Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Seer of Shadows by Avi


"IT WAS AN OCTOBER MORNING in the year 1872, and New York City's air was so befogged with white mist and dark smoke that I could barely see across the street."

The CIP summary is hidden to prevent possible spoilers. If you'd like to read this brief summary, just highlight it using your cursor and it will magically appear in the following lines.

CIP Summary: In New York City in 1872, fourteen-year-old Horace, a photographer's apprentice, becomes entangled in a plot to create fraudulent spirit photographs, but when Horace accidentally frees the real ghost of a dead girl bent on revenge, his life takes a frightening turn.

Publisher: Harper Collins; 202 pages

12 comments:

Mrs. Armstrong said...

As with several others of Avi's titles, I wonder about the ending. Is it an honest ending? I made some assumptions and maybe I was wrong to do so, but it is after all 1872. The ending seems unnatural to me. I wish I could say more but I don't want to give anything away. I wonder what others think.

Cal said...

I thought this book was fun, creepy and interesting. But make sure you have plenty of time to read it, because you won't be able to put it down!

cary's girl said...

I also could not put this book down. I thought it was wonderful and well written - it certainly grabbed my attention. I agree with mrs. armstrong, and had my doubts about the ending. But while it was unusual, it certainly wasn't unheard of.

Teresa said...

I wanted more of the ghost. Or less of the ghost. Lots of build up to less than I expected and then quickly tying some items together.

It is interesting to compare Horace with Spencer of Bird Lake Moon in that neither one wants to know something of which they could find an answer.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed this book. I was surprised by a young Avi fan last week who said he did not like it. Of course, when I asked him what he did not like about the book, he just replied, "I dunno, just didn't like it." Well, I love it! I was surprised about the ending, I didn't expect to get all that information. I really liked the suspense of the story though, and the tidbits about old time photography. This book really transports the reader.

marra said...

I expect to pass this one out a lot now that Halloween is just around the corner! Maybe because of the sudden ending, or because I never felt truly connected to the characters (or maybe because I read it all in one sitting!) this book felt much more like a short story.

It wasn't my favorite Avi title. But the cover is cool!

Heather said...

Sadly, I read this after finishing Chains (which is fabulous) and so I was quite disappointed.

I didn't feel connected to the setting, the characters and I couldn't even get into the ghost aspect of it. Shrug.

Jocelyn said...

As the granddaughter of a photographer who I never got to meet, this one was very special for me. And I'm not a huge Avi fan or historical fiction fan, but this one really captured and held my interest.

kmg365 said...

Three parts "history of photography for young people", and one part not-very-scary ghost story. I was never caught up in the story, as Horace was such a matter-of-fact kid. I think it would have been more interesting from Peg's POV.

hathead said...

I found this book really creepy, SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER especially when Horace sees that the ghost is driving the carriage. One of Avi's better books (although I know that I am not supposed to use comparisons to the author's other works to determine worthiness).

Jen said...

I did like this book a lot. I had some issues with it, though. Unless a child has or is going to study the frameworks for why Horace believed what he did initially, or who those people were who were sprinkled in the front of the book, the whole thing will have much less significance. I'm sure that's true for all historical fiction, but I found that especially noticeable in this one.

Also, I found Eleanora's flat character (no pun intended) to be a shortchange to her, and a shortcoming of the book. I know we found out more about her than just the evil, but it could have been more interesting had she been fighting for/with anything besides pure revenge.

Lastly, I thought the end summed itself up far too neatly and quickly. I am a fan of Avi, and I did enjoy this quick read, but it was working from the thrills perspective mostly, and that just doesn't grab me nearly as much. Meh.

Anonymous said...

Jamie at TUFW: I found this book to be creepy and interesting. Perfect for an older elementary child. I loved AVI's style of writing in this book.