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FIGURE IN THE SHADOWS (original 1975; udgave 1977)

af John Bellairs (Forfatter)

Serier: Lewis Barnavelt (2)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
6951524,249 (3.77)15
A painfully overweight sixth grade boy receives a magic amulet which brings him luck, but also terrifying side effects.
Forfattere:John Bellairs (Forfatter)
Info:Yearling (1977)
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek

Detaljer om værket

The Figure in the Shadows af John Bellairs (1975)


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I was meant to read this book during October, because I thought that it was going to have the same Halloween vibes as the House with the Clock in its Walls, but I'm really glad that I had to put off reading it because it's got a much more Christmas-y feeling! The cover of the edition that I read is covered in a rich tapestry of red and gold designs, but the major climax of the story happens in a very snowy settings, which serves to heighten the mild thrill for the reader. Will Lewis be able to escape the clutches of the magic amulet that is controlling him? As Lewis makes another foolhardy decision in an effort to gain power and control over the people who are bullying him at school Bellairs uses his gothic premise to explore themes around childhood, jealousy, and friendship, making this book an excellent example of how a fantasy genre can be exploited to be more than just a good adventure. We do get plenty of adventure as well, though, as we hear about the Barnavelt family's contribution (or lack there of) during the American Civil War, and how magic amulets are created and destroyed. Compared to the previous book, the story here is a bit simpler, but it is still strong overall as we see Lewis embark on another learning experience about magic and see his friendship with Rose Rita grow. ( )
  JaimieRiella | Feb 25, 2021 |
Sequel to The house with a clock in its walls ( )
  ME_Dictionary | Mar 19, 2020 |
Sooo soothing. Also, it introduces the female hero, Rosa Rita Pottinger. I enjoyed it and can barely remember it already.
  themulhern | Jan 31, 2020 |
There was something off about this one. 'The House With A Clock In Its Walls' had originally been written as a regular novel, and only later rewritten for the juvenile market. That might be the difference. Lewis has finally made a good friend in Rose Rita Pottinger, but has also become the target of a bully, Woody Mingo. That bully is the reason he begins to fixate so much on his great-grandfather's "lucky piece", a three-cent coin, even though Mrs. Zimmerman tells him its not magical.

Lewis' Uncle Jonathan and Mrs. Zimmerman are mostly fringe characters, too, who are present only to comment on Lewis' behavior, not to worry though, they are still present in all their 'Weird Beard' and 'Pruny Face' name-calling glory and they come into the business by the end.

Magic shouldn't be explained, that's the beauty of it, but as an adult I could have used more grounding in where the Figure in the Shadows was coming from before Mrs. Zimmerman explains the origins of the coin/amulet at the very end. It struck me as too convenient and coming as it did from nowhere defeated the purpose of this being any kind of mystery. On the other hand, being so unexplained for so long made the Figure that much more scary reading this as a kid.

Because 'The Figure in the Shadows' is so focused on the dynamics between Lewis and Rose-Rita and confrontations with the bully, Mercer Mayer is not the odd choice that he seems to be now. Mayer can't compare with Edward Gorey's atmospheric illustrations, and he wisely doesn't illustrate most of the "scarier" scenes, but his characters' expressiveness make up for that.

Lewis is such a shy, wimpy kid that I had to root for him. I recognized a bit of myself in him, and in Rose-Rita as well, with his bookish tendencies and daydreams. There was also a considerable amount of relief that there was nobody like Woody at my school. Bellairs was still getting the feel of writing for children after the seemingly accidental perfection of 'The House with a Clock in its Walls', but this is a solid sequel.

Lewis & Rose Rita

Next: 'The Letter, The Witch, and the Ring'

Previous: 'The House With a Clock in Its Walls' ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
I gobbled up The Figure in the Shadows in one sitting. This could lead you to believe that I thoroughly enjoyed it but really it was super short coming in at 160 pages with quite a few of Mercer Mayer's illustrations sprinkled throughout adding to that number. The plot of this installment revolves around an amulet which Lewis acquires and which seems to hold a 'spirit' of some kind which he has awakened and which turns out to be rather malevolent. (If you think this sounds similar to the first book you're not alone.) Once again, he keeps this a secret from his uncle and the witchy neighbor, Mrs. Zimmerman, next door. Instead he shares his discovery with his new friend, Rose Rita, who is virtually Lewis's opposite in every conceivable way. I will say that Lewis is a unique character in that he's not brave, overly intelligent (although a voracious reader), good looking, talented (described as quite fat), or particularly good-natured (in fact he's rather whiny and prone to childish fits of anger). He doesn't fit the prescribed parameters of a typical protagonist. He's bullied and anxious about the possibility of even being bullied or 'bawled out' by adults. (I was nervous about the latter through my adolescence as well so in that regard I can relate.) Magic + mystery + misadventure = the plot 5/10 ( )
1 stem AliceaP | Aug 4, 2018 |
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Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
John Bellairsprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Guidall, GeorgeFortællermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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Vigtige steder
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For Don Wilcox, David Walters and Jonathan Grandine / Friends who have been friends indeed
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Lewis Barnavelt stood at the edge of the playground, watching the big boys fight.
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A painfully overweight sixth grade boy receives a magic amulet which brings him luck, but also terrifying side effects.

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