After seeing what appears to be a Viking ghost, a teenage girl becomes obsessed with unraveling the mystery in this YA sci-fi adventure.
A year ago, not long after her Uncle Alistair vanished, Sonia Greene—called “Red” in homage to the comic-book/movie character Red Sonja—saw an apparition in the window of his mansion that looked to her like a warrior: “Wild, reckless, and…hot.” Now, with vandals targeting Alistair’s empty house, 16-year-old Red and her family are moving in. With all the usual teenage insecurities about her looks as well as having ADHD, Red worries about fitting in at her new school but soon makes friends. In her uncle’s office, she finds a photo of Alistair with two of his students; one, Erik Wolfeningen, also disappeared—and greatly resembles her ghostly warrior. She’s unsettled when Roy, the other student, starts following her, and even more so when her kindly neighbor Mrs. Catsworthy shares her concern that he might be possessed. Erik turns out to be alive, and as drawn to Red as she is to him. He now exists in a transformed state following an incident involving his graduate work, ancient stones, and a dangerous cult. Erik and Red will need to work together to bridge the gap between their worlds, retrieve the stones, and save Alistair, all while avoiding the dangers amassed against them. In her debut novel, Reed weaves together physics, angels, demons, and teenage romance with skill and verve. Her portrait of Red and her family shows an affectionate appreciation for the quirky, and she provides precise psychological insights, such as the link between Red’s disorder and her younger sister’s bossiness. Erik’s attractiveness isn’t just about his good looks, but also his kindness and intelligence. Exploring the stones’ properties also lets Red and Erik have magical experiences, like flying through the air together. The story moves well, with thrills, suspense, and passion, and concludes satisfyingly but with enough issues left unexplored to whet appetites for further adventures.
A promising debut about a missing uncle and ancient stones that delivers appealing characters and an intriguing combination of science and mysticism.