Review: Alex Van Helsing by Jason Henderson

15 Jul

HarperCollins Canada, 2010

Fourteen-year-old Alex has no idea that he’s descended from the world’s most famous vampire hunter, but that changes fast when he arrives at Glenarvon Academy and confronts two vampires in his first three days. Turns out Glenarvon isn’t the only school near Lake Geneva. Hidden deep underground lies an ancient university for vampires called the Scholomance. And the deadly vampire clan lord known as Icemaker? You might say he’s a visiting professor.

When two of Alex’s friends are kidnapped by Icemaker, it’s up to Alex to infiltrate the Scholomance and get them back—alive. Assisted by the Polidorium, a top-secret vampire-hunting organization with buried ties to the Van Helsings, Alex dodges zombies, bullets, and lots—and lots—of fangs on his way to thwarting Icemaker’s plans and fulfilling his family destiny.

From HarperCollins website.

It’s no big secret that most of the YA vampire novels being published are geared towards girls. There’s usually a brooding young male vamp, oodles of romance and a touch of mystery and intrigue. Not the case with Alex Van Helsing. With it’s high action, constant fight scenes and main character, this is definitely a boy’s vampire book. But that’s not to say that female readers won’t enjoy it, either; I certainly did.

This is a fun book. See, there’s no melodrama, no “I know he’s a vamp, but he’s a good vamp” story-line. Alex finds out he’s a descendant of the original vampire hunter and he hunts vampires. Simple as that. While the vamps aren’t mindless blood-suckers, they are evil and that’s always very, very clear. No ambiguous is he or isn’t he.

We don’t get a whole heck of a lot of deep character development in Alex Van Helsing, but you know what? That’s just fine with me. Remember, folks, it’s an action book. The fight scenes and action sequences were great, and for this type of book, that’s what’s important.

The only thing about Alex Van Helsing that niggled at my brain is Alex’s age. For some reason he felt more like a 16 year old than a 14 year old to me. I know he’s a Van Helsing and I know he has special vamp fighting powers, but every once in a while he’d do something and my brain would go, “Bawha? Kid’s only 14!” It’s a small thing, and it may just be a me thing, but it was a thing none the less.

Still this was an enjoyable book and a very quick read. Sort of like Young Indie for the vampire crowd. If you like vampire YA lit and are looking for something a bit different, check it out.

Browse inside Alex Van Helsing.

Mucho thanks to the folks at HarperCollins for the review copy.

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2 Responses to “Review: Alex Van Helsing by Jason Henderson”

  1. amymckie July 15, 2010 at 8:05 am #

    I thought he seemed older as well, great action, but not a lot else. Heh.

    • lavenderlines July 15, 2010 at 8:07 am #

      Yeah, I did enjoy it for what it was. Found it a nice break from other more intense YA I’ve been reading.

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