Alex Van Helsing

Alex Van Helsing : Vampire Rising

3.69 (1,666 ratings by Goodreads)
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The Van Helsing name reborn

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.

--Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) (starred review)
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Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 249 pages
  • 175 x 215 x 23mm | 354g
  • Collins
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0061950998
  • 9780061950995
  • 2,075,574

Review quote

"Trouble seems to follow Alex Van Helsing wherever he goes... Invigorated by likable teen heroes with believable interests (one loves vampire lore, the other manga). This first book in the Alex Van Helsing series seriously doesn't suck."--ALA Booklist
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Rating details

1,666 ratings
3.69 out of 5 stars
5 29% (485)
4 29% (488)
3 27% (458)
2 10% (163)
1 4% (72)

Our customer reviews

Alex Van Helsing is a normal thirteen-year-old boy, who just so happens to have been shipped off to a school in Switzerland. He also gets a strange itch behind his eyes at the oddest of hours. Not to mention the strange being that he kills outside in the woods surrounding the private school and Lake Geneva on his first night there. Or how it blew up in a cloud of fire and ash when he stabbed it in the chest. Yeah, normal. When Alex catches his English professor sneaking out on a motorcycle late at night, just as another one of those things - things that don't exist, according to his father - nearly kills him, he decides to investigate. More of those things wait in the woods, on motorcycles just like his teacher. Alex barely escapes death again...until his teacher takes him into a secret base known as the Polidorium, where he finds out the truth about vampires - and his last name's legacy. Characters are important. Characters are half the reason I read a book, period. If I don't like them, then there is an issue. Especially because I like most characters. But the ones in Alex Van Helsing....They don't work well for older teens. Alex is funny and fairly smart for a male protagonist, and I like that. His friends are, of course, the nerds with cool ideas and quirks. One is also bigger than the average boy, the other is lankier and slightly more intelligent. And he meets a girl - Minhi - Minnie, but with an 'h'. And she kicks major ass. Not the most original characters, they have an air of immaturity about them that makes them more for a late-middle school crowd than an older YA, which is partially why I never warmed up to them. I did like Minhi, though - her knowledge of a form of martial arts combined with a love of shojo Manga and an Indian (country, not the politically incorrect term Americans use for Native Americans) heritage makes for a fun read. Too bad she is kidnapped and not around for much of the action. The main villain gave me issues, too...mostly because I had an image of him before the book, and it didn't meld well with how he was pictured as a vampire. Even if vampirism changes the people, it just didn't work for me. The premise is one thing that is great about this book, despite my qualms with action-oriented plot. I can't read action. And really, the action part isn't the most well thought out. Though I enjoyed how Alex has contact troubles and the resulting flub-ups with them. As someone with contacts, I felt his pain. The really enjoyable side of the premise is the mythos. The school's location at Lake Geneva has a brilliant, and for me, great purpose. Vampires in this world have a deep history, but the ones centering in this book connect to the party of writers at the villa alongside Lake Geneva. If that doesn't ring a bell, think of a contest involving Mary Shelley, John Polidori, and Lord Byron, with two others, including Shelley's half-sister, Claire. As a fan of random facts, I loved this connection, and the clues involving Frankenstein were fabulous and creative, and more than made up for the slower parts. The writing is standard fare. Nothing bad, nothing that I would scream about. Though it goes by pretty fast. I actually liked the ending as well, at least in terms of the cliffhanger. I actually want to keep reading despite my action-novel reservations. And the little romance going on between Minhi and someone else was surprising. I'm always up for a pairing like that; the hero doesn't always get the amazing girl. Especially if she's the only one around a group of testosterone-flooded teenage males. While I wouldn't say this is a great book for me, if you're a middle grade reader or more of an action-adventure lover, then this will work out better for you. Me, I love characters and premise, so it just didn't flow. If I had known this was more intended towards the younger part of YA, I would have came in with different expectations, and possibly a better outlook. It rates an average for me, but I will be on the lookout for the coming books, if only because the cliffhanger involving the villain was just good enough to make me want more
by TeensReadToo
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