Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Seer of Shadows by Avi

The Seer of ShadowsI'm always on the lookout for new ghost stories for my students as they are always begging for more. Avi's The Seer of Shadows seems to be an ideal addition to the collection.

Set in 1870's New York City, the story centers on Horace Carpetine, a young apprentice to a society photographer. Horace's boss has been hired to take a photograph of a wealthy woman, one who is grieving the death of her daughter. All is not as it seems in the Von Macht house, for many secrets are revealed to Horace via Pegg, the Von Macht's servant. When strange images of Eleanora, the Von Macht's dead daughter start showing up in the pictures Horace takes, he and Pegg must discover why her spirit is back and what she wants.

This story never grabbed my attention the way it should. I didn't feel the emotional attachment to the characters that I'm used to feeling in great books. In scenes that were probably meant to be suspenseful, I just read them with little reaction. Sure, I wanted to find out how it all worked out in the end, but I doubt I'll remember much about this story in a year or two. Avi writes so many truly wonderful books that I'm probably too critical of his work, and I've come to expect so much from him. I have a feeling my students will like the story a great deal more than me, if for no other reason that it's a ghost story. I give it a C.

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