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The Seer of Shadows

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,194 Ratings  ·  714 Reviews
Newbery Medalist Avi weaves one of his most suspenseful and scary tales—about a ghost who has to be seen to be believed and must be kept from carrying out a horrifying revenge.

The time is 1872. The place is New York City. Horace Carpetine has been raised to believe in science and rationality. So as apprentice to Enoch Middleditch, a society photographer, he thinks of his t
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published March 25th 2008 by HarperCollins
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Joshua Lawrence It starts off very slow and not very good. It starts to pick up. But it still wasn't a good written book. It had holes in the plot and wasn't very…moreIt starts off very slow and not very good. It starts to pick up. But it still wasn't a good written book. It had holes in the plot and wasn't very descriptive. (less)
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Dec 04, 2008 Shelley rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, fantasy
3.5, really. Parts of it were really interesting (if you like photography, anyway, which I do) and parts were really creepy, but parts were also kind of annoying. Like ending all the early chapters with those super obnoxious, "But I never guessed what would happen next!" lines, or the ending that created a new story without an ending. Characterization could have been deeper, the ghosts/belief in them could have been delved into a little more and the climax could have been less rushed, but I thou ...more
colleen the fabulous fabulaphile

This book starts off slowly, as we spend a bit of time being introduced to Horace - a boy raised by parents who believe in logic and reason, and who is apprenticing to the photographer, Middleditch - and a good deal more time learning about the technical specifics of making a photograph in 1872.

Since this is a middle-grade book, I'll say that while some children might be interested in the technical details, several will probably gloss over it a bit more than I did, since I, at least, had a pa
Dec 10, 2008 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
In nineteenth century New York, 14 year old Horace has been raised to think scientifically and logically. So what is he to do when he is apprenticed to a photogapher who fakes "spiritual" pictures of his clients' deceased loved ones and real ghosts start to appear in the photographs that Horace takes?
This was a quick, informative ghost story meant for 8-12 year olds. Although it is filled with historical facts, the story is mysterious and thrilling enough to hold their attention. The vocabulary
Brooke Baker
Nov 11, 2010 Brooke Baker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 04, 2010 Evan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is the best book I've read so far it was great!!!!This book had good detail also it had happy and scary parts!!I would recomend this book to people who are ok with being freaked out before I forget DONT READ UNDER THE COVERS IN THE DARK!!!!!!
I've heard really good things about Avi and the premise of the book was intriguing so I decided to give it a try. The writing was competent if lack-luster and the plot plodded along. The descriptions are okay, the dialogue decent but the characters have no depth and there just ins't much to this book. It's easily forgettable and not something I'd pick up again. I also disagree with the ending as the two characters that get together are highly unlikely given the prevailing prejudices of the times ...more
Esther Duhigg
Feb 10, 2011 Esther Duhigg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The year is 1872 and Horace Carpetine is the appretice of a photographer. Horace was raised to belive in science and reason, NOT ghosts and superstitions like that. But, when a whelthy lady orders a picture of her to be put at her daughters grave, Horace's empolyer decides to sell her more then just a picture... a picture with her daparted daughters ghost. Then when Horace takes the picture of Elenora's portrait, Elenora starts to come back to life. And sometimes when ghosts come back they can b ...more
Jul 09, 2015 Natalia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love photography and old photographic processes. I find the Victorian practice of "spirit photographs" and the experimentation with the photographic process to be fascinating. I really enjoyed this was creepy, interesting, and a creative concept. I wish it were a little longer, perhaps building more on life in NY in the late 1800s? There is so much being touched upon: spiritualism (the religion/practice of studying ghosts and the afterlife), racial issues (Pegg and talk of the abolit ...more
I've wanted to read this book for a few years now, and I hate that I was not overly impressed with it. Story wise I found it creepy and interesting. But it didn't have my attention at all times. Parts just seemed to drag on as it would lead into other good bits. I don't think its unfair for me to want to be engrossed through out. And no it has nothing to do with the particular age group to which this book was written for. Because I can honestly say that if I read this back when I originally took ...more
Linda Lipko
This is the first book I've read by this newbery award winning author.

Part ghost story, part mystery blended with the historical back drop of New York City in 1872, I liked this book. This was the time of the Astors and the Van der bilts who built opulent mansions on Fifth Avenue.

Told from the perspective of Horace Carpetine, an appretice to a sketchy photographer, the reader is transported to the NYC of long ago.

When a wealthy woman commissions Horace's boss to photograph that can be placed on
Rain Misoa
Oct 27, 2013 Rain Misoa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Avi fans and people who can handle a book with no ending.
Recommended to Rain by: Library
Shelves: must-own
It is definitely safe to say that I am a HUGE fan of Avi's novels. This is the fourth book I've read by him and I am so glad I did... despite not being a fan of the ending (more on this later). This story was engaging, had amazing characters, a fantastic setup, and all-around awesome atmosphere. I am definitely glad I decided to pick this up when I went to the library the other day.

Avi's writing style is amazing, especially in this book! Everything is so nicely detailed and goes along in a nice
Jan 07, 2014 Emma rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Summary: It's October 1872, New York City. Horace Carpetine believes in science and rationality. He's apprenticed to Enoch Middleditch, a photographer, he thinks of his trade as a scientific art. But when wealthy Mrs. Frederick Von Macht orders a photographic portrait, strange things begin to happen. Horace's first real photographs reveal the image of the Von Machts' dead daughter, Eleanora. He continues to see Eleanora, both in images and in life, and she slowly gets closer and closer to the r ...more
May 05, 2010 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The Seer of Shadows tells the story of the first time Horace Carpetine a photographers apprentice gets to take a picture. Horace’s story starts in a very believable historical setting working as an apprentice for a photographer in need of some work. When a job finds a way to them the photographer devises a plan to take advantage of a wealthy family wanting a picture to commemorate the passing of their daughter. Horace’s employer sends Horace on a secret mission to photograph a picture of the rec
Apr 28, 2010 Al_norahughes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mike Mullin
Apr 02, 2011 Mike Mullin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A masterfully written novel. I found myself paying particular attention to Avi's chapter endings. He uses them to propel the reader into the next chapter, raising questions or suspense with nearly every one. His plotting is also excellent. For a while, I thought the ending would be too predictable. And it did end in roughly the way I predicted, but Avi threw in a surprising twist. Also, the final chapter, which is sort of an epilogue, adds another satisfying dimension to the ending. I'd highly r ...more
Elizabeth Andrews
At first, I was very intrigued by the description of this book. Kind of an interesting view of the whole "spirit photograph" dealio. Unfortunately, this book let me down a lot. The characters were very flat and one-dimensional. The plot moved way too quickly, and the chapter endings seemed cliched. I think maybe if the book had either been longer, with more character and plot development, or shorter, as just a short ghost story, it would have been much more enjoyable.

ALTHOUGH, I do have to keep
Joey Ziniti
Apr 17, 2016 Joey Ziniti marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
The Seer of Shadows by AVI is one of my favorite books I have read. The book was filled with suspense and left me wanting to read more. AVI uses great detail in the book and it made me feel like I was actually there in the story. The plot is about a boy named Horace Carpetine who takes photos. He takes pictures of a lady who has a late daughter. In the background of the pictures, her late daughter appears. This made the book very interesting and fun to read. I had trouble putting this book down ...more
This was a pretty good book. SPOILER: It's dated in the fact that if written today the main character at the end would choose to somehow use his gift rather than ignore it; that seems to be the trend. Other than that, it did sadden me that the ghost was so very vengeful. I think the book could be fleshed out a bit more and find a market for the older reader.

Book Description:
Horace Carpetine does not believe in ghosts.

Raised to believe in science and reason, Horace Carpetine passes off spirits as
Noah Miller
May 17, 2015 Noah Miller is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about a man named Horace Carpetine who was a society photographer that was put in the mind set of only believing in science and rationality. This book takes through the time of 1872 in New York City into a scary ghost setting. This book also tells us of how this character took these photographs of a mysterious ghost. This ghost was seen by the main character of the story and seeks out revenge.

The theme of this book is friendship, Pegg and Horace join together to help each other fig
Audrey O
Jan 29, 2015 Audrey O rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Seer of Shadows was definitely one of my favorite supernatural books. I was assigned to read it as my 8th grade reading project. It was suspenseful and very descriptive which made it a thriller. I liked how the science of photography was incorporated in the book because it tied in fact with a plot based around supernatural ideas of ghosts. I could not put this book down when I started reading, because it had so many cliffhangers. I loved the book, but I was slightly disappointed that Avi did ...more
Lily Nadel
Nov 12, 2014 Lily Nadel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Avi's "The Seer of Shadows" tells the story of 12 year old Horace, the young apprentice to a scheming "society" photographer (Mr. Middleditch) in late 19th century New York City. When Mr. Middleditch takes on a new client, the grieving Mrs. Von Macht, Horace begins to notice strange occurences coinciding with his photography, and he soon discovers that he posseses a unique "gift".

The mystery component of this story is captivating, and most readers will immediately take a liking to Horace (narrat
Usually I am not a big fan of fantasy/supernatural stories. I like realistic fiction or historic fiction best. However, I am also a very BIG fan of Avi, and as a classroom teacher I used his books quite often, including NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, DON'T YOU KNOW THERE'S A WAR ON?, THE FIGHTING GROUND, and THE TRUE CONFESSIONS OF CHARLOTTE DOYLE to name a few. So, I was excited to read THE SEER OF SHADOWS, which is the fantasy/supernatural book of which I write.

I LOVED this book. As usual, Avi does hi
Fantasy Literature
Set in New York City, 1872, we are introduced to Horace Carpetine, a young man who works as an apprentice to a photographer. His employer Mr Middleditch is a rather unscrupulous man, eager to turn a penny whichever way he can, but Horace is captivated by the magic of early photographic techniques.

Told in first-person account, Horace describes meeting a young black servant girl called Pegg by the gates of Mr Middleditch’s house, who arranges a photography session with her mistress Mrs Von Macht.
Becky Ginther
I've heard a lot about Avi, but this is the first book by him that I've read. I will admit, I wasn't overly impressed with this book. It seemed to drag a lot, especially in the beginning. The historical aspect of photography might be interesting to some, but I imagine not so much to others - and there was a lot of description of this throughout the book.

The plot itself has potential. A young assistant photographer named Horace discovers that (view spoiler)
Jenni Walker
I wanted this book to have the same ghostly qualities as Something Upstairs also by Avi. It was disappointing in many areas. There was no rich description of the 1872 time period. The main character, Horace, was a little flat and did not make me feel sympathetic or even hardly care what happened to him. He is the apprentice to a less than honest photographer. I did like reading the descriptions of the photography process. I don't bring any prior knowledge about the origins of how a photograph wa ...more
Sarah Crawford
Feb 01, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The time is 1872. Horace is an apprentice to a photographer. Horace has been brought up to believe only in science, that everything related to superstition is wrong and that all is logic and science.

A woman wants her photograph taken by Middleditch, the photographer, and sends her black servant, Pegg, to fetch him. The story the woman gives Middleditch and the story Pegg gives Horace about the woman and what happened in the house don't agree at all. Pegg says that the woman and her husband trea
RLL 5201_Nicole Graham
Avi's Seer of Shadows is a fast read that envelops the reader from the very first page. The main character, Horace, is an apprentice to a dishonest photographer in 1872. The photographer tries to take advantage of a client by manipulating a picture to show the client's deceased loved one in the background. Horace learns that the pictures they were "faking" my really show a ghost.

Although I loved this book, I couldn't give it five stars. The inside cover claims that it is for 8-12 year olds. The
Josianne Fitzgerald
I have been recommending lots of books for girls lately, but this one will certainly appeal to boys. A vengeful ghost finds an entrance into this world via photographic plates late in 19th century New York. The photographer's apprentice befriends a servant girl, and together they try to banish the ghost but not before she extracts revenge on the couple who tormented her.

I enjoyed the explanations of the photographic process. My dad had a dark room when I was growing up, and it really did seem l
Summary (
The time is 1872, the place is New York City. Horace Carpetine is working as a photographer’s apprentice. His proprietor, Mr. Middleditch is down on his luck and in need of a wealthy client when he is approached by the wealthy Mrs. Von Macht. Spiritualism is all the rage, and Mrs. Von Macht wants a photographic portrait of herself to be placed on her deceased daughter’s grave, hoping it will bring dear Eleanor some peace in the afterlife. A plan is hatched in which Middleditc
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The Seer Of Shadow 7 37 Aug 16, 2012 05:09PM  
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Avi is a pen name for Edward Irving Wortis, but he says, "The fact is, Avi is the only name I use." Born in 1937, Avi has created many fictional favorites such as The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Nothing but the Truth, and the Crispin series. His work is popular among readers young and old.
More about Avi...

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“All I can think is that when you torment a person...the soul dies. When the soul dies, I suppose mercy dies, too.” 19 likes
“There is a limit to how much a seer wishes to see.” 10 likes
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