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The Watcher in the Shadows (Inquisitor's Apprentice) Hardcover – May 28, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-7–Imagine a turn-of-the-20th-century New York in which the Irish, Italian, and Jewish mob bosses are fighting to retain power, and the wealthy, in particular J. P. Morgaunt, are trying to rule the city with magical power. The police inquisitors use magic to catch criminals, and Morgaunt has used it to take a soul to create an evil twin, a dybbuk, of Sacha Kessler, the 13-year-old boy from the Jewish tenements who has been chosen to be an inquisitor's apprentice. The story picks up shortly after The Inquisitor's Apprentice (Houghton Harcourt, 2011) ended, with the dybbuk still causing turmoil and death. Inquisitor Wolff, Sacha's mentor, is investigating a murder of a famous klezmer player for which a boy is being framed at the same time that Sacha's sister and her fellow members of the IWW are going on strike at the Pentacle Shirtwaist Factory. Sacha is faced with the reality that his wealthy fellow apprentice Lily Astral might actually be his friend, that his mother has been drawn into Morgaunt's evil plan, and that his grandfather, the revered Rabbi Kessler, has sacrificed himself to Sacha's dybbuk. Faced with loss and heartache, Sacha must decide if he wants to learn to practice his gift for deep magic or remain faithful to his religion and the wishes of his grandfather. Moriarty has once again fashioned a complex mystery and adventure that is as twisted and unexpected as the stairways and rooms of the tenement buildings he so adeptly describes. Youngsters will want to read the first book before delving into this one. Many readers will be hoping for at least another volume to discover if good magic can overcome the evil seeping out of the ever-changing mansion of J.P. Morgaunt.–Clare A. Dombrowski, Amesbury Public Library, MAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The second book in the Inquisitor’s Apprentice series picks up where the first left off. And where’s that? New York City—mostly the Lower East Side—at the turn of the last century. Ah, but this New York is overflowing with magic. Spells are cast, kabbalists reign, and dybbuks roam. Thirteen-year-old Sacha lives in a tenement with his parents; his rabbi grandfather, a mage of some repute; and his sister Bekah, a seamstress at the Pentacle Shirtwaist Factory, owned by the treacherous J. P. Morgaunt. Sacha may be only a young teen, but he is apprenticed to Inspector Wolf of the Inquisitor’s unit of the NYPD—those tasked with investigating magical crime. The rather convoluted plot involves the murder of the Klezmer King (fried in his electric tuxedo) and a strike at the shirtwaist factory. Oh, and the dybbuk Sacha set free last time out reappears with dire consequences. But although this is full of story, what captivates is the world that Moriarty has created, one where magic is woven into its very fabric. That its many practitioners all have their own ways of casting spells is part of what makes these characters so memorable. But from crime lords to rebbes, it is their own particular wisdom that deepens the nonstop action. A touch of Chabon, a hiss of steampunk, and a blast of originality. Grades 6-10. --Ilene Cooper
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 890L (What's this?)
  • Series: Inquisitor's Apprentice
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (May 28, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547466323
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547466323
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,067,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Author of SPIN STATE, SPIN CONTROL, GHOST SPIN, and THE INQUISITOR'S APPRENTICE. Winner of the 2006 Philip K. Dick Award. Book reviewer for the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Owner of the most patient dog in the multiverse.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
5 star
38%
4 star
47%
3 star
16%
2 star
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See all 32 customer reviews
This is one of those rare cases where you really need to read the first book in the series, The Inquisitor's Apprentice.
LookinG for Trouble
This book is *very* age appropriate for tweens and young teens, with an engaging storyline, some PG romance, humour, and a wealth of opportunities to learn!
Michael A. Behr
It's industrial turn of the century 1900's New York and what's amazing about it is that Christ Moriarty has done an excellent job of bringing it to life.
John B. Goode

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Loralee Petersen VINE VOICE on April 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Chris Moriarty has maintained the high quality storytelling that made The Inquisitor's apprentice such a great book in her follow-up, The Watcher in the Shadows. The tension is ratcheted up in the sequel and a number of loose ends are left to dangle, ensuring that at least one more installment is to come.

Although a reader would be able to follow he plot of this book without having read The Inquisitor's Apprentice, he or she won't be as invested in the characters and their problems, so I highly recommend reading the books in order.

The books take place in an alternate New York at the turn of the twentieth century. Many things are the same - the tenements filled with groups of immigrants, the controlling robber barons, the harsh working conditions of the factories and the privileged lives of the rich. But in this New York magic is possible and a division of the police, the Inquisitors, is devoted to solving magical crimes.

Sacha Kessler is a thirteen year old boy from a Jewish family who works as an apprentice for Inquisitor Wolf, along with fellow apprentice Lily Astral. Author Chris Moriarty has stated that she wrote this book for her son, a fantasy fan, who couldn't find a book in this genre with a hero that shared his Jewish heritage. I am not Jewish, but I am very glad that Moriarty chose to write these books. Fantasy is a genre that should, in my opinion, have more diversity and less repetition in it than any other. But sadly, it is as filled with clichés as romance or mystery novels.

In this series Moriarty not only spins a fresh, original fantasy but does it really, really well. The setting is rich, diverse and fascinating. The characters are well rounded people that we can truly care about.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John B. Goode TOP 100 REVIEWER on June 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The thing that I find most amazing about this book is the setting. It's industrial turn of the century 1900's New York and what's amazing about it is that Christ Moriarty has done an excellent job of bringing it to life. Old New York is so well done that I can imagine walking down the foggy, smoggy and dirty streets. The same with the people and the action. In fact, he's done such a great job that the illustrations seem a let down (sorry!) compared to the images in my head from the text.

I won't rehash the plot as you can read it on the webpage, but it's book 2 in a series and this time Sacha Kessler looks for the murderer of an electrocuted stage performer. The reason why I didn't give this a higher score was because though I felt that the author put a lot of work and detail into his setting I thought the flow of the story was not smooth and the speech of the characters was stilted and somewhat unnatural. Now if the flow of the story and the speech of the characters as good as the setting, we'd have a real winner here. I give this book 7/10 which in Amazon's 5 star system equates to 4 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Erin O'Riordan VINE VOICE on May 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I love this alternative history world Chris Moriarty has created, a version of early 1900s New York City where magic is commonplace, but under the control of the police department's Inquisitor division. It's a world where tenement-dwellers clash with upper-crust families of ultrarich wizards, where Old World traditions collide with Industrial Age realities. In this second installation, 13-year-old apprentice Sacha Kessler doesn't simply follow Inquisitor Max Wolf on the investigation of a mysterious death in full view of a packed theater. Sacha has some very adult decisions to make, including how much to trust Wolf and whether or not he wants to learn magic. Sacha's supernatural doppelganger is still on the loose, and the danger has never been greater. Fans of The Invention of Hugo Cabret should appreciate this sophisticated magical tale.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Neal Reynolds VINE VOICE on May 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
New York City circa 1900 as it never was...This is an alternative universe where magic can be learned. This is a sequel...it stands alone. I haven't read the first and this one flows easily with necessary information from the first novel well placed as background.

This book rests on the borderline between children's and young adult fiction. It is dark and violent for younger children, but should be okay for age ten on up. The female characters are important enough to make this suitable for girls as well as boys.

It also rests between the mystery and paranormal genres. However one classifies it, it is good adventurous and imaginary reading, but as I warned, decidedly on the dark side. Highly recommended for age ten through adulthood.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susan Errami on July 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It's basically a Jewish Harry Potter but well written. I like the old New York street references the most. A quick, fun, quirky read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Reading It All VINE VOICE on July 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is everything that a tween or teen reader is looking for today...it has just a touch of Steampunk and lots of Adventure.

That being said I really didn't expect to like it (not a big fan of Alternate Worlds) but it won me over! I didn't read Book One in the series, The Inquisitor's Apprentice so I truly thought it might be a difficult read but the characters and story sucked me in!

The Watcher in the Shadows (Inquisitor's Apprentice) has something for everyone and boys will love it as much as the girls...some of the dialog is a little disjointed, though that could be a period issue.

I would recommend this series to boys and girls from 12 up (10 if they are good readers).
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