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The Ninth Guest
Written by Jennifer St. Clair
Review by: Tina Morgan

How do you know if a series appeals to its target audience? When that audience is eagerly anticipating the next installment. I told my daughter that The Ninth Guest, the second book in Jennifer St. Clair's YA fantasy series, was available and she asked to read it immediately. After finishing the book, she told me that my review had to say,  "The book was good, hurry up and write the third one. Now."

High praise from a ten year old the reads voraciously. But she's not the only one excited about The Ninth Guest's release. Several students from her class had read The Tenth Ghost and couldn't wait to read Jacob Lane's next adventure. You would think that reading the book from a computer screen would have dulled some of the kids' interest but they weren't phased by this alternative publishing method. 

The Ninth Guest opens with Ophelia's family facing a financial crisis and trying to find a way to keep their castle from crumbling to ruins. When a cousin suggests opening their ancestral home as a bed and breakfast, Ophelia is certain she's going to die of boredom trying to entertain a bunch of "humans". To help her survive the ordeal, she invites Jacob (the only human she likes) to spend a few weeks at the castle. Jacob arrives just hours before the first group of guests. All humans who have been lured in by the exciting concept of "surviving the night in a vampire's castle" even though most believe vampires are myths.

Trouble lurks around the corner when Jacob overhears a plot to bring vampire hunters into the castle and now Ophelia and her family are at risk. A novice wizard, Jacob knows she must rely on her wits to help save her friend but how to spot the vampire hunters? Myron, a boy their own age, is one of the human guests who doesn’t believe vampires are real, but when Uncle Rupert suddenly turns up missing, the two girls find Myron's not as obnoxious as they thought. Can Jacob enlist his aide without revealing the truth about Ophelia's family? 

Secrets abound in the old castle and the three kids are kept on their toes avoiding danger. The threat becomes all too real when despite a treaty between the wizards, witches and vampires, the hunters stalk Ophelia's family and nearly murder the missing Uncle Rupert. They won't allow a little girl like Jacob stop them from killing every last vampire.

A delightful tale of friendship, family intrigue and magic, The Ninth Guest has the kids in my daughter's class lining up to read off the computer.

Jennifer St. Clair's characters capture the minds and hearts of her readers. The Ninth Guest establishes Jacob Lane as a unique series that has moved away from the elements in The Tenth Ghost that reminded me so much of another wizarding student.

The Ninth Guest is a  * * * * 1/2 star read and is currently available as an ebook or CD from Writers-Exchange Publishing

Rating Scale:
* * * * * = Un-put-downable, excellent reading!
* * * * = Good value, interesting reading.
* * * = Had potential, but could have been better.
* * = Slow, difficult to read, could have been improved.
* = Imminently forgettable.



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