb, So smrťou ešte nik zmluvu neurobil. With Death, nobody makes a pact.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Heidi Uphoff
Moore kicks off the action right away when awkward, geeky teen Tomas wakes up in the hospital with no recollection of how he survived the fire that destroyed his home. Faced with the daunting task of rebuilding their family's life, his parents decide to move back to their native country of Slovakia, the place of Tomas's long-forgotten childhood. Tomas accepts a job working alongside his cousin, Katka, as a tour guide at a medieval castle to fill the void of American pop culture. There he learns the true reason his family had moved to America. A vodnik, a dangerous creature from Slovak myth, wants to drown him and collect his soul for his teacup collection. Soon, a cast of characters straight out of a Slovak storybook begins to appear to Tomas, who must decide whom he can trust. Events turn grim when Tomas discovers that Katka is marked to die of a brain tumor. To save her life, he makes a deal with Death, a deal that forces him to face his childhood fears. This supernatural novel sets itself apart from the bulk of the genre that is so preoccupied with fangs, shape-shifters, and love triangles. Moore also works in the themes of prejudice and standing up for yourself. Tomas is part Roma, a group marginalized from Slovak society and frequently victims of harassment. Moore's first published book is crammed with action and humor, and likely to hook many reluctant readers. Reviewer: Heidi Uphoff
Kirkus Reviews
An American teen encounters monsters both fantastical and human in the land of his birth. After a fire destroys their home, Tomas and his parents move to Slovakia, a country Tomas hasn't seen since he was 5 years old. He's unconcerned about the move; scarred from a childhood fire and painfully shy, Tomas hasn't got any friends to leave behind. Trencín, at first, seems wonderful. There's a truly fabulous castle, and he's made his first real friend: his cousin Katka. But Katka is dangerously ill, and Tomas' attempts to help are complicated by his first experiences with racism. In the United States, Tomas is white; in Slovakia, the olive skin he inherited from his Roma grandfather marks him as a Gypsy and a valid target for abuse. Nothing can help Tomas--and more importantly, Katka--except the mythical creatures Tomas started seeing almost as soon as he landed in Slovakia. It's unclear whether he can trust the watery vodník or the fire víla, but they both promised to help. A first encounter with racism blends well with a compelling fantasy adventure (although Tomas's family, lacking any Romani culture or traditions, reiterates some of racism themselves; his mother explains how they are worthy of praise because they are "not like other Roma"). A shy boy blossoms in this surprisingly witty debut. (author's note, further reading) (Fantasy. 11-16)
School Library Journal
S. He has always been a bit of an outcast and finds that even in his homeland he is discriminated against because of his Roma heritage. While Tomas tries to find his footing back in Slovakia, he learns that he is also connected to another world, in which spirits and characters from Slovakian folktales live and connive. Moore includes several subplots and also packs his book with information about the country. In fact, the novel feels overstuffed and sometimes reads more like a history lesson than an enjoyable fantasy. Too many side plots bog down the pace and leave readers exhausted before Tomas solves the mysteries and saves his cousin. This book has a likable main character with a believable teen voice but the story needed paring to keep readers fully engaged.—Denise Schmidt, San Francisco Public Library

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781600608520
Publisher:
Lee & Low Books, Inc.
Publication date:
03/20/2012
Pages:
368
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)
Lexile:
HL650L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Bryce Moore works as a librarian in western Maine. His wife is Slovak, and they are raising their children to be bilingual in English and Slovak. Moore has lived in Trenčín, Slovakia, where his brother-in-law, much like Uncle Ľuboš in Vodník, works at Trenčín Castle. Moore studied creative writing at Brigham Young University. This is his first novel.

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Vodník 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Landfall More than 1 year ago
Wonderful, imaginative, original. I could not put it down. An author to watch. I hope there will be more adventures with Tomas, Katka, Lesana, and the rest. I can almost imagine a sequel (hint, hint...)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago