Monday, June 6, 2011

Review: Voice of the Undead (ARC)

Alex Van Helsing: Voice of the Undead (Alex Van Helsing #2)Voice of the Undead

Series: Alex Van Helsing, #2
Author: Jason Henderson
Reading Level and Genre(s): YA Urban Fantasy
Features: Vampires, secret agencies
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: July 26, 2011
Source: Author for review
*Note: The text featured in this post is from an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC). Changes may have been made in the final proof.
Now that Alex knows about the deadly vampires that live-and hunt-around his boarding school, he's decided to train with the Polidorium to become a vampire hunter, just like his Van Helsing ancestors. Meanwhile, Alex's archnemesis Elle, a vampire whose youthful appearance disguises a vengeful rage, is out to get him before a powerful leader called "Ultravox" arrives on the scene. The situation is grave; innocent lives hang in the balance, and it's on Alex to act now- or else.
     From the opening motorcycle-chase scene to a daring train rescue and a climactic showdown aboard a luxury yacht, Voice of the Undead is a gripping, fast-paced stand-alone sequel to Vampire Rising, perfect for fans of Alex Rider and The Last Apprentice. With an action-packed plot that will draw in teens and tweens alike, this breathlessly fun series has been praised as "James Bond meets Dracula."
Once again, Jason Henderson does not disappoint with this clean young adult adventure fit for paranormal fans of any age. This title was even better than the first, with an even scarier villain and much higher stakes. New characters are introduced, and several play bigger roles in this one. There's a bigger mystery element in Voice of the Undead, and some characters take a turn for the evil as time goes on.

Alex proves his worth by keeping his school safe from the vampires, but this new villain, Ultravox, seems to be able to breach the walls of LaLaurie Academy for Girls, where the boys are staying since their school was heavily damaged by a fire (which Alex had an unfortunate part in). I loved the fast-thinking and bravery Alex displayed while facing his numerous enemies. He got stuck in some pretty sticky situations, and circumstances were dire. It was exciting, and you couldn't stop reading until the very last page. Henderson wrote with his typical humorous narration and descriptive scenes, an enjoyable writing style that I could easily get into.

I was very satisfied in the end. Despite its description as for "ages 12 up," I think this book is targeted for a younger audience interested in the paranormal. Even if you don't like paranormal, this series is also good for those spy-action type lovers.

Beginning Excerpt: 
Alex Van Helsing accelerated the gunmetal gray Kawasaki Ninja and watched the trees along the road around Lake Geneva melt into a twilight blur. Just a few miles to Glenarvon Academy, just a few more minutes, and no one would be the wiser.
     Training had gone on longer than Alex had expected. What was supposed to be a late Saturday afternoon exercises with Sangster, his-what should he call Sangster?-mentor, had turned into a half-day ordeal. Sangster, who everyone else knew as Glenarvon's literature teacher, had let Alex join him and a team of active agents in a mock incursion into an enemy stronghold.
     The "stronghold" was a small office building in Secheron, the lakeside village where Alex and his friends sometimes went for ice cream; the exercise was a hyped-up version of Capture the Flag. Three agents were posing as terrorists holding a trio of "hostage" mannequins, and Alex joined the team that had to sneak in and neutralize the enemy without allowing the hostages to be harmed. 
     This was serious business to the agents of the Polidorium, a multinational organization, which a month before Alex had not know even existed. There were countless Polidorium agents scattered around the planet, but hundreds of them were located right here at their current Lake Geneva headquarters, and Sangster had been slowly allowing Alex access to that world. The exercise this morning had been a test of sorts. After a month of training one-on-one with Sangster, this was Alex's first time mixing with other agents.
     Sid, Alex's gangly, excitable Canadian roommate at school, had been thrilled when he heard about the exercise. "It's like you're going to do a LARPG," Sid had said over Saturday morning breakfast in the Glenarvon dining hall. He had pronounced this acronym larr-peg.
     "What is a LARPG?" Alex was already laughing. Sid's joy at a million things Alex had never heard of was infectious.
     Sid put down his fork and gesticulated wildly with his hands. "That would be a live-action role-playing game."
     "Have you ever done that?" Alex asked.
     "Absolutely," Sid said. "In Montreal there's a yearly meeting of the NALAVRPG, that's the National Association of Live-Action Vampire-Role-Playing Games. I've been three times." Like Alex, Sid was fourteen, so three times meant Sid had been doing this since he was-eleven? "I have a clan that-"
     "Wait, wait, wait." Paul, Alex's other roommate, a beefy, British boy, nearly choked on his poached eggs. "Stop. That is the bloody saddest thing I have ever heard. How many people go to these things?"
     "Thousands," said Said. "They divide up into vampire hunters and fifteen classes of vampire. You've got your Nosferatu, your Tuxedos, your-"
     Paul waved his arms. "Thousands of barmy people running around in costumes and stabbing one another with foam stakes. I think things that you have exposed me to are going to damage me forever."
     "Anyway," said Alex. "We're gonna rescue some mannequins."
     "You have the coolest life," Sid said to Alex.
Disclaimers: Per the FTC regulations, please note that iLive, iLaugh, iLove Books does receive books for review for free by publishers or authors. For every book reviewed – whether sent by publisher, author or books purchased, it will be graded with a clean and open mind. A free book received will not influence any opinion of the contents of the book.
Spoilers may or may not have been present in this review. While iLive, iLaugh, iLove Books does review honestly, reviews are not specifically checked for spoilers. Attempts at avoiding spoilers are made, but not all are removed or fixed. This disclaimer is a general statement placed on all reviews as a warning to those who read them.


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