Arthur G. Slade, Orca Book Publishers, 1997. Middle school, young adult horror. 171 pages.
Arthur G. Slade will present at the Shushwap Writers' Festival this May.
Fourteen year old Sarah, her twin brother Micheal and their cousin Angie go to visit their grandfather in Gimli, Manitoba for the summer. They come prepared for a quiet vacation in the rural community and their grandfather's scary stories based on Icelandic mythology; however all of this changes when the stories start to come true and a draugr, a man who comes back from the dead, comes after them and their grandfather.
I found Draugr to be a quick read that will probably appeal to young readers (I would think middle school and the young side of young adult or those who like shorter books) who like a plot driven story with lots of excitement and supernatural elements. The story was fast paced and interesting and I especially liked the Icelandic mythology element. Each chapter ends on a tense note or a cliff hanger, which kept me reading "just one more chapter" in order to see what happens next.
One of my favorite things about the book is the character Sarah and how she has to learn to trust herself and the fact that she is strong in order to save her grandfather. She initially sees herself as scared and on the weak side, but when push comes to shove, she learns about herself and what she is capable of.
Slade consistently uses slang such as "shoulda" and "wanna" in his dialogue. I know this is dialogue and he is trying to be realistic, but it is one of those things that jump out at me, stop the flow of the book, and take away from my reading. There are also quite a few sentence fragments, which are probably meant to increase the tension and pace of the book.
Overall, this is an interesting, faced paced book that I am sure children will enjoy, especially if they like to be a bit scared and enjoy supernatural book.
Also in the Northern Frights series:
The Haunting of Drang Island
The Loki Wolf