07 March 2011

In the Forests of the Night by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

I was born to the name of Rachel Weatere in the year 1684, more than three hundred years ago.

The one who changed me named me Risika, and Risika I become, though I never asked what it meant. I continue to call myself Risika, even though I was transformed into what I am against my will.

By day, Risika sleeps in a shaded room in Concord, Massachusetts. By night, she hunts the streets of New York City. She is used to being alone.

But now someone is following Risika. Someone has left her a black rose, the same sort of rose that sealed her fate three hundred years ago.

Three hundred years ago Risika had a family—a brother and a father who loved her. Three hundred years ago she was human.

Now she is a vampire, a powerful one. And her past has come back to torment her.

This atmospheric, haunting tale marks the stunning debut of a promising fourteen-year-old novelist.



This book was recommended to me by a fellow classmate in my English class.

This is why I don’t read short books.  Given, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes has noteworthy talent when it comes to writing, especially at the age she wrote this particular story.  However, I’m the type of reader who likes good long, hardy books.  It took me all of two collective hours to read this book and I didn’t really get a lot out of it.  Risika’s character was well defined however and Aubrey was an effective creep.  But there was also a lot of telling and not enough showing

I will say this for Amelia Atwater-Rhodes: she does have a gift for dialogue.  I’ve read her Shapeshifter novels (Hawksong, Snakecharm, etc.) and the one thing that really brings her writing to life is her dialogue.  It sounds natural and it brings out just the right emotions, I think.

Due to the brevity of the depth, I had a hard time connecting with the main character.  I had a picture of the character in my head and a basic concept of her, but other than that, I wasn’t really sucked in.  (Pun intended.)  I couldn’t really cheer for her during her triumphs or sympathize when she suffered a loss.

The fight scenes were awesome, though.  I loved those, especially the big one at the end.  Fantastically written.  I absolutely loved it.

I like the reference to William Blake’s poem “Tiger”.  It’s a haunting poem and it’s my favorite beside “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe.  If you’ve never read “Tiger” by William Blake, the title of this book comes from the second line:
The Tiger
William Blake
(1757-1827)

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eyes
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder and what art
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand and what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? What dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And water'd heaven with their tears,
Did He smile His work to see?
Did He who made the lamb make thee?

Tiger, tiger, burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

I’ve seen enough of Amelia Atwater-Rhodes’ work to appreciate her brilliant imagination.  I loved her Shapeshifter books (especially Hawksong) and if you’re looking for a brief stint into a well developed world and good characters and plot, definitely pick up one of her books.


Book Info:
  • pages – mass market paperback, 147
  • published – originally 1999
  • publisher – Laurel Leaf
  • genre – urban fantasy
  • received via – school library
  • rating – 3/5
  • series: Den of Shadows -
    • In the Forests of the Night
    • Demon in my View
    • Shattered Mirror
    • Midnight Predator