From School Library Journal
Grade 6-9-All his life, Devon March, 14, has known he has special talents and that the monsters under the bed and in the closet are real. On his deathbed, his father confesses that Devon is adopted and must seek his identity and future. He is sent to live at Ravenscliff, a seaside estate with secrets of its own, under the guardianship of Mrs. Amanda Muir Crandall. He learns that he is a sorcerer in the Order of the Nightwing, an order that uses mysticism and magic to guard Hellholes and defend against the evil spirits of the world. He is attracted to Cecily Crandall, a likable teen, thus lending a touch of romance to the story. Possessed by an evil ancestor, Cecily's younger cousin, Alexander Muir, almost overshadows Devon's role as protagonist and often provides the plot twists that move the story along. This first book in a new series is a dark, moody, and sometimes frightening tale with many questions and few answers. If some of the important information is too long in coming, readers will lose interest.Molly S. Kinney, Office of Public Library Services, Atlanta, GA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 7-10. Although published by an adult press, the first volume in the Ravenscliff series is clearly better suited to younger readers: the main characters are in high school; the horror is fairly tame in comparison with the usual gory adult fare; and there's nothing subtle about the good-versus-evil goings-on. But don't mistake this for a "new" Harry Potter despite some similarities (adopted boy learns to tame inherited magical powers, seeks parents, finds friends, and fights horrible demon who wishes to return from banishment). It lacks both the depth and the cleverness of Rowling's stories, drawing most of its horrific elements straight from such readily identifiable sources as The Wizard of Oz
("Just click your heels, and you will go where you want to go"), Superman
, and Buffy, the Vampire Slayer
(of course, without the wicked sex). Still, horror fiction is in short supply for this age group, and although this isn't great, the familiar allusions and melodramatic action (and occasional satire) will help sell it, as will the ongoing mystery about the future and past of a teenage hero who needs only to tell himself "I'm stronger than they are" to make things happen. For collections where horror fiction is in demand. REVWRCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved