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The Seer of Shadows    by Avi order for
Seer of Shadows
by Avi
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

What if your belief system was called into question? The conflict between reasoned thought and unexplained phenomena is the central theme in this intriguing young adult novel. The setting is New York City, circa the late 1870's. Fourteen-year old Horace becomes an apprentice to an unknown photographer, Enoch Middleditch.

When Middleditch is approached by a woman, Mrs. Von Macht, who wishes that her photograph be placed on the grave of her recently deceased daughter, the photographer is only too happy to comply, complete with a trick of his own: he convinces Horace to secretly take pictures of photos of the deceased girl, Eleanora, and superimpose her image upon the image of the mother's picture.

Horace is shocked when the final picture of Mrs. Von Macht turns up an image of Eleanora that he has never seen before. Soon, despite his conviction that everything has a rational, scientific explanation, Horace begins to suspect that Eleanora's ghost is actually lingering and that he is somehow responsible. Most alarmingly, the ghost seems to be intent on revenge.

Can Horace suspend disbelief? With the help of Pegg, the black servant in Eleanora's household, he investigates the truth behind the circumstances surrounding Eleanora's death.

This was my first exposure to the award-winning author, Avi, and it will not be my last. His research into 19th century photography, coupled with the sinister atmosphere he portrayed, made this a magical, suspenseful yarn that will appeal to lovers of fantasy, young and old.

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