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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Malice" by Chris Wooding (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

Visit Chris Wooding's Website HERE

Introduction: Ever since the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick won the Caldecott Medal in 2008 the idea of mixing the graphic novel format with that of an actual novel has jumped in popularity. While Malice can't even be compared in storyline to Hugo Cabret when I saw that it was a similar format I was very excited to see how this all worked out in the end.

Overview: Malice is a a popular comic known among the teenagers for it's scary story lines and detailed drawings. A rumor has been circulating along with the comic. If you gather the right ingredients, burn them and say "Tall Jack Take me Away" six times, then Tall Jack will appear and take you away to the world of Malice. Malice is a harsh world where one of the only goals in the kids life that end up there is to survive. Creatures are always trying to attack and kill any living creature.

Of course every person believes Malice doesn't really exist and it's just a rumor. That's what Kady and Seth thought until their friend Luke's disappearance. Luke had been acting very odd and mysteriously disappears with no explanation. All the adults believe that he was kidnapped or ran away, only Kady and Seth believe otherwise.

While searching Luke's room, they find the mysterious comic Malice and an address to a out of the way comic shop. That's when Seth decides to try and found out what happened to Luke. He gathers all the ingredients and call on Tall Jack to see if he really does come and take him away.

Kady can't possibly let Seth disappear into Malice alone and soon she follows.

The only problem is that once you arrive in Malice there is only one way in or out, and it's not as easy to get out as it was to get in.

Kady and Seth are about to be trapped in a scary world where survival and quick thinking may be their only way to getting out of Malice alive.

Analysis: October is the perfect time of the year for those scary types of books. Ones that make you shiver or draw a lot of suspense. Malice is a perfect example of that. From the beginning of the novel I was drawn in, the pacing of the book was perfect. I almost had to pry the book out of my hands to stop reading at times. I just had to know what was going to happen next.

Malice has that perfect blend of mystery and suspense that brings out the best elements of the book. There aren't elements that were graphic in nature or super scary but Chris Wooding does a great job in building up the suspense. There were times when I was certain that Tall Jack might be coming into my house to take me away I was that engrossed in the storyline.

The concept of saying a mysterious creatures name and having them appear magically isn't unknown (Think boogieman) the writing in this book is what makes it unique. The presentation of the story and background is just enough that readers can believe that this could really happen in the real world. There are plenty of people in the world that have tried saying "Boogieman" in the mirror at a sleepover so the idea of saying "Tall Jack take me away" really hits home.

The setting of the book is that of modern day London and the world of Malice. Malice does have a slight steam punk feel to it. However it isn't overpowering. While most people might believe that a comic book world would be all glitzy, Malice is filled with machine creatures and factories. The details throughout Malice are very vivid and can really make a reader imagine the world of Malice around them.

Another major strength of Malice was that of the comic drawings. One of the unique aspects of the comic Malice in the book is that while reading it the book seems to jump from character to character as though it's being written in real time. Chris Wooding takes this approach when incorporating the graphic novel section of the book. There are small sections where the graphic novel tells the story and is picked up a few pages later with what is going on in the background. This gives readers an idea of what it would be like to be reading the comic Malice at home if such a comic were to exist.

On the down side, I would have loved to see more graphic novel portion throughout the book. There were maybe 6 "comic" sections of the book. I loved the drawings and detail of them and would have liked to see a little more incorporation of the novel and graphic novel format. While I understand the way it was sectioned it just felt like more graphic novel section.

Malice is for ages 12 and up and I wouldn't really recommend it going much lower age wise then that. While I wasn't freaked out by the amount of scariness in the book, there is a lot of suspense and moments of the book that got my heart racing a little. While not your typical "horror" book there was plenty of creepiness that wasn't over the top and just the right amount. Wooding does an excellent job with building just the right amount of suspense to make it seem scary and then have the major scare factor come along.

In the end I enjoyed really Malice and I can't wait for the second part of the novel to come out. While I don't normally read scary books I found this novel captivating enough that I just couldn't put it down. Readers will find themselves wondering if a place like Malice really does exist after finishing with the book. A great read for the month of October or for any time!

(This has been reviewed based on a publisher provided ARC)


Okie said...

This sounds like a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing the review. :)

Cindy said...

You're very welcome! I really enjoyed the whole concept and will be looking forward to the second book. I have to say the cover is very striking. It's raised and just different :)

Sara said...

Oo, that piqued my interest. Thanks for the review. :)

Cindy said...

You're very welcome! I'd love to see what you think of it! I have to admit the title is what got me and the unique take on going into a graphic novel :)

Anonymous said...

I have read the book and I couldn't have agreed more with every thing Cindy said...
It is an awesome book, Chris Wooding is hands down my favorite author and I am so anxious for the next book! I recommend this book one hundred percent! Excellent read!

Cindy said...

Glad you like it. I'm looking forward to the second book!


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