Behind the Fiction Past
By Brenda Weeaks

Hello, and welcome to Behind the Fiction. For the month of October, we have guest columnist Carisa Weeaks. She's here to put her fellow readers in the halloween mood by highlighting the young adult vampire series created by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. Enjoy....

Vampires and witches - the list goes on and on of the different types of myths and legends that surround us about these two types of "extraordinary" beings. Tales of dark alleys, ancient coffins, haunted burial grounds, dark forests, small, glowing cottages, and the infamous haunted castles have filled our heads with pictures of these mythical creatures from beyond. But now, there is a different perspective being shared by a young, talented writer named Amelia Atwater-Rhodes that is a great way to spend your Halloween night.

Amelia's first book, In the Forest of the Night, tells of a girl named Rachel who is forced to become a vampire. Changing Rachel's name to Risika, Ather, the one who changed her, shows Risika that she can no longer go back to the life or the family that she had loved.

This book, as well as her others, sheds light on the myths about vampires and giving us a more realistic angle on who - or what in many cases - vampires really are. They can go out in the daylight, but don't like to because their eyes are more sensitive than a humans; some do cling to their human "moral" as much as they can without killing themselves; they don't sleep in coffins or in old, abandoned castles; you can't kill them with pure silver bullets or wooden stakes or ward them off with crosses and garlic. In fact, the only reason vampires dislike garlic is because their smell is twice as strong as a human's to allow them to detect blood like an animal. They look human with only one difference - black eyes, but even then, they have the ability to change their eye color, hair, and skin, making it look real to the human eye when in reality, it's just an illusion.

Now as for witches, many have stereotyped them as ugly, old hags that fly around on broomsticks or stirring potions in a huge black cauldron when, in fact, you could be sitting right next to one in a restaurant and not even know it! In Amelia's second book, Demon in My View, we not only get to see a more realistic perspective on what a "witch" really is, but also that there are many different TYPES of witches. Caryn Smoke is a descendant from one of the strongest lines of witches who are called healers. They can channel their powers and knowledge to heal the wounded and sick.

Demon in My View also sheds light on the different types of vampires there are, and how they aren't always as "evil" as people make them out to be.

And if that isn't enough for you, in Amelia's third book, Shattered Mirror, we get to see the more "soulful" side of both witches and vampires. Sarah Vida, who is from the strongest line of witches, finds out that there are good vampires as well as bad when she meets Christopher and Nissa Ravena, two very weak vampires who choose only to prey on animals and humans who are willing to give their blood to them. She also finds out that there are even stereotypes WITHIN the "hidden" world that she was born into. And those stereotypes have made it hard for future generations to be able to work towards a better future for everyone.

Those are some Young Adult books that not only lure the readers into the dark shadows of the "hidden" worlds, but also give the readers the ability to see that stereotypes aren't always true.

For some other really good Young Adult suspense/thriller reads, you should try books by Lois Duncan. Teens also have a chance for a suspense -filled read with Joan Lowry Nixon.

Carisa Weeaks


In the Forests of the Night by Amelia Atwater Rhodes
Delacorte Press - 1999
ISBN: 0385326742
Young Adult - Paranormal / Vampires

Reviewed by Carisa Weeaks,
Buy a Copy

The book starts with my favorite poem, "The Tiger," by William Blake.

ITFOTN is an unusual story. Every other chapter has a flashback to the 1700's when the lead character, fourteen old Rachel became a vampire named, Risika. She has a twin with telepathic powers. Alexander lived with the fear of witch-hunts, since they lived in that time in Concord, Massachusetts. The turning point for Rachel comes when he saves their older sister from Ather, a powerful vampire.

For revenge, Ather sends one of her fledglings named Aubrey to Rachel with a black rose, the symbol of the vampires. The next night, Ather and Aubrey come for Rachel; forcing her to become a vampire to "punish" her brother for thinking he could go against them. The only thing she finds happiness in, during this cursed life, is a tiger named Tora.

The story was well written. The set up of the chapters leading into one another was very well planned. She breathes a lot of life into the characters, as if she knows them personally. She was able to show there was more to vampires than superstition and stories. Amazing plot and emotional moments for Risika are just a few of the things that hook the reader to the story till the end. You will NEVER be able to put this book down once you start reading it. This book is meant for older teens to young adults.

Demon in My View by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Delacorte Press - May 9, 2000
ISBN: 038532720X - Hardcover
Young Adult - Paranormal / Vampires

Reviewed by Carisa Weeaks,
Buy a Copy

Demon in My View is the second book by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes.

Jessica is a senior in high school who only wishes for one thing - to join the mythical world of vampires and witches that she's created in her books. She sits in her black room, typing into the wee hours of the morning and then trudges off to school, where her life is anything but nice. Everyone avoids her as if she carries the plague, and she doesn't help by scaring them off and even making them think that she's a witch or something else out of the ordinary.

She goes through the days, dreaming of her characters in the books that she's been writing, longing for a way to make that world real, but what she doesn't know is that the characters of her stories ARE real, and some of them are NOT wanting her to keep writing her stories.

Caryn Smoke is a witch and a descendent of one of the most powerful line of witches. She is a healer and a protector, and it's now her job to make sure that Jessica is protected. There's only one problem - Jessica doesn't want her even want her FRIENDSHIP much less her help. It's now up to her to make Jessica see what's happening around her before one of the vampires decides to try to "relieve" their situation. But by the time she even gets a chance to talk to Jessica…she's too late.

Aubrey is one of the strongest vampires in existence as has the ego to prove it. He's dead set on getting rid of the pesky author who published a book about the one fight he lost to his rival, Risika, and is about to publish another book about his history. But when he finally finds her, he realizes that he's in for the fight of his life - in more ways than one.

This book is incredible! It's just as well written as the first one. The characters are amazingly believable and unique in their own ways. The plot is original - heart straining and thought provoking till the end. This young woman has a talent BEYOND her years. I DEFINITELY recommend this book as well as her others.

Shattered Mirror by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Delacorte Press - September 11, 2001
ISBN: 0385327935 - Hardcover
Young Adult - Paranormal / Vampires

Reviewed by Carisa Weeaks,
Buy a Copy

Shattered Mirror is the third book by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes.

Sarah Vida and her family are after one of the most notorious vampires, Nikolas. As a daughter of the most powerful line of witches in history, Sarah has an obligation to her family to not only hunt down the enemies of the family, but to abide by the family laws, and up until she started her new school, she hasn't had a problem doing that - especially the law stating that if a member of the Vida befriends a vampire or any other enemy, they would suffer the most dire of consequences.

When she walks into her first class of her first day, she notices two people she knew she should stay away from - Christopher and Nissa Ravena. Although their auras are so weak that they are not able to tell that she's a witch, she can tell that they are vampires. They're weak because they've sworn off human blood and only drinking animal blood. She figures that she could probably try to stay away from them, but after they literally follow her around to her classes and coax her into sitting with them at lunch, she finds out how hard it's going to be. And to add onto that, Christopher has fallen for the blue-eyed hunter.

Can Sarah help her family avenge their honor by finding Nikolas, but still somehow help them come to understand that not all vampires are bad? And what about her growing affections for the two vampires who have taken an interest in her?

This book is as amazing as the other two books. The characters are original and so realistic that you half expect to run into them in the local 24 hour Wal-Mart at midnight. "Unique" is definitely a word that every review of Amelia's books will contain and often repeat to the point of madness. Atwater-Rhodes is an amazing writer with the imagination of the most creative of young children and the eloquence with words of an experienced writing genius. I definitely recommend ALL of her books.


Other Young Adult Vampire Series:
Companions of the Night by Vivian Vande Velde
Sweep Series by Cate Tiernan
Daughters of the Moon series by Lynne Ewing

Stand-Alone Young Adult Vampire Titles:
Look for Me by Moonlight by Mary Downing Hahn
The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause

Interviews and Articles with Ameila
USA Today

Recommended Websites

In the Forest of the Night chapter excerpt

Demon in My View chapter excerpt
More about Shattered Mirror
Talk City Chat Manuscript with Atwater-Rhodes

2001 Past Columns


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