Becca's Reviews > In the Forests of the Night

In the Forests of the Night by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
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Jun 28, 13

it was amazing
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Read in June, 2013

I first read this book when I was twelve years old. I found it tucked away in a dark corner of the school library - a small book, one of those that feels used and well-loved. After I read it, and loved it, I was amazed to find that this book was written when the author was only thirteen or fourteen years old. I am glad that I didn't find this out until after I read the book, because that meant that I did not create any prejudices, preconceptions or judgements due to the age of the author.

The book switches between the time three hundred years ago, in the 1700's, and the present day. The story follows a girl called Risika - a vampire who, before she was changed, was called Rachel Weatere. She was changed by a vampire called Ather, and her arch enemy is her blood brother Aubrey - the one that she believes killed her brother hundreds of years ago, the one who left her a black rose on the day that she died.

Risika needs to learn how to live in the world of vampires, and spends the centuries clinging to the last vestiges of her precious humanity, despite having killed an innocent woman condemned of witchcraft when she was a young vampire, and having killed many since. Throughout the story she struggles with finding out who she truly is, and coming to terms with the fact that despite how much she wishes she wasn't, she is a killer, a vampire, a monster - and she's good at what she does. Eventually she comes to accept who and what she is, mostly due to an event near the end of the book. Lately, she has partly eased her centuries-long loneliness by striking up a deep friendship with a tiger- Tora, a beautiful animal. Tora and Risika's friendship was sweet, and you could feel through the writing their love for each other and the loneliness they eased in each other.(view spoiler) The book's title comes from the poem in the front cover of the book, called "The Tyger".

This book is masterfully written, and compelling in the way that we connect with Risika throughout the short narrative. The author strives to make us understand exactly what a vampire is, and what draws some people to them so inexplicably. I also - probably due to my fascination with vampires - am drawn in some way to the protagonist, Aubrey. Though he is undoubtedly evil in some way, his character is also delicious to read, and I think that it becomes easy to hate him mainly because the novel is narrated from Risika's point of view, not giving you a balanced view of his character. To me there is something redeemable in Aubrey, and even if you don't agree- you have to love his disposition. I actually do quite like him, if I try to ignore Risika's point of view, which is completely justified when you consider that Risika thinks he killed her brother Alexander. (view spoiler)

Alexander was another intriguing character. Born into the late 1600's and early 1700's, he was exposed to the full brunt of the Church's view on witches and demons. And you have to feel sorry for the poor boy, who clearly has a strong sense of morality and conscience, and a great care for his family, and then finds out about these powers he has. Which of course the Church would condemn him for, and so he condemns himself. Though he can be a bit gloomy at times, he's really quite a sweetheart, and I loved his character. (view spoiler)

The other way that I find this book compelling, aside from the wonderful characterization, is the way that Atwater-Rhodes flawlessly creates a new, still dark, yet completely believable slant on the world of vampires. Truly, this is the best vampire-world I have ever, and probably will ever, encounter.

At the moment, the book that I own is the one that has combined all four Den of Shadows books into one tome. But I will never forget that little copy that I first picked up in the corner of the library - it occupies a small, precious - albeit probably dark- place in my heart.

For anyone interested in discussing the Den of Shadows series with other people, or in role-playing the Den of Shadows world, here's the link to my group:
Feel free to join! All welcome. :)

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Reading Progress

06/20/2013 marked as: currently-reading
06/20/2013 page 16
10.0% "Breathtaking..."
06/21/2013 marked as: read

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