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Alex Van Helsing: Vampire Rising Hardcover – May 4, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Alex Van Helsing Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 6–10—Alex Van Helsing always believed he was a normal teen who just happened to possess a legendary last name. All that changes when he begins to experience strange sensations and is involved in the bizarre death of a student at Frayling Prep. His parents decide to send Alex to Switzerland in order to attend Glenarvon Academy near Lake Geneva. Alex's dreams of a new beginning are shattered when he is attacked by a vampire on his second day. He must now face the realization that his instincts about supernaturals have been right all along and that they do indeed exist. Mr. Sangster, Alex's teacher, reveals to him that the Van Helsings have always been an integral part of the Polidorium, a secret organization of vampire-hunters. The Polidorium is in Lake Geneva to find the Scholomance, a vampire stronghold under the leadership of an ancient vampire known as Icemaker. When the vampires take captive two of Alex's friends, the 14-year-old must take action. Henderson references Mary Shelley's Frankenstein to weave a great story line full of action, suspense, and adventure. The satisfying story captivates readers with a modern-day spin of James Bond meets Dracula. It has lots of bite that will have readers thirsting for more.—Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NY
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Trouble seems to follow Alex Van Helsing wherever he goes. First, the 14-year-old got kicked out of school for fighting. Then, after being transferred to Switzerland’s Glenarvon Academy, he slays what appears to be a vampire in the surrounding woods. And he swears none of it has anything to do with his famous vampire-hunter surname. Right. Soon Alex’s English teacher reveals that he is part of the Polidorium, a stealth quasi-military vampire-tracking organization with its eye on the Icemaker—a vampire clan lord who, incidentally, is actually the poet Lord Byron. It all has something to do with the backstory to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Alex’s Da Vinci Code–style digging for historical clues is the plot’s high point. If there’s a low point, it’s probably the action-movie assault on the Scholomance (“an MIT for vampires”), but even that is invigorated by likable teen heroes with believable interests (one loves vampire lore, the other manga). This first book in the Alex Van Helsing series seriously doesn’t suck. --Daniel Kraus
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Product Details

  • Series: Alex Van Helsing (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen; 1 edition (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061950998
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061950995
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,614,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By SciFiChick VINE VOICE on May 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Alex Van Helsing is only fourteen, but has already been kicked out of his previous school for fighting. And not long after arriving at Switzerland's Glenarvon Academy, he has made enemies of his roommates and is attacked by a vampire while walking alone near school grounds. Still, Alex has no clue he is a descendant of Bram Stoker's famous Van Helsing vampire slayer. After all, Alex's father has told him time and time again that there are no such things.

But there are such things. Henderson has created a fascinating world of legendary vampires with ties to classic literature, such as Stoker's Dracula, Shelley's Frankenstein and the poet Lord Byron. Alex is a curious and brave kid with a good heart. And young readers will like that his friends have such popular interests as vampires and manga. But the highlight for me was the vampire school Scholomance, which is a mysterious and creepy place full of deadly enemies without a conscience.

It's fresh and fun; and I was completely hooked from the start. A non-stop action and adventure fantasy for young adults, this new series doesn't disappoint. And the secret vampire hunting organization that gives the feeling of a young James Bond novel... with killer vampires. It's a fantastic vampire-slayer series debut for readers of all ages.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In his new book, "Alex Van Helsing, Vampire Rising," Jason Henderson has supplemented the existing world rather than creating a whole new one. Where a fairy land of pure imagination is often fun, it is not as relatable to the reader as what Jason Henderson has managed to accomplish. He has also created a tangible world that not only engages the reader, but will likely create a curiosity in his young readers about the very legitimate literary references that he makes. There is also plenty for the older reader. Like other recent Young Adult series involving shadow worlds that exist in parallel to the mundane, there are points of interest for older readers as well. This book and I trust this series has references that will appeal to people of all ages. It addresses, but does not dwell on the tribulations of living as an adolescent male. It's examination of bullying, testosterone based issues of pride, and other interpersonal relationships never feels contrived, but those issues are merely another part of the entire lives of the characters. I look forward to the following books in this series. Fun writing is rarely intelligent, and intelligent wring is not always fun; this story is both.
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Format: Hardcover
Jason Henderson evidently has a love affair going on with Dracula and Frankenstein, two of the most wellknown horror mythos in literature and the history of horror. In the past, he wrote a comic series with a modern-day Van Helsing fighting against the lord of Vampires, Dracula. The series was called Sword of Dracula.

Now he's penning a new Alex Van Helsing series for young readers, and it starts off with a bang in Vampire Rising. Admittedly, the Van Helsing name is what initially drew me in. When you think of vampire hunters, Van Helsing has gotta be near the top. Of course, the younger generation is going to think of Buffy first.

But they're also going to think of Alex Rider, the 14 year old 007 created by Anthony Horrowitz that has revitalized the spy genre for young readers. Rider and Van Helsing both have techware that would make any red-blooded young male sit up and take notes.

Interestingly enough, Henderson not only ties the vampire legend to Dracula, but also to Frankenstein, and he's set the series near Lake Geneva, where Mary Shelley first wrote the famous short story that would later become a book that will live on in the annals of horror - oh yeah, literature too.

The literary history captivated me. The story of that weekend where Mary Shelley (then 18 years old), Lord Byron, John Polidori, and Percy Shelley has been mined by several writers, but this is a new twist. The two literary histories, vampirism and Frankenstein, are inextricably bound in this book, and it looks like that's going to be a staple of the series.

Young male readers are going to be entranced by the cornucopia of action Henderson throws into the story.
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Format: Hardcover
I picked up Alex Van Helsing because it looked like it had something different. I was right. Henderson's teenage hero doesn't even know that he comes from a long line of heroes--after all, "Van Helsing" is just a name, right?

Of course it's not "just a name," and Alex is soon dealing with villains that leave school bullies in the dust. What raises this book above many other YA hero books is the depth of the characters. Alex's friends are real, three-dimensional kids--not stock sidekicks like "geek" or "jock" or "airhead." The adults aren't buffoons or mustache-twirling community theater characters--they're resourceful humans who know how to use their brains. And the vampires live up to the narcissistic amoral mythos begun by Polidori and Stoker.

Whether or not you know vampire fact and fiction from the last few centuries, this book won't disappoint. It takes the vampire and hunter lore and makes it believable for today. I was rooting for Alex before the end of the first chapter. Henderson's imagery and dialogue make the story zip along. He ties up the loose ends of the plot (hooray!) yet gives just enough hints to make me wish the sequel was available RIGHT NOW. Highly recommended.
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