Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{July 14, 2014}   {Review} Voice of the Undead by Jason Henderson (Alex Van Helsing #2)

Voice of the UndeadFrom Goodreads: Now that Alex is in the know about the deadly vampires that live—and hunt—around his boarding school, everything is different. Putting his talents to use, Alex is training with the Polidorium to become a vampire hunter, just like his Van Helsing ancestors. Sure, he’s only fourteen, but c’mon: This runs in his blood.

But Alex is wondering if he’ll live long enough to succeed. His archnemesis Elle, a vampire whose youthful appearance and blond hair disguise a rage that’s directed at him, is out to get him before a powerful leader called Ultravox arrives on the scene. Ultravox specializes in assassinations, but who is he targeting? As he dodges Elle’s attacks, Alex is on a mission to uncover Ultravox’s deadly plan before his friends and his school become collateral damage. There’s no time to report back; innocent lives hang in the balance, and it’s on Alex to act now—or else.


Truth be told, this novel wasn’t even on my radar. I’d never heard of the series, and I wasn’t looking for another vampire book to read, but a student brought this to me and begged me to read it so s/he would possibly have the opportunity to read it as part of his/her outside reading project fourth quarter. Out of the 200 books I listed as choices, s/he wanted something that wasn’t on the list. Figures.

But, my student made a case for the book, and to be quite honest, I’ve never seen this student quite as excited about any reading material this entire year; I mean, s/he was only on page 11 and was gushing about how good it was. And the whole purpose of my outside reading project is to get kids interested in reading, right? So I read it. In one sitting. And it was good. Now I need book one.

Yes, this is the second book in the series, and I was a little worried that I’d have no idea what was going on, and in the beginning, I was a little confused–but I read the synopsis for book one and that pretty much put everything in perspective for me, AND, Henderson also does a great job bringing the reader up to speed, rehashing some events from book one without going overboard or info dumping.

And I really liked this story. It’s definitely a novel geared towards males, which is great since I tend to gravitate to books with females leads, and it does indeed blend a bit of James Bond with the whole vampire spectrum. While we don’t really see much in terms of vampires in this novel, they’re alluded to, and the mysterious and ever awful Elle does make a play for power in her attempts to end Alex Van Helsing, so there is that.

But this novel really revolves around young Alex playing spy while also attempting to attend school with the elite. We’re split between his time in school (which I really could have done without–the spy stuff was so interesting, but, you know) and his time hunting down the elusive vampires and trying to gain a better understanding of his hiss and static powers alerting him of danger… and it’s all very well done, and somewhat reminds me a spy kids–and the action within the first chapter definitely grabbed my attention and kept me interested. I will admit that it took me a few pages to get into the story, again, because this is a sequel and I wasn’t 100% about what was happening (we are definitely dropped right in on the action), and because Alex was thinking to himself about school, which was… eh. But as he’s thinking the vampires make his move, and suddenly he’s in the midst of a death-defying race, forced to play chicken with two speeding Mercedes as he maneuvers his motorcycle and… yeah. It’s good. Four stars.

4 starsI borrowed this novel from a student.

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