The Seer of Shadows: Book summary and reviews of The Seer of Shadows by Avi

The Seer of Shadows

by Avi

The Seer of Shadows

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Book Summary

The time is 1872. The place is New York City. Horace Carpetine has been raised to believe in science and rationality. So as apprentice to Enoch Middleditch, a society photographer, he thinks of his trade as a scientific art. But when wealthy society matron Mrs. Frederick Von Macht orders a photographic portrait, strange things begin to happen.

Horace's first real photographs reveal a frightful likeness: it's the image of the Von Machts' dead daughter, Eleanora.

Pegg, the Von Machts' black servant girl, then leads him to the truth about who Eleanora really was and how she actually died. Joined in friendship, Pegg and Horace soon realize that his photographs are evoking both Eleanora's image and her ghost. Eleanora returns, a vengeful wraith intent on punishing those who abused her.

Rich in detail, full of the magic of early photography, here is a story about the shadows, visible and invisible, that are always lurking near.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"This tale proves that the time-honored ghost story, capably researched, well-paced and fusing the Gothic elements of mystery, madness and romance, can still thrill in the hands of a skilled craftsman." - Kirkus Reviews.

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Reader Reviews

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LuLu

Best Eva!!
What would you do if you were the cause of paranormal activity? Horace was just a young boy, in his teens, when the day he went to go take pictures of the dead daughter of Mrs. Von Macht, turned into the reincarnation of Eleanora’s spirit. Horace worked at a small photography shop, as the apprentice of Enoch Middleditch. Who wanted nothing more then money. So when the maiden in black arrive one day who is later on known as Mrs. Von Macht, Mr. Middleditch decided to take pictures of Eleanora and than paste them in to the pictures of her grave. So that when it was time to give Mrs. Von Macht the picture she would cry with tears of joy to see her daughter one last time. But every time Horace took a picture of Eleanora her ghost appeared and swore that she “Will have her revenge!” Every time Horace spends more time with Pegg (Eleanora’s Sister) who is now a servant there loves buds and the knowledge of Eleanora’s past grows. Until the point were it was almost too late to save Eleanora.
I do not know why I chose this story to read. I normally read fantasy or nonfiction. But it was worth it, I spent a whole night in summer just reading it! I started t read at seven o’clock and finished reading around four a.m. This book was like a riding a roller coaster with your eyes closed, never knowing when you are going to go down or up. At every turn I wanted to read more and more. Once the ride was over I felt like reading it again! I would run a mile to get this book!
Avi had described as if Horace was his own son. He was a character you would fall in love with, he is the person a lot of boys would want to be. Even though he isn’t tuff and has no fighting skills, this boy is brave and independent. Mr. Middleditch is a greedy coward, when things get tuff he packs his bags and goes running for the hills. Pegg is a timid yet clever fourteen year old African girl who serves Mr. and Mrs. Von Macht. Mr. and Mrs. Von Macht are two ingenerate, snotty rich parents.
Avi wrote this story with an open mind and a great way with words. Each sentence was ice in an ice rink. Smooth. There wasn’t a word that didn’t fit in that book. The book in my opinion should be read by almost everyone because it’s thrilling, action packed and different. It’s like that feeling in the morning when you know exactly what to wear but Avi is the designer and each chapter is an article of clothing and the story is an outfit. This outfit would win Project Run way, for sure! He uses just the right accessories (adjectives) with his outfit.
If I could recommend this to a specific age group I would say 11 to 13 year olds as the minimal because it has some old English words and because some parts get pretty scary. I personally would recommend this to people who like to read fiction because it’s a change. I like to read ghost stories now because of the book. And I am pretty sure that if readers like fiction like me that this book would move students to read different genres. So if 11-13 year olds would pick this up they would not be able to put it down!

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Author Information

Avi Author Biography

Apparently Avi acquired his name from his twin sister, Emily, who chose not to call him Edward or Irvin but, for reasons unknown, to call him Avi. As the author says, it doesn't stand for anything, or mean anything, it just is who he is.

Avi is the author of more than sixty books, including Crispin: The Cross of Lead, a Newbery Medal winner, and Crispin: At the Edge of the World. His other acclaimed titles include The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and Nothing But the Truth, both Newbery Honor Books, and most recently The Seer of Shadows. He lives with his family in Colorado.

Link to Avi's Website

Name Pronunciation
Avi: ah-vee

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