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Rapacia: The Second Circle of Heck Hardcover – July 28, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–8—With her innocent and geeky younger brother Milton having been the first person ever to escape from Heck in the first book of this series, Marlo Fauster, a blue-haired, street-smart, 13-year-old shoplifter is punitively sent to the second circle of Heck, Rapacia. There, greedy dead kids are meant to endure suitable punishment by being torturously tantalized in Mallvana, a sprawling, shimmery showcase containing compelling consumer goodies they're doomed to achingly desire but never possess. As Marlo tries to figure out how to play Heck's ambitious administrators against one another and maximize her position in this underage underworld, Milton, back on the Earth's surface and uncomfortably undead, is trying to figure out how to, as his body and soul degrade, right himself so he can return to Heck to rejoin—and possibly save—his sister. Complete with a touching and instructive ending, this book is the second cornucopia of corny humor and creative characters in a series that seems destined to, Dante-style, drag readers through all nine levels of a hilariously imagined Heck. If so, librarians and parents might want to go along for this boisterous ride over the River Styx and share this series aloud as it unfolds; a good chunk of Basye's witty allusions reference 20th-century pop culture and are bound to tickle adult funny bones even more than they do those of middle-level readers.—Jeffrey Hastings, Highlander Way Middle School, Howell, MI
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''Complete with a touching and instructive ending, this book is the second cornucopia of corny humor and creative characters in a series that seems destined to, Dante-style, drag readers through all nine levels of a hilariously imagined Heck.'' --School Library Journal

''Basye's second installment in this planned monumental series is as chock-full of wordplay, clever allusions and puns as the first, and readers who delight in such extravagant humor will find it a heck of a good story.'' --Kirkus Reviews --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 920L (What's this?)
  • Series: Heck (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (July 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 037584077X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375840777
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #387,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

The idea for Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go came to me where most of my ideas come from: that area just behind the eyes and somewhere, approximately, between the ears. Of course, every story needs what is commonly referred to as a protagonist. That is, a hero, or-at the very least-someone whom the reader can relate to in some way while serving as a guide through a host of unpleasant, fantastical circumstances. Often, the protagonist mirrors the author, not for any significant reason other than it's much easier for the author (fewer things to make up) while giving him/her the perfect excuse to write about himself/herself. Ever the overachiever, I decided to have two protagonists-hardly a "novel" idea-but it allowed me to write through my dual selves-the ever cautious, perpetually in-his-head Milton, and the tart, impulse-control-challenged Marlo.

Preadolescence can feel like an eternity when you're in it, but you actually get through it fairly unscathed, though your body and voice may soon be rendered unrecognizable. This complete freakishness is normal. So let laughter and perseverance be your best and most trusted bodyguards, providing loyal service without even demanding your lunch money in return.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
When we first met siblings Marlo and Milton Fauster in HECK: WHERE THE BAD KIDS GO, they had been shipped off to Heck after dying in a marshmallow bear explosion. Stuck in the first level of Heck, Limbo, they matched wits with the principal of darkness, Bea "Elsa" Bubb, and managed not to freak out over itchy clothing, overcooked brussels sprouts, or the lack of numbers on clocks. Their planned escape ended unsuccessfully, with only Milton managing to return to "the stage" in a spirit-filled balloon made of sewn-together old clothing. Left behind, Marlo was shipped off to the second level of Heck, Rapacia, to await a whole new nightmare.

Back on the surface, Milton struggles to return to normalcy. His body and soul do not seem to be connecting as they used to. There is also the little problem of his sister being stuck down below without a way to reach her. Milton goes to extremes, and then some, to try to contact Marlo and stop the waves of fogginess that come without warning. His attempts include a little experiment with a bug zapper, his tongue, a bunch of mosquitoes, a bat, and his ferret Lucky. Milton also wanders into the Paranor Mall (more like a crazy man's collection of strange stuff) to look for ways to reach Marlo. It also doesn't help that Milton is also being stalked by the pesky candy striper Necia Alvarado, who seems to have an agenda all her own.

Meanwhile, Marlo is subject to a whole new level of authority in the vice-principal of Rapacia, a large metal rabbit named Grabbit. Speaking only in rhyming couplets, Grabbit oversees Marlo and the other girls as they experience a kleptomania nightmare. Only a few feet away, on the other side of an old grate, is Mallvana, the largest and most gratifying shopping center in the afterlife.
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Format: Hardcover
"Rapacia" is the second book in the "Circles of Heck" series, and in every way lives up to the expectations set up in the first book. But be warned that with this volume the plot thickens and becomes even more complex and convoluted, so you should definitely read the first volume "Heck" before you tackle "Rapacia."

At any rate, the tribulations of our heros, Marlo and Milton Fauster continue, but on separate paths for a while, as Milton escapes (sort of) back to the land of the living, and Marlo is punished for her attempted escape by being sent to a lower circle of Heck.

Milton finds himeself back on "the stage" (among the living) involved with a whacky religious cult (the "KOOKS"), a laid-back hippie almost-lawyer, and a crank paranormalist (curator of the Paranor Mall), as he mixes science and magic trying to find a way to resuce his sister and his friend Virgil from Heck.

Marlo, meanwhile, uncovers a secret plot within Heck, hatched by a mechanical rabbit (the Grabbit), aided and abetted by a bunch of airheaded cheerleader-types, which threatens to destroy not only Heck, but potentially all of creation. What none of the plotters realize is that Marlo has her own agenda...

As with the first book there are appearances by historical characters in odd places (frontier gambler Poker Alice, and pirate Anne Bonny, among others). There are also multiple levels of puns and pop-culture references (something for the kids; something else for the adults), and enough circles-within-circles to keep a Machiavellian happy.

I loved this book as much as the first. I've just acquired Volume three of the series, "Blimpo", and am looking forward to further following the involved strands of this very funny plot, wherever they may lead.

With "Rapacia" Dale E. Basye is rapidly establishing himself as the Terry Practhett of writers for young readers.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Oh, Heck, I first got into this series when Borders was selling off their stock. I actually read "Blimpo" first (that's the third circle) but then backtracked and went through them all in order. (Well, I skipped the third circle the second time, uh, yeah. You see what I mean.)

Dale E. Basye has a background in advertising and marketing and it shows. Frankly, I doubt that a lot of kids are going to get some of the cultural references, although they may know who some of the teachers are that populate Heck. Heck is one horrible middle school, in case you didn't know, which makes it a lot like every other middle school so far as I can tell. It certainly bears a resemblance to the Junior High I attended. In fact I used to read a lot of the authors who teach in Heck when I was there, I mean in Junior High, myself.

Rapacia refers to Marlo, in particular, and her tendency to shoplift. Not to give anything away, but we see her starting to mature a bit in the second circle. Of course, Bea "Elsa" Bubb is a nemesis for both Marlo and her brother Milton (family name "Fauster", which is one of those references I imagine a lot of readers won't immediately get.) Milton actually is alive at the beginning of this book, but I doubt that will happen again. He doesn't actually stay that way for too long, and the way he meets his end is just about as silly as being buried in exploded marshmallow at the beginning of the series. I won't tell you, don't worry.

The entire volume is funny and stuffed with references to just how people get manipulated into buying things maybe they don't even want. Pretty cool, really, and not a bad thing for any kid to learn. I've never met Mr. Basye, but I'd like to. I'd like to thank him for the entire Heck series, and in particular, for exposing Rapacia for the Heck it truly is!Rapacia: The Second Circle of Heck
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