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I was born to the name of Rachel Weatere in the year 1684, more than three hundred years ago.
The one who changed me named me Risika, and Risika I became, though I never asked what it meant. I continue to call myself Risika, even though I was transformed into what I am against my will.
By day, Risika sleeps in a shaded room in Concord, Massachusetts. By night, she hunts the streets of New York City. She is used to being alone.
But now someone is following Risika. Someone has left her a black rose, the same sort of rose that sealed her fate three hundred years ago.
Three hundred years ago Risika had a family -- a brother and a sister who loved her. Three hundred years ago she was human.
Now she is a vampire, a powerful one. And her past has come back to torment her.
This atmospheric, haunting tale marks the stunning debut of a promising fourteen-year-old novelist. Three-hundred-year-old Risika looks darn good for her age. Thanks to her "blood mother," a vampire named Ather who turned Risika (nee Rachel) into one of the undead back in 1684, she will always look as fresh as a 17-year-old. Now Risika is a world weary night stalker who sleeps in Concord, Massachusetts, by day and prowls New York City by night, in search of fresh blood to slake her inhuman thirst. One of the benefits of living such a long life has been discovering that most of the popular myths about vampires are not true: "Holy water and crosses do not bother me... and silver does not burn me. If someone hammered a stake through my heart, I suppose I would die, but I do not play with humans, stakes or mallets." In fact, there is little in the mortal world that surprises Risika anymore, until she returns from a hunt one night to find a black rose on her pillow--the same flower she was given on the eve of her mortal death. Knowing that the rose is a taunt from Aubrey, a vampire she believes murdered her human brother, Risika decides to confront her nemesis. In a bloody battle with Aubrey, Risika finally unearths her brother's true fate.
While the plot of this vampire tale may not stand out from the fanged masses of the genre, what does stand out is the fact that the author is 14 years old. Teen horror fans of Anne Rice and L.J. Smith will surely want to experience for themselves how In the Forests of the Night stacks up to their favorite adult titles--and will be especially interested in seeing how one of their young peers plies the writing trade. (Ages 12 to 15) --Jennifer Hubert
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