Volume 2 of this series has been nominated for a Cybils Award, so as usual I started with Volume 1.
Nightschool: The Weirn Books by Svetlana Chmakova. Ages 14+
#256. Vol. 1 - Apr. 2009. 195 pgs. The book jumps right into the story which takes some time to figure out exactly what is going on. (I highly recommend reading the summary on the back first otherwise you may not completely understand the story until you do!) This high school takes on a completely new set of students and staff each evening where teens of the night take their lessons. The story focuses on two sisters, one much older who is a teacher at the school and her younger sister, Alex, a Weirn, (a certain type of witch) who for some mysterious reason has been unable to attend school, so is being homeschooled instead. The majority of the plot though focuses on a class of vampire hunters, though they are not hunting the lame good-looking suck a little blood here and there vampires. They hunt the real thing, Rippers, who maul and kill their victims. The climax comes when a few hunters and Alex meet up with disastrous results. I admit I just dove into the book and was a bit confused until I turned the book over and read the synopsis on the back. That gave me some useful information not found in the story itself and made me more comfortable and able to enjoy the story. Artwork is typical of American manga, mostly realistic representations but uses plenty of manga techniques without overdoing it. The portrayal of homeschooling is negative and , of course, I would have preferred to see it handled in a more realistic way. I found the story very intriguing and am very interested in Alex's character and her secret. The book ends with a cliffhanger and I'm anxious to read book 2 to learn what will happen to Alex now. 3/5 (Canada ) - (US)
#257. Vol. 2 - Oct. 2009. 193 pgs. Alex's sister has disappeared and Alex goes to the Nightschool to find her. Getting in proves difficult and she ends up enrolling, but once inside everybody denies ever having even heard of her sister. Alex does make a friend, one of the hunters, a girl her own age and Alex has an astral attached to her which is mostly visible but can disappear when required, very cute. The hunters from book one are still in comas but no one knows Alex's connection in any way, including herself. The story progresses we find out a little more about Alex, and the hunters end the book with a cliffhanger leaving us to wonder if lives are at stake. Plenty of excitement and the tension is growing but there is also an equal amount of humour thrown in to lighten the otherwise dark tone of the story. Again we have a disparaging comment about homeschooling, which I didn't appreciate and hope not to see in the next volume. Fun series I will be continuing on with. 3/5 (Canada ) - (US)