Amelia Atwater-Rhodes wrote her first novel when she was 13 years old. You can visit her online at www.ameliaatwaterrhodes.com. She lives in Massachusetts.
First-novelist Atwater-Rhodes writes astonishingly wellÄconsidering that she completed the manuscript for this vampire novel when she was only 13 years old (she's now 15). Even compared with many adult authors, she's skillful at building atmosphere, insightful in creating characters and imaginative in varying and expanding on vampire lore. The sophisticated structure flashes between a 300-year-old vampire named Risika and her previous, human existence as one Rachel Weatere. The weaknesses in this venture, however, point to the author's youth. Risika's world-weary profundities have the ring of easy, adolescent cynicism (e.g., while visiting a favorite animal at a zoo, Risika says, "[Humans] even cage themselves, though their bars are made of society, not steel"). Characters wander in and out of the story; a climactic showdown between Risika and her archenemy depends more on telling than on showing; and an 11th-hour surprise, though neatly planted, strains the narrative logic. But with the popularity of books such as Annette Curtis Klause's The Silver Kiss and TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Charmed, this precocious debut will likely find fans. Ages 12-up. (June) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Gr 8 Up-Risika is a vampire of great strength and power, yet she hates and fears Aubrey, who was one of the vampires responsible for her transformation. The novel jumps between the present day, and 300 years ago when Risika was a mortal young woman named Rachel. While thinking that she is defending her twin brother from the evil beings, Rachel herself is taken and transformed into "one of them." Risika still remembers her former life and the morals she held as a human, yet has come to an understanding of her new life as a vampire and tries to find a balance between the two. She believes that Aubrey was responsible for the murder of her twin brother, and her need for vengeance is strong. But is it strong enough to defeat Aubrey? The story is well written and very descriptive, and has in-depth character development. Risika has passionate feelings, strengths, and weaknesses. Taking on the characteristics of a tiger, an animal she admires and respects, she finds the wherewithal to defeat her greatest enemy, self-doubt. This first novel by an author with great ability and promise is sure to be popular.-Kendra Nan Skellen, Gwinnett County Public Library, Lawrenceville, GA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.