Tomas doesn’t remember his parents’ reason for leaving Slovakia when he was six, so he thinks his biggest challenges when his family moves back might include culture shock and getting to know his long-lost cousin. And he hopes that his badly scarred arm won’t be a cause for teasing, as it was in the States.
Slovakia, however, holds far more dangerous challenges for Tomas, as he discovers when a vodnik straight out of Slovak fairy tales tries to drown him and add him to his teacup collection. Between the vodnik’s drownings in town- for which Roma like Tomas are blamed- a water ghost’s threats, and a fire vila’s mysterious warnings, this adventure turns out to be a lot more than Tomas had bargained for. And then there’s his cousin’s big secret, which leads to a dangerous race against time and Death herself. When peril closes in, can Tomas’s newfound magical skills help them defeat the vodnik and even cheat Death?
Tomas is no ordinary teenager. He has scars coating his arm and chest, has no friends whatsoever, and lives in his room all day watching classic movies. All of this changes on the day his house catches on fire, and he miraculously survives even while flames beat at his body for who knows how long. Coming away with no injuries, Tomas’s parents decide to move to back to Slovakia, where Tomas was born.
Once Tomas arrives in Slovakia he soon becomes close friends with his long lost cousin, Katka. Together, they host tour guides at the local castle, trying to lead normal lives. Soon, though, Tomas and Katka realize that there is much more to Slovakia than they once thought. It soon becomes apparent that Slovak fairy tales are coming to life, and only Tomas can see them. Tomas and Katka must fight to defeat the vodnik, a fairy tale who drowns people to collect their souls for his teacup collection. Things are not as simple as they may seem, though. On a long and treacherous journey, Tomas and Katka must fight for what is important, and save the souls of their fellow Slovaks.
When I first started Vodnik I was pleasantly impressed. It just seemed like a book that I was going to love. Tomas’s character was a little strange, but I appreciated the overall feel of the novel. I was fascinated that a character could be immune to both fire and water damage, and I was curious about how Bryce Moore would play off of that.
My fascination only lasted so long, though. Within the first hundred pages the novel started to become rather cheesy. The story focused on a specific fairy tale, the vodnik, who drowned people to put their souls in his teacup collection. The vodnik’s teacups were his pride and joy, and I could not help but feel that that idea took away from the novel. It almost seemed as if this novel would be great for teenage boys. However, I am not sure if this book would appeal to anyone above the age of sixteen.
Throughout every book I always analyze the characters. That is the biggest thing for me. My favorite books have brilliant characters with unique personalities and their own perks and flaws. For me, Vodnik failed to bring amazing characters to the table. For one, I could not stand Tomas. Now, it is going to be difficult for anyone to get into a book when they dislike the main character. But it did not end there. Thinking back on it, I cannot recall a character that I fell in love with. In fact, for the most part, I did not really like any of the characters. The only character that stood out at all was the vodnik, as he had a humorous and spunky personality.
One thing I did notice was that this book has the same feel as Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Now, I absolutely hated the Percy Jackson series, so there could potentially be a lot of fans of this novel. I would recommend that any young teenager give this book a chance. There should be nothing in this novel that would concern parents or teachers. There is some magic in the book, but I really do not think that that was a huge part of it. Overall, though, I do not believe that this novel would appeal to anyone over the age of sixteen. This book has a silly feel to it that the younger generation, and fans of the Percy Jackson series, would greatly appreciate.
Publication Date: March, 2012
Publisher: Tu Books
Teaser Quote: ” A woman stepped out of the flames. Her skin, hair, clothes- everything about her was made up of solid fire. Her hair was burning red in the shape of a woman’s long locks, but where normal women would have strands of hair, she had strands of fire, each strand pulsing and flickering with the same light as the campfire. Her skirt had stripes, alternating shades of flame, and her blouse was the blue of the inside of a candle. Her skin was a lighter shade of orange, with her features well defined and beautiful. The air shimmered around her, like it does above pavement on a hot day. A whole person, made of fire.”