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3.97  ·  Rating details ·  294 ratings  ·  86 reviews
When Tomas was six, someone — something — tried to drown him. And burn him to a crisp. Tomas survived, but whatever was trying to kill him freaked out his parents enough to convince them to move from Slovakia to the United States.

Now sixteen-year-old Tomas and his family are back in Slovakia, and that something still lurks somewhere. Nearby. It wants to drown him again an
Hardcover, 1st Edition, 368 pages
Published March 28th 2012 by Tu Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  294 ratings  ·  86 reviews

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Experiment BL626
The book was fun as expected. What attracted me was the non-American setting and an underused mythology. The book delivered Slovakia and Slavic mythology. The mythology portion consisted of a fire spirit, a water spirit, a ghost, and a grim reaper. I admit it sounds generic. But as a big reader of urban fantasy, anything that isn’t vampires and werewolves, Greek/Roman mythos, Celtic mythos, or Norse mythos is a cheery break. Unfortunately, it was a shame that the basis for the Slovakian setting ...more
Trevor Green
Feb 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Every once in a while, I read a book that ends up being the equivalent to a tall, icy glass of water. Or better yet, Sprite. Just refreshing. I can think of several in my own reading experience (just to name a few): Harry Potter, Fablehaven, and most recently, Vodnik by Bryce Moore. Now don't mistake me, I'm not comparing these books to each other, or even grouping them up under some category, I'm simply saying they all gave me the same sense of excitement; the feeling that I was reading somethi ...more
Nov 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Vodnik might appeal to some of the same readers who enjoyed the Lockdown series by Alexander Gordon Smith; Lockdown (Escape From Furnace, #1) by Alexander Gordon Smith but I don’t think its fans will cut such a broad swath. While it has its share of action and adventure, with a nice sprinkling of magic, its setting of Slovokia may lead fewer readers to pick it up and try. Those who do try it may find the characters a little flat, the dialogue a little old-fashioned, and the action dragging a bit in some sections. The chapter openers, formatted as section ...more
Jan 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Becky by: Bryce Moore
My husband won an ARC of this book, and we've both loved it. I won't include any spoilers for you, but I'll just let you know that I've never read anything like this. I don't give out 5 star reviews willy nilly. I 100% enjoyed this book! It was the complete package for me.

The simple fact that it's set in Slovakia, and revolves around Slovak folklore sets it apart from other books. The setting feels real because it IS real. The magic is exciting and new.

This book is COMPLEX; moreso than I was exp
Apr 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I read a lot of Young Adult fiction and I very much appreciated the uniqueness of this book. It's always amazing to learn about great cultures and histories that somehow I missed out on. What DID they teach us in our history classes back in the day?

I especially liked the mini book within the book, "Death in the Modern Day". Instructions for modern reapers include, "Robes are dry-clean only. We have a standing account with Paul's Dry Cleaning, a little place in New York over in Chinatown. Failur
Lexie Robinson Austin
May 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Vodnik was a fabulous read, a rollicking fun adventure into the world of Slovak folklore. Having personally been to Slovakia, I felt that Moore did a great job in conveying the atmosphere of the country. I really felt like I was back there, walking in an old castle. The Slovakian folklore was a blast- it was like reading Percy Jackson without actually knowing any of the mythology beforehand. However, the absolute best thing about this book was Tomas’ voice and sense of humor. It was fresh, funny ...more
Apr 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
With very little fuss and zero hype, Vodnik managed to make an impression of a unique, wry and clever story, which I absolutely loved!

There is just so many yummy parts in this book I don't know where to start...

First of all, for anyone interested in cultures beyond British/American this is a must read. Bryce's description of Slovakia and Slovaks' way of life is superb. I might not know anything of Slovakia, but I know Eastern Europe and I grew up in a very similar environment to the one de
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
Vodnik is an immensely enjoyable journey to a place where old, strange, crazy magic fills the streets of a medieval city. It's part mystery, part the story of a boy finding magical powers (while dealing with culture shock), part an exploration of ancient stories, and altogether engrossing.

When Tomas was an ordinary American teenager of 16, his house burned down around him. Miraculously, he survived unhurt--not like the time when he was a child in Slovakia, when someone (or some thing) almost dro
Mar 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
When I first read the synopsis of Vodnik I thought well this is something new and immediately I wanted to read it. The Plot was original using Slovakian legends to tie in a fish out of water slash self discovery story of the main character Tomas. As a young child after a horrific accident Tomas leaves Slovakia to live in America. In America Tomas is a fish out of water he doesn’t fit in, and when he returns to his native country of Slovakia at age 16, after his family loses their home in a terri ...more
Krista (CubicleBlindness Reviews)
I was looking for something different to read, with adventure and magic. That is exactly what I got here.

Characters: Tomas has burn scars down the side of his body. He has never had much luck keeping friends. More of a homebody that enjoys playing video games and watching movies. When moving home to Slovakia he encounters his families gypsy blood line, and several fantastical creatures. The Vodnik being my favorite character, then Tomas.

Plot: When a fire burns down their house. His parents decid
Rosalyn Eves
Jul 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

My sister recommended Bryce Moore's Vodnik to me, and I'm very glad she did. This young adult urban fantasy was a refreshing and fun blend of mythology and contemporary culture, set in Slovakia (Trencin, to be exact).

Tomas isn't sure what to think when his family moves back to Slovakia. He still harbors terrible scars from a fire when he was five (and remembers almost nothing about how he got them), but he's open to a new adventure, particularly when he meets his pretty new cousin, Ka
Sep 09, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: solid-ya
I wish there were a half-star rating system, because this book is easily 3 1/2 stars for me. It's a solid read with some fairly minor issues, enjoyable characters, and a mythology that really makes it feel like a fantastical quest to achieve an insurmountable goal and maybe pick up some cool abilities along the way--which, truthfully, it is. Perhaps my favorite part of the book lies in the characters and how they're handled; the kids act like kids, the adults act like adults, and the non-humans ...more
April Steenburgh
Mar 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy, ya
Ten years ago, something bad happened to Tomas in Slovakia. Something he doesn't quite remember, but that left horrible burns on his body and prompted his parents to move the family to America. But a house fire leaves the family in a poor financial situation and they move back to Slovakia with Tomas, now 16, who sees things that could not, should not be. Tomas is a reclusive American boy, who wants nothing more than to watch his movies. He is not at all prepared for fire vilas, water demons, or ...more
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a fantastic young adult fantasy book! It has mythical creatures (including Death and a Slovakian version of the vampire), interesting characters, teenage angst, and plenty of pop culture references. The storyline was very gripping (I read the 300+ page book in two days), the climax was exciting, and the resolution was completely satisfying. Bryce has a very witty, slightly sarcastic writing style that I really relate to; I was grinning as I finished the book.

Synopsis: 16-year-old Tomas a
Mar 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mg
I was hesitant to try this one, afraid it might just be a vampire book in disguise. What a dark and delightful surprise it was to step between these pages, and to follow Tomas, our mysterious hero, on a series of adventures we never would have expected. Tomas is Romany, and as a storyteller, he does a pretty fine job. Because he's our narrator, it takes a while to understand that he has survived a drowning. And that it left him with terrible burn scars... That's where the story starts to get int ...more
Kevin Albert
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is a very interesting read. To be honest, I didn't know what to expect with Vodnik. It's a YA fantasy set in Slovakia dealing with Slovakian legends. Since I've never been to Slovakia and I don't know anything about Slovakian folk tales, I was worried I wouldn't able to relate. In actuality, Vodnik tackles a search for identity, acceptance, racism, culture shock, teenage angst, and even, love. These are all universal concepts. The story has a very unique set of monsters and magic that ...more
Karen Sandler
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The best part about Vodnik is that it's set within a country and culture I've never read about before. There is much cool new (to me) folklore in the story, far beyond the typical vampire/werewolf/shapeshifter memes. The story is fast-paced, the humor is laugh-out-loud funny, and it's just creepy enough that at least one night I had some pretty whacked-out dreams as a consequence of reading it so late. If you want an exciting, adventurous book that's completely out of the ordinary, you gotta rea ...more
Mar 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. It's an urban fantasy set in Slovakia, using folklore from the area. The city and locations are real, and make me wish I could visit myself (especially the castle). I also thought the depiction of Roma discrimination was well done. The ending is set up for an eventual sequel, which I am anxiously looking forward to.
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Excellent story! Along the lines of hold me close necromancer and the chronicles of nick. Great lead character and a story based on slovakian mythology rather than the usual.
Apr 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya-mg, fantasy
Fantastic! Unique setting, a character I could care about, and quote-out-loud humor mixed in with the drama and adventure.
Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved this book so much. It has been a long time since I have read a book I couldn't put down. I was the one shushing my husband when he tried to talk to me, usually the other way around.
YA Reads Book Reviews
Mar 02, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: nichole
Originally featured on, reviewed by Nichole

Tomas doesn’t remember his parents’ reason for leaving Slovakia when he was six, so he thinks his biggest challenges when his family moves back might include culture shock and getting to know his long-lost cousin. And he hopes that his badly scarred arm won’t be a cause for teasing, as it was in the States.
Slovakia, however, holds far more dangerous challenges for Tomas, as he discovers when a vodnik straight out of Slovak fairy tales tr
Apr 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is really good so far
Amazing book, you could always make a second book.
Becky B
Oct 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Tomas' family is moving back to Slovakia because they just don't have enough money to make it in America after the house fire. But they are grateful Tomas survived the fire. Actually, they're grateful he's survived multiple fires and a drowning. Yeah, Tomas has had a bit of a rough life. Moving back to Slovakia isn't all fun and games either. The country is still recovering from being under Communism for decades, and being of Roma decent doesn't make Tomas the most popular person in town, but th ...more
Aug 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It's set in Slovakia! There is little to no romance! There is an emphasis on family loyalty (but not TOO much family loyalty)! There are many mysteries that weave in and out of the story only to be RESOLVED at the end! It's a standalone!

Those are a few reasons of why Vodnik stood out as a special book, and of why I loved it.
Vodnik is about a boy, Tomas, and his parents who move to Slovakia after losing everything in a house fire. Tomas is scarred, not from the house fire but from a fire from whe
Jun 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Why isn't this book more popular? How come I never heard of it before?!? People! go read this book and make it a thing!

Vodnik is basically teen fiction based on Slovak mythology. That might sound really random, and the teacups and Death thing might sound cheesy, but when the author does a really good job of pulling it off! Loved the plot, character arc, zillions of movie references (which all -- for once -- happen to be movies I actually know about), Uncle Lubos, the castle setting (fancy), the
Alethea A
Feb 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012-dac-alethea
I like a book that gets better as it goes along. This started out as a 2 and ended up a 4.5. There are no half stars, so I rounded up. Full review here:
Author interview/podcast:

I will admit, I was a little sidetracked by the cover when I first received this book. There's just something too unreal about Tomas's face and the cutesy reaper logo on his shirt. He's a little too smirky. When I finally started the book,
Oct 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Sooooo, Tomas has a weird life. Okay, that pretty much sums up the book! More? Well let's see, after his family's home in America burns to the ground (with all their stuff and Tomas in it) the family is grateful for Tomas mericulous survival, but decides that it is finally time to return to the land of his mom's family, Slovakia. This will actually be the second time Tomas has lived in Slovakia as he grew up there until he was five, but after strange occurances including him drowning and nearly ...more
Aug 07, 2012 rated it liked it
After a terrible accident, Tomas and his family left Slovakia and moved to America. Ten years later, Tomas is 16 and they are moving back. When Tomas gets there strange things start happening. He is seeing all kinds of crazy creatures. Turns out Tomas is a Rasputin, someone who has survived a magical attack, and he can see Slovakian mythological characters. He meets a Vodnik - a water monster that steals peoples souls and puts them in a teacup. He also meets a Vila - a fire demon. Both claim tha ...more
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was a pleasant surprise to me. It was recommended by a friend who thought I'd be interested in it because I like Fantasy/Sci-Fi and have Slovakian heritage.

The main characters felt well-rounded and not like cartoon cutouts (though the Lesana character felt a little flat). Actions were believable within the framework of the story.

The book surprised me with it's matter-of-fact reminiscences of Communist-era Slovakia. These recollections were neither ubiquitous nor central to the plot, bu
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Huntsville-Madiso...: Bryce Moore Interview 1 9 May 24, 2012 10:58AM  
Free Books, .99, ...: INT Giveaway of Vodnik by Bryce Moore (YA) 1 18 May 11, 2012 12:58PM  

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Also writes under the pseudonym Albert Packard.
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