Vampire Rising is a great supernatural adventure with the sort of protagonist that young adults can look up to and an extremely clever, breathlessly paced plot line that mines existing lore and literature in inventive, startling ways. The identity of the 'big bad' is an awesome reveal, as is his end-game for this volume. Horror geeks and literature buffs will be rewarded by the references and other tidbits that Henderson includes.
Of course, as the first volume in a series, Vampire Rising doesn't delve as deeply into Alex and his friends as it could, but readers are given enough tantalizing hints at their complexities to make the prospect of exploring their personalities in future books a major selling point. I'm particularly interested in learning more about (and meeting) the Van Helsing family and discovering what Sangster's big secret might be.
The only downside to the brisk pacing and shorter length is that the behavior of Minhi and Paul during the rescue scene occasionally strains credulity, but seeds have been laid earlier that help the reader swallow the idea that they'd keep their composure to that extent. And frankly this is a minor issue. Overall, this title is more respectful of lore, tradition and geekdom than most other YA vampire novels I've read, and my hat goes off to Henderson for a job well done.
On to book 2!