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The Beast of Noor    by Janet Lee Carey order for
Beast of Noor
by Janet Lee Carey
Order:  USA  Can
Atheneum, 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Janet Lee Carey's The Beast of Noor has the feel of many other YA fantasies, yet it is completely original and imaginative. Carey has created a world reminiscent of medieval England or Ireland, and has populated it with strong characters and fantastic beings.

In Shalem Woods outside the village of Brim in the country of Enness Isle in the world of Noor, a beast called the Shriker stalks loyal souls and wipes their bones clean when it is through with them. The beast crosses over from a world filled with sylths, trolls, and other such creatures every full moon following an eclipse. It is said that the Shriker was once Rory Sheen's dog, but is now cursed to quench his thirst with blood since his owner made a deal with The Darro (harvester of souls) three hundred years ago. Only those with the blood of Rory Sheen can break the spell. Now it has fallen on the last of his line, Miles and Hanna Ferrell, to free the people of Enness Isle from this fearsome beast. As they fight to break the curse, the siblings grow stronger and learn more about themselves, each other, and the people around them.

Carey has crafted a novel that should appeal to all who love fantasy by creating two strong characters, both of whom show bravery in ways that will endear them to readers of their gender without falling into any stereotypes. Miles is strong-willed yet foolhardy, creating an adventure for himself that leads him deep into a strange land of mythical beings. Hanna is timid yet loyal, leading her to grow braver and wiser as she strives to save her older brother from the lure of the Shriker. While the characters capture the readers' empathy, the world of The Beast of Noor captures their imagination. Carey has created not one but two worlds almost as elaborate as those found in good adult fantasies. While the story of the Shriker has ended, there seem to be many places left to explore in the world of Noor.

The Beast of Noor is a solid fantasy that should please younger fans of the genre. Do not be daunted by the size of the book; it offers a fast-paced, engaging read that leaves the reader satisfied.

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