Zoey Le Mar has, what she thinks, is a typical preteen life in the suburbs: soccer, a strict yet loving father and mother, a pesky little brother, Owen, and two best friends, Danielle Hernandez and Lucy Le Mar. Without warning, during the preparations for Owen’s birthday party, Zoey receives her first premonition, based on a secret truth. It starts to undermine her once peaceful, eleven-year-old existence. The forewarning matches a recurring dream that has plagued Zoey since Owen’s current age. The premonition and dream involve mystery, monsters, and magic. At first, Zoey ignores off the forewarning, not really realizing what’s going on or the importance of it. The premonition involves a family secret, a forgotten responsibility, many generations removed.
As Owen’s birthday party begins, more premonitions intrude and stagger Zoey. Even her cousin Lucy gets pulled into one somehow. Then a strange present, another two-feet-tall gargoyle statue, adds to the continuing mystery of her family and this evolving day. Still wary, Zoey dismisses the warnings and all the coincidences guiding her. Humor becomes her favorite avenue to deflect the strangeness. Though ignored, the premonitions expand and continue to haunt Zoey.
The party ends and Lucy goes home. With that avenue of communication closed, Zoey finds solace by going to Danielle’s house. On her way there, Tricky O’Leary, a fellow classmate and local bad boy, stops her. He discovers something’s wrong and tries to help. Zoey brushes off his offer and ditches him. Once the coast is clear, she continues onto Danielle’s house and gets chased by what she thinks are monsters. But she’s not sure. She makes it to Danielle’s house and ducks inside. However, a classmate and fellow teammate, Rhea Khan, taking out the trash, sees what chases Zoey, and it becomes her problem. In the meanwhile, Danielle helps Zoey investigate the strange happenings of the day, the gargoyle present, and her family story. But an odd accident occurs when Zoey and Danielle get too close to the bizarre truth.
Now, inadvertently, all four girls, Zoey, Lucy, Rhea, and Danielle, are involved with the Le Mar family secret, possessing pieces of the puzzle. As night falls, the ignored premonitions start to come true. From a pocket dimension, the high priest of the monsters, the golems, orders some of his clan to cross over and hunt for the disturbers of the truth. Zoey’s ripple effect has many results: an accidental kidnapping of Rhea then Lucy, Owen getting taken, Zoey crossing over with an animated gargoyle protector, Danielle being dragged into this mess, and Tricky finding a way there too.
Can Zoey find a way to believe in herself and take control of this situation? Can Zoey find a way to fulfill her destiny and end this forgotten responsibility? Can Zoey find a way to do what’s right and save herself, her friends, and her brother?
An action by the cloaked man drew her attention. He added earth to the violated, mutilated corpses.
(Zoey thought.) That must be the secret ingredient, the morbid final touch.
She received an answer as the cloaked man took powder from one of his belt pouches and threw it up in the air. He waved his hands in the air and uttered some strange words.
Okay, fine, I was wrong. That powder is his last ingredient. That means he’s casting a spell over his new undead creations. … Now, why do I know that? It is somehow familiar, yet it is not. Oh, never mind, this will make me have a brain fart.
She snickered at the horror being subjected; nervous inappropriate humor fueled her where bravery should. She spied at the gruesome scene some more.
I sense therapy in the future. Lots of it.
She smirked. The cloaked man weaved his hands, and energy blazed forth. Dark green bolts of lightning arced and zapped each of the Frankenstein-like dolls.
The cloaked man raised his hands. "Rise, my golems. Rise. Your master is calling you. It is time to exact my revenge."
The newly created zombies crackled from the residual magic and spasmed to life. Zoey shuddered and hugged herself. The graveyard monsters groaned and stood upright.
The earthen golems with their fiery emerald eyes cried out in unison, “We live. Command me, Lord.”
Loud applause shocked her out of the continuing premonition. Zoey's breathing raced, and she found herself slumped up against a wall. She rose slowly, still using the wall for support. She shook a little bit then hugged herself for some small comfort.
What the hairy heck? What' s happening to me?
Zoey Le Mar
After being plagued by dreams and urgent premonitions, Zoey learned of a bizarre familial obligation tied to real monsters and magic. Dumb luck, ingenuity, and courage saw her through, and she became the savior of her family—but at a price. She has dragged her friends into her obligation and put them into mortal danger. To make matters worse, this acquired magic has tied them to her forever. But what does the future hold, and will she be able to see them through, again? This worries her.
Reserved and analytical, Danielle is the librarian to the Internet superhighway. She does research and gets answers to questions that arise during a mystery or crisis. Pulled out of her cyber-world shell, she is the go-to girl of this odd quartet. Sometimes, her quiet reserve is tested, and she becomes the lion, not the lamb.
Lucy Le Mar
Fiery and crafty, Lucy fears little as she responds thoughtfully to any situation. She has learned to temper a biting tongue and a sharp wit with being demure and polite, her yin versus her yang. This is hard for her. She is a fighter and champions for the underdog. She dares and challenges. She is the fierce heart of this team.
Innocent and logical, Rhea, the newest member to this Traveling Pants’ circle, brings a balance to the others. She thinks before she acts. She is the questioning conscience who calls for caution and forethought when times are tough or getting hairy. However, when push comes to shove, she has learned how to shove, hard.
Local group home bad boy, Tricky, is an outsider looking in, and he likes it that way. He will fight, cheat, steal, or lie to get his way, and if that doesn’t work, he’ll use his street smarts and look for a weakness or an opportunity. If that doesn’t work, he’ll be charming and loquacious. To him, the end justifies the means.
The latest addition to team Zoey, Gabe is suave, daring, and sharp, so reminiscent of Tricky. However, unlike Tricky, Gabe has learned to find a balance, mull things over, and find a happy medium. He wants to better himself, but Tricky finds a way to tempt him and bring him back to the old ways. Regardless, Gabe is still hopeful and tries nonetheless. (See book two).
A. Whittle, Placerville, CA
(I asked my son, 12, to write a review from a youth's perspective. This is his review). I just finished the book! It was just the right length for me. I read it in about a week. I liked how the author, Mr. Lopez, made the disappearances scary with the glowing eyes, rustling movements, and creaking floorboards; though any younger child would have been frightened and hid under their covers. My favorite character is Lucy because she has the coolest weapons, and she knows how to use them. My second favorite character is Nash, the gargoyle, because I'm "into" mythology and mythical creatures. I also like Nash because he was a "good guy". I didn't like the parts where the parents were grieving for their children because it took away from the action. I liked the book so much that I stayed up until 10:00 reading, and my mom kept telling me to go to sleep before I was ready to. My favorite part of the book was when the characters started inheriting their powers and learning to use them. I think it would be cool to have those powers in real life! It didn't bother me that the characters were all girls (except for the beginning when they were being drama-mamas). I would recommend this book to people who like action, adventure, monsters, and magic.
Eleven-year-old Zoey Le Mar was awakened in the middle of the night by vague whispering and creaking floorboards. A face pressed in the curtains warned her of impending danger. And, as if that weren't enough, she heard raspy breathing and sounds of sluggish movement; something was inching closer to her bed. Something clawed at her covers, pulling her blanket toward the foot of the bed, and she found herself staring at a three-foot-tall monster with glistening eyes and wings sprouting from its back.
I've never been a fan of the fantasy genre, but Michael S. Lopez's book captured my attention and propelled me with lightning speed through one of the most exciting children's novels I've ever had the pleasure of reading, thus changing my outlook.
This delightfully-terrifying novel of magic, mayhem, and monsters is rife with non-stop, fast-paced action and intrigue throughout. The well-developed and realistic characters are anything but passive, and as the story unfolds, they provide a remarkable role model for young girls of all races and ethnicities, giving them a sense of empowerment. I found Mr. Lopez's novel to be well-written and a must-have for middle-grade girls of the modern world.
The story, Zoey Le Mar and the Veil of Fear, is about a normal town on the west coast whose residents are unaware of an ancient magic invading their tranquil existence. Sassy Zoey La Mar and her three ethnically-divergent friends, Danielle Hernandez, Lucy La Mar, Rhea Khan, are the main characters. These girls embark upon a multifaceted adventure to save the children from a band of marauding monsters, the Golem. These monsters open up portals to the world from their plane, and come and go at their horrific leisure, snatching and grabbing whomever they can for their own warped purposes. They had not bargained for the headstrong response they got from the girls, who are led on a merry and often delightfully-funny chase.
And for the reluctant boy readers, there is a boy character, Patrick (Tricky), O'Leary, who is drawn into the fray. I fell in love with Tricky the first thing. He's a `bad boy' in name, but a sweetheart in actions. He is so real and charming you can't help but love him.
Zoey, whose intelligent precociousness provides much entertainment and laughter, could be anyone's daughter or sister and fits into the story as though she were real flesh and blood. This story is imaginatively entertaining. Michael Lopez has done a fine job, and once you start it, you won't be able to put it down. By all means, read this book!
R. O'Donnell, Long Island, NY
Michael Lopez's first Zoey Le Mar adventure "Zoey Le Mar and the Veil of Fear" is a gripping and enjoyable novel that (finally!) places tween girls in the center of the action. As the father of a now-grown-daughter I was frustrated for years that there wasn't a strong teen female lead in any novels. The last truly multi-dimensional, smart and resourceful teenage heroine was Nancy Drew. Mr. Lopez understands the need for today's girls to have feisty, intelligent, and strong role models. In "Veil of Fear", the characters have depth, the action is plentiful, and the story is exciting. Mr. Lopez's mystical adventure novel has found a permanent place alongside my Rick Riordan collection. Kudos!
T Guadiana, Concord, CA
D Mutka, Roseville, CA
I had the duty of getting my ten-year-old daughter a new extra-curricular reading book. I stumbled upon a book trailer on YouTube, Zoey Le Mar and the Veil of Fear. I watched it then read the synopsis, discovering that multicultural girls are the main characters/heroes. I liked what I saw, and that was enough for me. I knew my daughter would like the action and adventure as well as the funny and scary parts. She read it within a week and loved it. She was thrilled that tween girls are the main characters and that they are smart, funny, strong, assertive, and persevering. I recommend this book, especially for young girls.