Monday, August 29, 2011

Review: Seer of Shadows - Avi

Synopsis: New York, 1872. Horace Carpetine has been raised to believe in science and rationality. So as apprentice to Enoch Middleditch, a society photographer, he thinks of his trade as a scientific art. But when wealthy society matron Mrs. Frederick Von Macht orders a photographic portrait, strange things begin to happen.

Horace's first real photographs reveal a frightful likeness: it's the image of the Von Macht's dead daughter, Eleanora.

Pegg, the Von Machts' black servant girl, then leads him to the truth about who Eleanora really was and how she actually died. Joined in friendship, Pegg and Horace soon realize that his photographs are evoking both Eleanora's image and her ghost. Eleanora returns, a vengeful wraith intent on punishing those who abused her.

Review: I am not a great fan of supernatural stories simply because I like things to make sense, but I am a great fan of Avi, and I am a great fan of the Victorian era. Seer of Shadows was definitely one of the best ghost stories I have read in a long time. Avi presents his Readers with brilliant, complex characters that have very distinguishable traits, and while he works with a very small cast, he pulls it off extremely well without making the Reader wish that there were a few more new people.

The story itself is, for lack of a better word, awesome. I got creeped out reading it on a sunny day! The pace is fast, but not so fast that the Reader feels like the story is running them over. The Author keeps things moving at an agreeable rate, ending each chapter on cliffhangers that actually work, and didn't make me roll my eyes and say, "Oh, well that's not typical." The Reader is also presented with historical and technical descriptions of photographical processes which manage to not bog the story down, but adds to the overall rich background of this novel.

Seer of Shadows is absolutely brilliant, and could have only been told by a truly masterful storyteller like Avi.

Overall Rating: 

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