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The Figure In the Shadows (Lewis Barnavelt) Paperback – August 3, 2004

4.7 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Brace yourself for a wild ride. -- Kirkus Reviews

Is there no end to the suspense John Bellairs can create? -- School Library Journal, starred review

There’s suspense and action aplenty. . . . Perfect for the pre-Stephen King set. -- Booklist

About the Author

John Anthony Bellairs (1938–1991) is an award-winning American author, perhaps best known for his fantasy novel The Face in the Frost. He is also the author of many gothic mystery novels for children and young adults, including The House with a Clock in its Walls (which received both the New York Times Outstanding Book of Award and the American Library Association Children's Books of International Interest Award), The Lamp from the Warlock’s Tomb (which won the Edgar Allen Poe Award), and The Specter from the Magician’s Museum (which won the New York Public Library "Best Books for the Teen Age" Award.
 
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Series: Lewis Barnavelt
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin (August 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142402605
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142402603
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,539,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I read this book in the 70s or early 80s. I was so frightened by it that I stored it under my sister's bed at night just to keep it out of my room and away from me. It scared me that much - It's very vivid. To this day, the smell of wet ashes reminds me of the book. I mean this all in the best way, of course. I was, perhaps, a little unprepared for the depth of spookiness found in this book, but now I realize that while it frightened the living daylights out of me, it also thrilled me. I credit this book and MacBeth (also read when far too young and impressionable) for my love of "unseen" psychological horror fiction today. Definitely talk with your child after they read this, though. You don't want them spooking at every imagined figure in the shadows.
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Format: Paperback
Lewis Barnavelt (introduced in THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS) is having problems. He's picked on by bullies and he's afraid his best friend, Rose Rita, doesn't respect him because he's not rough-and-tough. When he finds his great-grandfather's lucky coin, he starts wearing it, hoping it will bring him luck...only to discover that it's actually a powerful talisman and a sinister hooded figure is watching over him.
This isn't quite up to the level that HOUSE was, but it's still a grand entertainment. We feel Lewis' pain and rage at being a target and at his inability to intervene when Rose Rita is attacked by bullies. Lewis' love/hate relationship with the talisman can also been seen as a symbol of drug addiction.
It all ends well, with a good message about loyalty and a caution against using outside props (talismans or drugs). Next in the series: THE LETTER, THE WITCH AND THE RING.
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Format: Paperback
John Bellairs is best known as the author of sixteen gothic mystery novels for young adults comprising the Lewis Barnavelt, Anthony Monday, and Johnny Dixon series. "The Figure in the Shadows" (1975) is the second book in the Lewis Barnavelt series and is preceded by "The House with a Clock in Its Walls" (1973).

So far from what I've read of this author, his characters tend to be elderly eccentrics, or ordinary children (no superkids, here). Lewis is resourceful, but with a child's fears and limitations. Most especially, he is afraid that his uncle Jonathan might send him off to reform school if he discovers that his nephew has been dabbling in magic.

Lewis is a newly orphaned, plump, pre-adolescent boy who wears "purple corduroy trousers, the kind that go `whip-whip' when you walk." He went to live with his Uncle Jonathan (who is also a wizard) in New Zebedee, Michigan after his parents were killed in an automobile accident. It is the late 1940s, and New Zebedee bears a strong resemblance to Marshall, Michigan, where the author was born--- The Cronin House and the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) Hall still stand in Marshall, just as their counterparts do in New Zebedee.

Lewis wants desperately to believe that an old coin belonging to his Great-Grampa Barnavelt has magical powers. He and his best friend, Rose Rita sneak a book out of Uncle Jonathan's occult library and perform a ceremony to `activate' the coin or `magical amulet' as Lewis likes to think of it. He is being bullied at school by a nasty character who stole his new Sherlock Holmes hat, so Lewis starts to wear the old Civil War coin around his neck for protection. Finally he turns on the bully and beats him up, but soon learns that the coin has other, even darker powers.
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By A Customer on July 13, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Okay so maybe I did first read this book when I was eight, but I loved it. It is a creepy story of a regular boy named Lewis who finds in a steamer trunk, owned by his eccentric neighbor and friend of his uncle, a silver coin. Wearing this coin around his neck he finds that he has summoned an evil presence that seems to be stalking him, and getting closer and closer. A good story, and the characters are very normal, yet in a very eccentric surrounding of wizards, witches, other strange people and objects. While it can get quite creepy in parts, it still is very humorous. I am so sad to find that it is out of print. If anyone out there has children who happen to be lucky enough to own this book, or happen to bring it home from the library, sneak it off their nightstand while they are sleeping and give it a look. Best read on a dark windy winter night, and don't feel ashamed to look behind you from time to time.
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By A Customer on July 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
This was a great book! It was a spine chiling tale that I read in one day. It was almost as good as The House with a Clock in its walls. The Figure in the Shadows is a story of a boy who finds a magical amulet and says a spell that raises the powerful spells on the coin. It allows him to have good luck, but that all changes when he starts getting followed by a shadowy creature. I reccommend this book to other kids. And I will be willing to give more than 5 stars.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book will bring chills down your spine because of the author's own style of writing. Bellairs understands the mind of 6th graders who want to stand up to bullies in school and on the street. Of course, this book is 6th grade reading level so the book is going to be written for young children. The book also mentions a certain figure in the shadows and also about Lewis' grampa who had a lucky amulet that he won in a card game during the civil war. That's why I give this book 5 stars because of it's unique mysteriousness and excellent quality reading for young kids and adults to enjoy.
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