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Mistle Child (The Undertaken Trilogy) Paperback – February 25, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up-Silas Umber is growing into his role as Undertaker of Lichport after the death of his father. When he is summoned to Arvale, the ancestral home of the Umbers, he learns that he has greater powers than he knew about as he participates in the rite of Door Doom, which gives him the ability to bind the dead in judgment. Although excited by these powers, Silas experiences the downside as he feels tasked to right an ancient wrong, perhaps at the expense of his own life. Along the way, he makes a friend, a young man like himself, who fled Lichport under shameful circumstances. Lars, like Silas, left a love behind. When the truth of Lars's past is revealed, Silas must make a difficult choice. Dark and gothic, with rich and descriptive language, Mistle Child draws readers in, regardless of whether or not they have read the first book. Teens who enjoy horror stories will relish this dark, ghostly tale.-Kathy Kirchoefer, Henderson County Public Library, NCα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"Fine bedtime fare for readers looking to cut down on their sleep." (Kirkus Reviews)

"Dark and gothic, with rich and descriptive language, Mistle Child draws readers in, regardless of whether or not they have read the first book. Teens who enjoy horror stories will relish this dark, ghostly tale." (School Library Journal)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: The Undertaken Trilogy (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (February 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416991182
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416991182
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,009,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Please visit Ari Berk on the web at: www.ariberk.com

Ari Berk is an award-winning writer, folklorist, poet, visual artist, and scholar of literature, iconography, and comparative myth. Deeply dedicated to interdisciplinary writing, teaching, and research, Dr. Berk holds degrees in Ancient History (B.A.), American Indian Studies (M.A.), and Comparative Literature and Culture (Ph.D.). The former student of Pulitzer Prize-winning writer N. Scott Momaday, he has studied at Oxford and traveled widely, making friends in many parts of the world.

By day, he is professor of English at Central Michigan University, teaching courses in mythology, folklore, American Indian studies, and medieval literature, as well as sitting on the board of directors of the Mythic Imagination Institute.

But by night, locked away within a high tower, Ari works tirelessly on his numerous writing projects surrounded by thousands of books and curious artifacts of ages past. To date, he has written the following books which you are most welcome to investigate further:

DEATH WATCH [Book one of The Undertaken Trilogy]

They say the dead should rest in peace. Not all the dead agree.

One night, Silas Umber's father Amos never comes home from work. Devastated, Silas struggles to understand what could make an ordinary mortician disappear from the face of the earth. But he's about to learn that Amos was no mere mortician: he was the Undertaker of Lichport, charged with bringing The Peace to the dead trapped in the Shadowlands and Mist Homes, those states of limbo binding spirits to earth. With Amos gone, Silas and his mother have no choice but to return to Lichport, the crumbling seaside town and necropolis where they all were born, and move in with Amos's brother, Charles, the town's former funeral photographer.

Even while Silas eagerly explores his father's town and its many abandoned streets and overgrown cemeteries, he grows increasingly wary of his uncle. There is something not quite right going on in Charles Umber's ornate, museum-like house--something, Silas is sure, that is connected to his father's disappearance. Determined to find his father, Silas's search leads him to his father's old office, where he comes across a powerful artifact: the Death Watch, a four hundred year old Hadean clock that allows the owner to see the dead.

With the Death Watch in hand, Silas begins to unearth Lichport's secret history--and discovers that he has inadvertently taken on his father's mantle as Lichport's Undertaker. Now, Silas must embark on a dangerous path into the Shadowlands to embrace his destiny and discover the truth about his father, no matter the cost.

***

THE SECRET HISTORIES(tm) Series (Templar UK/Candlewick US) - For thousands of years The Order of the Golden Quills have chronicled and collected knowledge and wisdom of The Huldur or Secret Folk, those races spoken of in legend, about whom little is now known. The Secret Histories(tm) books reveal the wonders and mysteries in the landscapes around us all the time -- the places whose stories are forgotten, or are still waiting to be discovered -- the places where Secret Folk still reside, waiting to shake hands with us again. The first two volumes are:
---THE SECRET HISTORY OF GIANTS
The Order of the Golden Quills presents its first volume of study on the mighty Giants. In this tome we discover the life of these titans and the work they have undertaken to shape our world. Explore their secrets, witness their fun... and their fury, and learn where to seek out the noble Great Folk... for they might be nearer than you think.
**Winner if the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) 2009 Notable Award.
**Winner of the Parent's Choice 2008 Recommended Award
---THE SECRET HISTORY OF MERMAIDS AND CREATURES OF THE DEEP
A fascinating compendium investigating the undersea world of the merfolk exploring: oceanic magic, merfolk language and customs, underwater villages, historical evidence of merfolk and their unfortunate capture, maps of the oceanic zones and their various inhabitants, perilous creatures of the sea and how to avoid them, and remarkable revelations about merfolk/human relations.

***

COYOTE SPEAKS - WONDERS OF THE NATIVE AMERICAN WORLD (Abrams, 2008) - Myths, legends and wonder tales from the ancient Native American world to the present. Beautifully illustrated with masterworks of Native American art. Written with Carolyn Dunn (Creek/Cherokee).

***

HOW TO BE A VIKING (Templar UK 2008) -- The account of Ari the Learned, a 12th century Icelandic scholar, written for young and aspiring Vikings to help them navigate the perils and adventures of the Norse world. Lessons include translating and reading runes, skaldic speaking, calendar customs, and safely traversing the nine worlds while avoiding trolls, dragons, and giants!

***

LADY COTTINGTON'S PRESSED FAIRY LETTERS (Abrams 2005) - The recently discovered book of Lady Angelica Cottington's fairy correspondence. Includes letters from such worthies as J.M. Barrie, Rasputin, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, William Shakespeare, Wendy Darling, Oscar Wilde, Annie Oakley and others. Illustrated by Brian Froud.

***

GOBLINS! (Abrams 2004) - Berk and Froud once again join forces, lifting the moldy latch and opening the door to the world of GOBLINS! Containing Messrs. Berk and Froud's curious experiments and first hand knowledge, this is the single greatest source of information regarding the Goblins' horrible habits, awful art, sticky tricks, bizarre customs, and crude culture (illustrated by Brian Froud).

***

THE RUNES OF ELFLAND (Abrams 2003) - A single word can be a world and every letter a land. The word "rune," long ago, could be a letter, a word, an epic, or a spell. Through this book's charms (poems), tellings (stories), gifts (ponderings), and lavish illustrations (by Brian Froud) we learn that the right words can still open a door into Elfland, into wonder, and that storied landscapes are all around us, even now, waiting to be discovered.



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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Heather Leanne Morse on March 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Characters:
Silas ~ Main character. In the last book he was looking for his lost father. This time around, Silas is trying to remember something he's forgotten (with the help of some friends, unbeknownst to him). He is also on a mission to answer the call of Arvale, the ancestral Umber family home that exists both in our world, and in others.
Lars Umber ~ Silas's guide through Arvale, only other living person in Arvale that Silas has come across. Lars is keeping secrets of his own though, and repeatedly states that he cannot return to Lichport.
Beatrice ~ Ghost in millpond, Silas's love interest
Jonas Umber ~ Ancestor of Silas, helps him become Janus
Maud Umber ~ Ancestor of Silas, helps him become Janus, the one who called him to Arvale in the first place, she is one of the older spirits of the house.
Ottoline ~ Silas's mysterious cousin, living at the "Summer House" within the grounds gates of Arvale with the other cousins. It's a good thing Silas never got around to dining with them.
Mother Peale ~ An elderly woman, and one of the Narrows Folk (the Narrows being the part of town filled with people of the sea) Mother Peale is an old friend of Silace's father and wise in the ways of those who have remained to wander the streets of this haunted town.
Mrs. Bowe ~ A close friend of Amos Umber, Mrs. Bowe is a source of knowledge and support for Silas as he tries to walk in his father's footsteps. She lives in a house connected to Silas's, and in this book, she and Silas have had a falling out, although she is still trying to protect him.
Dolores Umber ~ Silas's mother, and much more likeable in this book than the last. For being in the book so very little, she plays a pivotal role twice.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Debbi Henderson on March 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is how you do 'deathy' without the gore. This is how you do creepy while still being touching and 'down to earth'. For those of you who fondly remember Bradbury's HALLOWEEN TREE, this is your new author!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Como on May 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ari Berk has another win! This second book in The Undertaken trilogy ( the third is still to come ) is very well written, with so many engaging characters. A quick read, and one that you'll be thinking about long after the last page is turned.
Because of The Undertaken, I have made it a point to "Remember " my kin. To consciously recall vignettes from times long past - and Thank Them for goodness done, and for just being who they were. I think I'm ( and They ) the better for it. Thank You for these thought provoking books, Mr Berk.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sandra Snow on March 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Berk is a consummate storyteller, knowing how to keep readers breathless as they read. This book and the first in his trilogy are "must reads" for anyone who loves fantasy, especially Gothic fantasy. I can't wait for the third volume of this trilogy to be released. It is dark and spooky and all things readers of this type of fantasy like to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Woodstock68 on January 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Another fascinating installment in this beautifully written and wonderfully original series. The Mistle Child focuses less on Silas's duties as an Undertaker and more on his role as Janus. Also, this time most of the book takes place outside of Lichport in Arvale. This book was well placed and had plenty of plot twists to hold the readers interest. I'm anxiously awaiting the final book in the trilogy because of the shocking ending in book two. Excellent read! 4 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Hines on March 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Silas is great . so far the series is HIGHLY interesting. cant wait for the next book to come out.
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