The Beast of Noor
Now in paperback along with its sequel, what Booklist calls “an eerie, atmospheric tale, full of terror and courage, set in a convincingly realized magical realm.”
Do not wander in the deeps where the Shriker's shadow creeps.
When he rises from beneath. Beware the sharpness of his teeth.
For over 300 years, a monster known as the Shriker has roamed Shalem Wood, terrorizing the villagers who live on its edges and slaughtering those unfortunate enough to wander on to his path. The people of Noor have lived in fear for so long that most of them have forgotten that once upon a time the Shriker was just a loyal dog, until the day when he was cruelly betrayed by his master and cursed to live a bloodthirsty life, always seeking revenge for the fate his owner dealt him. But Miles and Hanna Ferrell have not forgotten where the Shriker came from--how could they? It was their ancestor who betrayed the dog...
A tale of terror and magic that channels Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Beast of Noor tells the story of two siblings determined to set their family free and break the curse of the Shriker or die trying.
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Reviewed by Carrie Spellman for TeensReadToo.com
Miles and Hanna Ferrell live in the country in Ennes Isle, just outside of Shalm Wood. Miles wants nothing more in life than to go to Othlore and be trained in magic. He's been studying with the Falconer, but he feels like his teacher is holding him back more than he's helping. If only the Falconer would teach Miles a few spells... Hanna just desperately wants to feel normal and safe. But between her different colored eyes, the legend surrounding her family, and especially since the return of the Shriker, it doesn't look like normal or safe are in Hanna's future.
Stranded in a cave to escape a surprise storm, Grandpa tells them again the legend of the Shriker. He tells them how the Shriker used to be a brave and faithful dog, until he ways betrayed by his own master and cursed by death himself. Now, as the Shriker, he hunts human prey every full moon. The master who betrayed him, Rory Sheen, happens to be an ancestor of Miles and Hanna. Now that he's back the brother and sister won't be safe in the village, and no one is safe in the woods once the sun goes down.
When Miles tries to take matters into his own hands, things get more than a little out of control. Suddenly it's up to Hanna to save him. Hanna was always the quiet one. The one who stood back and let Miles handle things. The one who asked for the happy tales by the fire, because the others scared her too much. Now, she's right in the middle of the scariest one of all, and if she ever wants to see her brother again she'll need to find a lot of inner strength, and quickly.
This is a great, creepy, interesting tale. I don't know how comfortable I would be hearing it at a fire on a dark night. Granted, I'm a big wimp, but that's only part of the point. It's scary enough for those who are looking for that, but it's also a great story, which is what good legends are. There's a fair amount of fantasy, a little magic, personal discovery, even a sweet little love story woven in. There's a little bit of something for everyone. Perfect for a stormy, foggy night, curled up with hot chocolate, warm and safe in your house.