Monday, February 20, 2012

TOKEN OF DARKNESS by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Atwater-Rhodes, Amelia. Token of Darkness. New York: Delacorte Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-385-73750-0. $16.99

The main theme of Token of Darkness is constructed around Cooper Blake, his traumatic accident and its consequences. Due to a car crash, Cooper has to readjust his life and cope with the multiple facets of scars which now dominate his life. Not only did he miraculously survive, but since then, he is accompanied by Samantha, whom solely he can see.

Samantha becomes the center of his life, while he draws back from his friends, including his football team. Although she has no memory of her former existence, she helps him to come to terms with his new situation. Since the accident, Cooper is able to not only see Samantha, but also the shadowy demons which lurk in the dark to feed on weak humans and which threaten him and his surrounding again and again.

Cooper tries to return her kindness and support, but does not know where to start. He gets unexpected help from Brent, Delilah, and their mentor Ryan. All three have experiences when it comes to paranormal incidents: Brent is a telepath, Delilah is the manipulative captain of the cheerleading squad and a witch, and Ryan belongs to a long line of sorcerers. None of these three trust Samantha, and want to save Cooper from the potential threat she poses.

Token of Darkness is dominated by a dark and thrilling atmosphere. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes manages to tell a fast-paced story about growing up, trusting ones instinct, seeking help in times of need, and looking behind the mere fa├žade of a person. In order to move forward in life, all of the characters need to face their problems, even traumatic experiences. Friends are paramount in achieving this aim; only with their support, Cooper is able to break his social isolation, and to become a happier person.

Karin Kakorski

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