In the Forests of the Night
In the Forests of the Night cover
Author Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Pages 147
Publication date May 11, 1999
Published by Delacorte Press, a division of Random House
ISBN 0-385-32674-2
Preceded by
Followed by
Demon in My View

In the Forests of the Night is a vampire novel written by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, and published in 1999. Originally entitled White Wine, she wrote it at the age of thirteen. The book was published on May 11, 1999, about a month after she turned fourteen. It is the first novel in the Den of Shadows. The novel is told in first-person narrative by the main protagonist, Risika. It was well received by critics.

The title refers William Blake's poem "The Tyger", which appears in the beginning of the book. It tells the story of a three hundred year old vampire named Risika and her struggles throughout her life, both before and after she was transformed. Atwater-Rhodes' second book, Demon in My View, was published when she was 16 in 2000 and is the sequel to In the Forest of the Night. Persistence of Memory makes mention and appearance of the main character's brother.

Writing processEdit

According to Atwater-Rhodes' official site, The Den of Shadows, In the Forests of the Night is one of seven novels that she had finished writing and is only the first she ever published. The inspiration for the novel came from an assignment she received in the seventh grade when her best friend Jessica had chosen "The Tyger" for the assignment. The character of Risika was taken from the brief mention in Atwater-Rhodes' unpublished novel, Red Wine. She began working on the novel in 1997, under the title White Wine, and during the writing process with the novel, two incidents had accord, Atwater-Rhodes began suffering from writer's block and then her computer crashed from a virus during the months of July and August.In the original manuscript the character of Ather was to play the main antagonist but after the loss of her computer and having to retype the manuscript it was changed to Aubrey, another character in the novel.[1] She finished the novel in August of that year and spent the next four months revising the manuscript. She then sent the manuscript in on December 31, 1997. In mid-February 1998 she met her agent, Tom Hart, who later called her and informed her that Random House would publish the novel on her fourteenth birthday; however, the novel was pushed back and released a little over a year later in May 1999.



Den of Shadows cover.

In the Forests of the Night
was first released in hardcover print on May 11, 1999,[1][2] about a month after she signed her contract. It was later released in paperback on May 8, 2000.[1] After the release of her Kiesha'ra Series, Atwater-Rhodes revealed that the first four novels she wrote, In the Forests of the Night, Demon in My View, Shattered Mirror and Midnight Predator, were part of the Den of Shadows and In the Forests of the Night was republished in paperback with a new cover to mark the series in July 2009,[1] while all four books were released in an omnibus called The Den of Shadows Quartet on August 11, 2009.[3]

Opening poemEdit

As with all of Atwater-Rhodes' novels, In the Forest of the Night's title and story was affected by a themed poem the author chose to represent the novel; in this case, William Blake's poem "The Tyger", used to describe Risika's feelings for the Bengal Tiger she named Tora:

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Plot summaryEdit

The book is set in and around the author's home town of Concord, Massachusetts and in the realm of Nyeusigrube. The book centers around Risika who born in 1684 as Rachel Weatere, a God-fearing seventeen-year-old who lived with her father, half-sister, Lynette, and her twin brother, Alexander. Alexander lives in fear as he believes he is of the Devil as he is able to hear peoples thoughts and cause things to happen, including making fire rise up and down which causes an accident with their half-sister, who was burned by the fire. Aware of her twin brother's powers and his dislike for them, Rachel tries to do her best to comfort him. One day, an unknown stranger appears at their home, who is later revealed as Aubrey, and gives Rachel a black rose, which pricks her finger drawing blood. That night, Rachel hears her twin creep past her room and she follows him to find him confronting two vampires, Ather and Aubrey, who had came to transform Rachel against her will into a vampire to get back at Alexander for interfering with Ather when she tried to feed on Lynette. In an attempt to stop Ather from harming her brother Rachel confronts her but Aubrey grabs her brother and drags him off, while exposing a knife. Rachel tries to go after them but Ather grabs her instead and begins her transformation.

Three hundred years later, the now vampire Risika has a run-in with Aubrey after accidentally trespassing onto his territory in an attempt to feed, he leaves her another black rose and a note stating, "Stay in your place, Risika." Fearing Aubrey, but not letting it on, she burns the note and leaves it where Aubrey can find it, and does not visit the Bengal tiger which she has named Tora, in fear that Aubrey would use Tora to hurt her. Eventually Aubrey learns of Tora's existence and in an attempt to get Risika to lay low, he kills the tiger. Wounded once more, Risika takes on the tiger's strips in her hair and finds a note with the name "Rachel" written on it and covered with tears. Enraged and thinking the note a joke she calls out to whoever left the note but no one answers. She then takes off, transforming into a hawk, to confront Aubrey, and a fight breaks out between the two and Risika realizes she can defeat him and transforms herself into a Bengal tiger and pins Aubrey to the ground. In desperation and not wanting to die, Aubrey offers Risika his blood, which opens his mind to Risika. Accepting this, Risika transforms back to herself and takes Aubrey's blood but before allowing him to leave she takes the knife he carries, which she had found out nearly 300 years ago contains magic from one of the witch's clans, and slashes him in his collarbone, avenging the scar he had left on her not too long after she had been transformed and tells him to remember the events of that day and warns him that even though she has taken his blood it did not make up for the death of Tora or Alexander. After Aubrey leaves, Alexander reveals to Risika that he is still alive and that he was the one who had left her the note. Believing he could help his sister, Risika informs him that she is happy as she is and the story ends.[4]

Character listEdit

Risika: The main protagonist and story teller of the novel. Born as Rachel Waetere in 1684, she was transformed against her will into a vampire, when she was seventeen, by Ather in 1701 and lives in the fictional version of Concord, Massachusetts, three hundred years later. She has a strong understanding and friendship with a Bengal tiger she named Tora. Risika can transform into a hawk, as she enjoys flying over the power of mental teleportation, which is most commonly used by other vampires. She has a long rivalry with her blood-brother, Aubrey. After her battle with Aubrey and taking his blood, she becomes stronger and is open to his mind. She also is able to transform into a second form, that of a Bengal tiger. Risika has golden blonde hair and gold eyes that went completely black after she was transformed but she later regained them after she transformed into the tiger. She also changed her hair to contain the strips of Tora, after the tiger was killed by Aubrey, so that Tora would be with her always. Her original hair and eye color were inherited from her mother.[4] Atwater-Rhodes later revealed that Risika and her twin brother's mother was originally a witch of the Light Line.[1]

Alexander: Twin brother to Rachel/Risika.[4] The last of the Light Line[1] and trained Triste witch, Alexander originally loathed his powers until a Triste witch[4] by the name of Pandora[1] heard him praying and explained to him what he truly is. Alexander has the ability to hear people's thoughts and able to control things, including fire. For the longest time it was unknown to Risika that he was not dead, prior to her contrary belief, though he was looking for her knowing that she was alive and that she was a vampire, and upon the death of Tora and saddened by his sister's lost he sent her a note which he had cried upon with her birthname written upon it. After Risika's battle with Aubrey he reveals himself to her.[4]

Ather: The blood-mother of Aubrey and Risika.[4] Ather is vampire and a fledgling of the Silver Lines[1] and after Risika's brother, Alexander, interrupts her feeding the high-priding vampire decides to change Rachel against her will to get back at Alexander. After Risika awakens, Ather takes Risika to the original Mayhem to make her feed. After this she only mentioned one other time in the book, apparently she was looking for Risika and had sent Aubrey to retrieve her but Risika refused to see her. According to Risika, though she loathes her blood-mother for her transformation and will not defend her, she herself would never raise a hand to her or kill her.[4]

Aubrey: The main antagonist of the story and longtime rival, as well as blood-brother, to Risika. Aubrey despised Risika from day one and even tried to convince Ather not to change her into a vampire. Aubrey has been described as having a knife with him at all times that he had taken from a vampire hunter, the knife has magical qualities in the blade that, if it hits the target properly, can kill a vampire. Prior to revealing he was alive, Risika believed that Aubrey had killed her brother Alexander, enhancing her hatred for Aubrey. Aubrey presumably lives in New Mayhem and has territory in New York City. In 1701, he was sent as a deliverer of the black rose to Rachel.[4]

Lynette: Half-sister of Rachel and Alexander. After the death of their biological mother, their father re-married and they bore Lynette. Her mother died shortly afterwards.[4]

Tora: A Bengal tiger that lives in an unnamed zoo in New York. Risika has a close bond with the tiger and cares about her deeply. According to Risika, the two have a strong understanding of each other and they keep each other company. Tora is later killed by Aubrey, to hurt Risika. When Risika had discovered the body she noticed Aubrey had tied the tiger up before stabbing her with a knife.[4]


On December 8, 2009, a little over ten years after In the Forests of the Night was published, Atwater-Rhodes revealed background information about the characters and their world on her official site. She revealed that Risika, as well as Aubrey and Ather, is part of a line called the Silver Line and that her and Alexander's mother was known as Lila Light who originally resided in an unknown place that was taken over by a vampire named Midnight but before it was taken over she had fled to a town called Vieton where she met and married Rachel and Alexander's father. Before their birth, a vampire by the name of Kaleo had taken an interest in Lila and courted her for three years. After they were born Lila feared for her children's lives as Kaleo grew impatient waiting on her and feared he would kill them. To protect her children, she allowed him to transform her into a vampire and she changed her name to Charcoal. Because of his wife's unexplained disappearance, Rachel and Alexander's father left Vieton and took them to be raised in the town in which they had grown up before Rachel was transformed into a vampire, as well as protect them from Midnight.[1] To explain their mother's disappearance their father told them she had died giving birth to them.[4] When Risika had visited Mayhem after her transformation her mother saw her and knew what she had become and using her Light Line magic out of anger, she set Mayhem a-blaze, as fire is the specialty of those in the Light Line. Lila Light, although unknown to Risika that Charcoal is her mother, currently resides in New Mayhem.[1]

Sequel and mentionEdit

Awater-Rhodes released the sequel to In the Forests of the Night in 2000 entitled, Demon in My View, which takes place three years after the events of In the Forests of the Night. In the Forests of the Night is also mentioned in Demon in My View under the fictional title, Tiger, Tiger. Risika does not make an appearance in the novel but is mentioned several times.[5]

In 2008, Alexander makes an appearance in the novel, Persistence of Memory but Risika does not but it is mentioned that there is an issue going on between Risika and Alexander during the events of the novel.[6]

Reviews and acknowledgementEdit

In the Forests of the Night was applauded as "Insightful...and imaginative" by Publishers Weekly[7] and "remarkable" by Voice of Youth Advocates.[8] San Diego Union-Tribune called the novel "An impressive debut". School Library Journal praised it stating "This first novel by an author with great ability and promise is sure to be popular." Booklist stated that because of Atwater-Rhodes being only fourteen at that time she published the novel and because of it content that the novel "may encourage other young writers to pursue the craft." The Houston Chronicle called the novel "an easy-to-read page-turner."[7] The novel is an ALA Quick Pick for Young Adults.[9]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 "NyeusiWiki: In the Forest of the Night". Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. 2009-12-08. Retrieved 2012-07-18. 
  2. "In the Forests of the Night (Den of Shadows) (9780385326742): Amelia Atwater-Rhodes: Books". US. Retrieved 2012-07-30. 
  3. "The Den of Shadows Quartet (9780385738941): Amelia Atwater-Rhodes: Books". USA. Retrieved 2012-07-18. 
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (1999). In the Forests of the Night (Album notes). Delacorte Press, a Division of Random House. Template:Hide in printTemplate:Only in print. Retrieved 2012-07-18. 
  5. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (2000). Demon in My View (Album notes). Delacorte Press, a Division of Random House. pp. 45, 49, 52–53. Template:Hide in printTemplate:Only in print. Retrieved 2012-07-17. 
  6. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (2008). Persistence of Memory (Album notes). Delacorte Press, a Division of Random House. Template:Hide in printTemplate:Only in print. Retrieved 2012-07-17. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (2000). Demon in My View (Album notes). First page in book after the poem.: Delacorte Press, a Division of Random House. p. ii. Template:Hide in printTemplate:Only in print. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  8. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (2000). Demon in My View (Album notes). Back flap of dust jacket: Delacorte Press, a Division of Random House. Template:Hide in printTemplate:Only in print. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  9. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes (2008). Persistence of Memory (Album notes). Back of dust jacket: Delacorte Press, a Division of Random House. Template:Hide in printTemplate:Only in print. Retrieved 2012-07-17.