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Token of Darkness (Den of Shadows) Hardcover – February 9, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up—Cooper Blake's life is in ruins. A summer car accident shattered his body and ruined his football career. He can't—or won't—talk to anyone about the pain, the nightmares, or his inability to sleep, and he is feeling disconnected from his family and friends. And then there is Samantha, the attractive, sassy girl who has stayed by his side since the accident. She has been his confidant and cheerleader, urging him to fight through the pain of physical therapy. There is only one small problem—Cooper is the only one who can see her. Samantha has no memories before he woke up in the hospital. She just knows that she wants a physical body. Cooper also sees dark shadows that seem to feed on the living. Samantha's desire for a body sends him to the occult section of the public library and a chance encounter with Brent. Brent takes Cooper to a sorcerer who may be able to help him deal with the shadows and discover Samantha's true nature. Cooper also runs into Delilah, the captain of his school's cheerleading squad and a budding sorceress in her own right. Together they seek answers to Cooper's visions and Samantha's origins, and in the process expose themselves to dangerous forces beyond their understanding. Atwater-Rhodes has crafted another chilling tale with enough plot twists to keep readers guessing. Some may find the ending a little too neat, but most readers will burn through this slim novel in one or two sittings.—Anthony C. Doyle, Livingston High School, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

After waking from a damaging car accident, Cooper finds himself haunted by a mysterious girl he can only assume is a ghost. Samantha doesn’t remember what happened, and Cooper doesn’t know why she is with him, but both are pursued by malevolent shadows that others cannot see. Estranged from his football friends because of his injuries and this new strangeness, Cooper relies on two acquaintances—Delilah, a witch; and Brent, a telepath—to help him figure out where Samantha came from. Helping Samantha, however, may be more dangerous than any of them realizes. Cooper’s appeal as the clueless, traumatized do-gooder and the mystery regarding Samantha’s origin keep the pages turning. There’s an unexpected twist to Samantha’s true nature and the reason for her link with Cooper, but the explanation is rushed and the resolution not particularly convincing. Fans of Atwater-Rhodes’ paranormal teens will enjoy this tale of elemental powers and body swapping, but others may wish for more follow-through. Grades 6-10. --Krista Hutley
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 900L (What's this?)
  • Series: Den of Shadows
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press (February 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385737505
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385737500
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,522,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Amelia Atwater-Rhodes wrote her first novel, In the Forests of the Night, when she was 13 years old. Other books in the Den of Shadows series are Demon in My View, Shattered Mirror, Midnight Predator, all ALA Quick Picks for Young Adults. She has also published the five-volume series The Kiesha'ra: Hawksong, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year and VOYA Best Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror List Selection; Snakecharm; Falcondance; Wolfcry; and Wyvernhail. Visit her online at www.ameliaatwaterrhodes.com.

Customer Reviews

If you've been reading Atwater-Rhodes, you'll probably like this book.
ChibiNeko
I never felt like the reader really got to know Cooper, the main character---which is a shame because he seemed like a very likeable fellow.
octobercountry
A good effort from a great author, but I believe it could have been more.
Max3

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Very Merry Shakespeare on February 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
When an author begins by using or quoting The Raven, (my favorite), then I automatically know I'm in for a wild ride.

Cooper Blake is a young man who is beginning his senior year of high school. He's had an absolutely horrible time trying to get back on his feet after a near-fatal car accident that almost left him dead and buried. When he wakes up in the hospital room, Coop not only has to struggle to try and heal his body and mind, he also has to deal with the very real fact that a ghost named Samantha has materialized by his side. In fact, Samantha is a big part of why Coop is still alive. She sat by his side in the hospital room every day, being his friend, and telling him that he could overcome any amount of pain no matter what. She did everything within her power to keep him alive and support him through the darkest time of his life. Not only is Coop grateful to Samantha for that, but having an invisible friend is also beneficial during, say...a quiz, where she can "pop" around the room and retrieve the correct answers for him.

Now that Coop has somewhat recovered, there's a part of him that wants to help Samantha. You see, Samantha is tired of being a spirit; she believes that there must be a way to "create" a body for her - perhaps, out of clay - so that she can be human again. Trouble is, Samantha has no idea who she was before she went to the "other side." She has no memory of what happened to cause her death, only the fact that she wants more than anything to be in a live body.

Going to the library, trying to investigate a way to help Samantha get her dream, Coop runs into a young man by the name of Brent in the paranormal section. Not only is Brent interested in the same strange subjects as Coop, but he also seems to be a little "odd" himself.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By BookWhisperer on March 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is one of several books that I have read by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, and she never fails to produce very interesting stories. I really enjoy an author that is capable of leading the reader through a story, and still surprise them with an unexpected ending. Token of Darkness includes four key characters that were all equally likeable. This book was 197 pages of non stop action; that will surprise you when you find yourself at the last page.

The only downfall I find to this author is her books are very quick reads without anything exceptional. I find myself finishing the story, and while I have enjoyed I have nothing that jumps out at me and holds in interest past the ending. This is your perfect book if you enjoy simple and quick reading.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By small review on May 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Ever since his car accident, Cooper has seen things he shouldn't see. Specifically, ghostly Samantha, a colorful, annoyingly spunky girl with amnesia, and creatures that randomly latch onto people in ways that look scary but don't actually seem to affect anything. The story follows Cooper as he tries to solve the mystery of who and what Samantha is and why Cooper can suddenly see her. Along for the ride are former couple, paranormally-endowed, and of questionable motives Brent and Delilah. Add in Cooper's post-accident anxiety uselessly peppered throughout and the story is complete.

Years ago Amelia Atwater-Rhodes was a decent author. She wasn't stellar, and no one would dream of calling her characters and storylines original, but she stuck to the basics and they worked. Now it seems she's constantly trying to expand her horizons, and it just doesn't work. Her book right before this one (Persistence of Memory) was a muddled mess of undergraduate psych major trying to add character depth by taking a cue from psychological case studies. The paranormal aspects were equally muddy and presented in a haphazard thrown together manner that just reeked of the author trying way too hard to write in a more complex and higher level than her previous books. She failed, badly. I was hoping she'd have learned her mistake, gotten the psych major newness out of her system and would return to what she does best with formulaic but solid paranormal fiction.

My hopes were not fulfilled. The much hyped Token of Darkness reads like an amateurish mash-up. Where the author was probably trying for character depth with damaged backgrounds (oh no, my mommy takes pills and that makes me sad!) and "quirky" traits (look, I'm spunky, I have multi-colored hair! Ooh, I'm bad, I do dangerous things for power!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on June 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This eerie paranormal fantasy from Amelia Atwater-Rhodes is about the strange and startling experiences of Cooper Blake. Cooper is a high school athlete who has just awakened from a near-fatal injury, only to discover that he's being haunted by a female ghost. He had been in a coma after a car accident that resulted in the death of two people, and by all rights, he should have died with them. Miraculously, he managed to cling to life (or was he saved by someone?). It's a mystery that he survived at all. Cooper remembers little about it and awakens to his broken body.

Cooper's life has since become a kind of hazy dream. His doctors have warned that he won't return to football again and that some of his injuries will be permanent. But Cooper is now seeing things that sane people just don't see, leading to the question of whether or not he has totally lost his grip on reality. He awakens to a caring, pretty girl by his side, someone who has never left him since he woke up in the hospital. Samantha seems about his own age and he doesn't know her, yet for some odd reason, she has chosen to stay while he recuperates.

Cooper's multiple injuries require intense physical therapy as well as prolonged bed rest. Through crippling pain and frustration, Samantha is there every day to support him. She's his guide, his source of encouragement, an inspiration. But Cooper knows immediately that something is wrong with this picture: Samantha is no ordinary girl. In fact, she's not even living; she's an apparition whose colors change with her moods.

After Cooper's discharge, Samantha follows him home. Strangely, he is the only one who has been able to see her thus far, and this is the main reason why she has stayed.
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