by Bryce Moore

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Tomas doesn’t remember his parents’ reason for leaving Slovakia when he was six, so he thinks his biggest challenges when his family moves back will be culture shock and getting to know his long-lost cousin Katka. And he hopes that his badly scarred arm won’t be a cause for teasing as it was in the States.

It turns out that Slovakia holds far more dangerous challenges for Tomas, as he discovers when a vodník straight out of Slovakian fairy tales tries to drown him and add him to his teacup collection. Between the vodník’s drownings in town—for which Roma like Tomas are blamed—a water ghost’s threats, and a fire víla’s mysterious warnings, this adventure turns out to be a lot more than Tomas had bargained for. And then there’s his cousin Katka’s big secret, which leads to a dangerous race against time and Death herself. When peril closes in on Tomas and Katka, can their newfound magical skills help them defeat the vodník and even cheat Death?

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

An American teen encounters monsters both fantastical and human in the land of his birth.
A first encounter with racism blends well with a compelling fantasy adventure.... A shy boy blossoms in this surprisingly witty debut.

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

BN ID: 2940013897656
Publisher: Lee & Low Books, Inc.
Publication date: 03/05/2012
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
File size: 5 MB

Customer Reviews