Reed, pseudonym of Thomas Pendleton (Mason; coauthor of the Wicked Dead series), turns out a horror novel that borrows heavily from genre conventions-and adds a cultural allusion that is obvious to everyone but the characters. High school student Justin Moore throws a party in his fancy house in Winter, Colo., while his parents are away. Although he's hidden the breakables, along with an ancient box found by a construction crew working for his dad, the box is discovered, and übercruel Tess Ward opens it. A shimmering cloud emerges, almost instantly transforming Tess into a figure of pure evil and gradually changing the others into a maniacal mob. Of course, a blizzard then isolates Winter from the outside world, making its residents easy prey, and Tess's mob wreaks devastation before anyone realizes that the fateful box is identical to Pandora's. Reed tells more than shows, and even the gore isn't very gory ("His left cheek was swollen so bad, it looked like he had a lemon shoved in his mouth"). Don't look here for Pendleton-style chills. Ages 14-up. (Jan.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Winter, Colorado, is in uneasy transition from small, local ski town to fashionable resort. Reactions from the locals to developers and new, wealthy residents range from suspicion to cupidity. As the first snow begins to fall, newcomer Justin plans a party while his parents are out of town. Before leaving, his father shows Justin a mysterious box found during construction on the new resort hotel, and enjoins him strictly not to touch it. Of course, the predictable happens when Tess, local queen of cool and party guest, opens the box and releases a swarm of silvery particles that infect everyone they touch. Soon the village is in chaos, with people attacking one another, eating everything in sight, or falling into coma-like sleep. Russ and Emma, two teens somehow uninfected by the madness, frantically try to determine the nature of the shimmering particles and how to stop them before the whole village is destroyed. Emma suddenly recalls the myth of Pandora's box - but no one remembers the ending. Did Pandora get the evils back in the box? Conflating Pandora's ills and the Seven Deadly Sins, the author raises an interesting issue: Has civilization become so self-indulgent that evil, when released, immediately takes a deadly form? The author's writing is sometimes clunky and his characters are sketches, but the moral question will intrigue some readers. Others will enjoy the mild horror a l· R. L. Stine. If an occasional reader is led to Greek mythology, what is not to like? Reviewer: Kathleen Beck
Gr 10 Up
A zombie story with a mythological twist, Shimmer is a quick and compelling read. As far as the residents of Winter, CO, know, all they have to worry about is weathering the major blizzard that is on its way. What they don't realize is that an ancient evil is about to be unleashed on their town. Justin, a spoiled rich kid, throws a big party while his parents are out of town, and the school's queen bee, Tess, stumbles upon a strange box. Despite Justin's demand that she leave it alone, she opens it. A strange silver cloud emerges, and the townspeople begin to go mad with lust, hatred, greed, gluttony, and sloth. Five students are unaffected by the insanity, and they resolve to protect the box that Tess (who is now frighteningly altered) seems determined to possess. But where can they hide in a town that seems destined to self-destruct? And how can they contain the evil that has been released into the world? Initially, some of the teen dialogue seems forced, but it smoothes out as the novel progresses. Also, one of the characters makes a choice that doesn't fit with the way the author has constructed him, but otherwise the characters are well-drawn and believable, specifically Emma, the heroine. Violence, crude language, and references to drug use require that this book be given to an older age group; however, the writing is at a lower level, making this an ideal choice for reluctant or struggling readers.-Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO
When partygoers accidentally unleash a malevolent presence from an ancient container recently discovered on the mountain summit, the town's residents begin to manifest erratic behaviors based on the seven infamous sins. Emma, newly arrived in Winter, Colo., recruits local teens to help keep the infection from spreading. One-dimensional characters add nothing to the plot, though some tension develops as the narrative explores the intersection of old ways with new development on the mountain. Emma's crush, Russ, makes a noble sacrifice, but the weak friendships between characters cause it to appear flat and manipulative instead of heroic and noble. The vaguely defined evil is an amplified version of a high-school ice queen-cold, but desperate for followers. Brian James's Zombie Blondes (2008) has much richer villains. Reed incorporates cell phones and the Internet into his storytelling to build a connection with teen readers, but they will likely find the portrayal of teen tech-users unflattering. Despite some potential, an unsatisfying villain coupled with an unsophisticated portrayal of teenagers cause this first effort at young-adult fiction to falter. (Horror. YA)