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Iron Angel: Shredder    by Karen Koehler order for
Iron Angel
by Karen Koehler
Order:  USA  Can
Black Death, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Amy Perry has had a lot to deal with in her young life: her mother walked out on the family leaving behind two children and an angry husband with the habit of drowning his sorrows in a bottle of whiskey. His drunken rages often escalate into violence and Amy must step in repeatedly to protect herself and her little brother, Charles, from their father's violent outbursts. The citizens in the small Kansas town where she lives know exactly what's going on, but nobody steps in to help. They're too afraid, for they know that Amy uses something called 'the glimmer' to shield herself from her father. So the town guards its dark little secrets and everyone, including Amy, thinks that life will go on just as it always has. But things around Morningvale, Kansas are about to change in a big way.

Cyn is a quiet young girl who's been alienated all her life. The more she's shunned, the darker her thoughts become. Soon she's obsessed with thoughts of revenge against the classmates who make her life a daily misery. Many of the school kids hang out at a teen club called 'Iron Angel', including Cyn, who sits in the shadows plotting. One day, Cyn realizes that someone is finally paying attention to her. Deep underneath the club lies an entity known as Azazel, the Shredder of human souls. It craves fresh sustenance, but remains trapped within an iron statue, and can only break free after the sacrifice of thirteen human souls. Azazel senses release is near and helps Cyn strike back at those she hates. Soon one, and then another of the school's most popular girls disappear without a trace. As the mysterious disappearances around Morningvale continue, Amy is approached by Grendal, a Bane whose task it is to control the Shredder of Souls. He informs her that she too, is a Bane, and that she is the only one who can return the Shredder of Souls to the pits of hell. So begins Amy's struggle to understand and wage war against this powerful entity. Her only allies are the wise immortal, Grendal, and her own determination to keep her brother and herself safe from the Shredder's growing hunger.

Karen Koehler continues pushing the envelope with this latest story, which is the first book in a brand new series. Koehler has a keen and timely sense of today's teenage angst, which she uses well to flesh out her characters and then draw them into her dark plot as it quickly and graphically evolves. With her skill at creating horrific imagery, she then proceeds to lure the reader into Azazel's terrifying and destructive underworld. If you like your horror served cold and malevolent then Shredder: Iron Angel is guaranteed to produce terrific chills.

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