Review: Alex Van Helsing: Voice of the Undead
description from amazon - Now that Alex is in the know about the deadly vampires that live–and hunt–clustered around his boarding school, everything is different. Putting his talents to use, Alex is training with the Polidorium to become a vampire hunter, just like his Van Helsing ancestors. Sure, he’s only fourteen, but c’mon, this runs in his blood. Meanwhile, Alex’s arch-nemesis Elle, a vampire whose youthful appearance and blond hair disguise a vengeful rage, is out to get him before a powerful leader called “Ultravox” arrives on the scene. Ultravox specializes in assassinations, but who is he targeting? Dodging Elle’s attacks, Alex is on a mission to uncover Ultravox’s deadly plan before his friends and his school become collateral damage. There’s no time to report back; innocent lives hang in the balance, and it’s up to Alex to act now–or else.
my take: Alex Van Helsing returns with a book full of action, villianous vampires, and budding teen romance! We enjoyed the first book in this series (see Vampire Rising review here) and I enjoyed this second book even more.
Alex has sharp reflexes, but not sharp enough when he accidentally burns down his school fending off a creature in the dorms. The Glenarvon boys temporarily move into the girl’s school across the lake, LaLaurie, where their friend Minhi attends school. We meet Minhi’s roommate Vienna, who constantly wears a green scarf around her neck (a nod to that classic scary folktale, The Green Ribbon). Paul and Sid return as Alex’s friends and sidekicks, as well as the bullies Bill and Stephen Merrill – who take a decided turn for the worse.
Sangster is back in the mentor role but there’s not a lot of training in this book – Alex’s special talent is the big gun that the Polidorium wants to use to find Ultravox, and Sangster provides our exposition.
Minhi is sort of? kind of? dating Paul, and Alex is not bothered by that – really, no big deal. Ok, maybe a little deal. Vienna is nice, and she wants Alex to escort her to the upcoming ball, but – drat! A text from the Polidorium! Alex’s inner angst with girls is believable, but doesn’t take center stage in this story. He’s interested, but too busy fighting vampires to really focus on girls. For now.
Henderson keeps the story moving with lots of action – not to mention trains, helecopters, motorcycles, and yachts! Yes, an exotic, European setting is pretty cool too, along with an international cast and a villain with a convoluted, evil plan makes Alex Van Helsing my pick for James Bond Jr. I think we’ve said it before, but this is a great series for boys.
I have to mention one of my favorite lines – when Alex asks “Who is Ultravox?”, Sangster said, “Well, for one thing it’s the name of a New Wave band.” “What’s New Wave?” Ahhh, Sangster – your young padawan needs some musical instruction. That, or vampires need to find names that don’t make the adults reading hum “Vienna” in their heads. Oh, wait, isn’t that the girl’s name with the green scarf? Hmmmm… Oh, Jason, you punny man.
I give this book 3.5 STACKS!
See you in the STACKS,
Nancy – who actually prefers “Reap the Wild Wind” to “Vienna”