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The Seer of Shadows

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  4,427 Ratings  ·  738 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)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Dec 04, 2008 Shelley rated it liked it
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
Dec 10, 2008 Mary rated it liked it
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
colleen the convivial curmudgeon

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
Brooke Baker
Nov 11, 2010 Brooke Baker rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 04, 2010 Evan rated it it was amazing
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!!!!!!
Apr 04, 2017 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Avi. The author's name is Avi. No last name, just Avi. If you're going to go by just one name (and Avi, at that), then you better be writing some pretty amazing shit. And I mean mind-altering, life-changing, grand-unification-of-the-laws-of-physics, proof of God, type amazing. So you can imagine my excitement when I picked up this young readers novel, Seer of Shadows, by "Avi!" To my disappointment, this book did not help me unlock the esoteric mysteries of the universe, nor did it enlighten me ...more
Mike Mullin
Mar 25, 2011 Mike Mullin rated it it was amazing
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
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
Jan 25, 2011 Esther Duhigg rated it it was amazing
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
Rain Misoa
Oct 27, 2013 Rain Misoa rated it really liked it
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
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
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
Aug 21, 2012 Carrie rated it liked it
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
Monica Rice
Sep 10, 2016 Monica Rice rated it it was amazing
I LOVED Avi as a young adult reader - and several of his stories are vivid sparkers of my early passion for reading. I found this newer Avi story in a Little Free Library and thought that I would give it a shot. The suspense and story didn't disappoint at all. Immediately I was on the edge of my seat waiting for a ghost to pop out of the story (and out from under my bed for a bit!). The story shines through with simple but well-draw characters that invite me to invest in the plight of humans and ...more
Jun 29, 2015 Natalia rated it really liked it
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
Apr 29, 2010 Erin rated it really liked it

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
Elizabeth Andrews
Jun 16, 2014 Elizabeth Andrews rated it it was ok
Shelves: paranormal-ish
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
Apr 23, 2010 Al_norahughes rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 04, 2007 Betsy rated it it was amazing
Wow. That was just great. I'm not actually much of an Avi fan, but I do love a good ghost story once in a while. This book definitely creates shivers up ye olde spine. Two thumbs way way up over here.
Jul 05, 2011 Betsy rated it really liked it
Superstition, suspense and a whole lot of creepiness... just what my "scary story" readers love! I'm glad I'll have a new recommendation for them for the upcoming school year.
Nov 11, 2010 Thomas rated it really liked it
i thought this was a real good suspenseful story that should never end..
Efren Garza
Nov 11, 2010 Efren Garza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was a very instering book i like it very much i would recomed it to people who like adventures and suspences.
Nov 29, 2009 Julie rated it really liked it
Spooky fun!
Michal Kaplunovsky
Nov 21, 2008 Michal Kaplunovsky rated it really liked it
This is a scary but good book... i meen really good!!!
Dakota Bush
Nov 11, 2010 Dakota Bush rated it really liked it
Shelves: suspens
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 03, 2011 Judy rated it it was amazing
My niece recommended this book, by one of her favorite authors Avi, its very very good, creepy and kept me on the edge of my seat. I really liked it.
Marrisa coffing
Nov 11, 2010 Marrisa coffing rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Marrisa by: mrs.hunter
I loved this book it is really good and people would love it and i recommned this book to every one that likes mystery books.
Oct 26, 2008 Suzan rated it really liked it
Seems like a good book to read the week before Halloween...mysterious story that includes the ghost of a young girl.
Pam Torres
Nov 22, 2010 Pam Torres rated it it was amazing
I really appreciated the historical research and info on photography. The pacing was superb!
Jaci Blue
Apr 19, 2010 Jaci Blue rated it it was amazing
the start of the book was kind of slow and boring until they started to talk about something more important, ghosts, and how the book ended wasn't a surprise, but it was a good book all-in-all
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The Seer Of Shadow 7 38 Aug 16, 2012 05:09PM  
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  • Diamonds in the Shadow
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  • Black Duck
  • The Ghost's Grave
  • Williwaw!
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  • The Luck of the Buttons
  • Cicada Summer
  • The Dead Boys
  • The Liberation of Gabriel King
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.” 20 likes
“There is a limit to how much a seer wishes to see.” 12 likes
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