by Jennifer Dyer
Writer Kevin McGill of GuysCanRead.com recently lamented that decent male protagonists in the YA (young adult fiction) genre were becoming a rare commodity. Not so with Alex from Alex Van Helsing: Vampire Rising by Jason Henderson. Alex is a 14 year-old boy who gets sent to a boarding school in Switzerland after an “incident” at his last school. Soon after he arrives, he comes across a murderous creature in the woods and that is where the trouble starts. For the creature.
I enjoyed this read. Alex is a strong-willed, strong-minded individual who must chose whether or not to take up the Van Helsing family legacy. He has a strong sense of right and wrong and a good sense of humor. The book has very few curse words, hardly any adolescent angst, no sexual overtones, several incidents of well-dealt-with bullying, plenty (and I do mean plenty) of action, and (hurrah) a strong human protagonist. Good and evil are clear, and Alex is the kind of guy most of us would want to get behind in a fight. (Probably far behind, depending on your level of squemishness.) It was a good read from start to finish.
Spoiler alert: I was eeked out by one of the scenes in which Alex discovers a vampire soda fountain of sorts (caged humans being drained of their blood). Pretty gruesome. But this author definitely knows his vampire mythology (along with many other forms of evil mythological monsters). If this is your or your kid’s area of interest, check it out.