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Trade Reviews

  Booklist Review

There have been several attempts to graft graphic-novel elements into prose, but for the most part, there's been little inherent reasoning (other than a general neatness factor, or baser marketing ploys) behind those choices. That's not the case in this book. Set in England, the story revolves around an über-underground fantasy-horror comic, Malice. Rumor has it that if you perform a certain ritual, you'll be sucked into the comic world by the malevolent Tall Jake. Of course, teens know all about this, and adults haven't a clue, so when Seth and Kady's friend goes missing and is then seen being killed by shadow beings in the pages of the comic, the two head off into the world of Malice to investigate. It's nice to see comics actually play a role in a half-comic, half-prose work (though the split's actually closer to 90/10 percent, in favor of prose), but the action in the panels is often clunky and difficult to follow. Still, the premise is inviting enough and the world intriguing enough to ensure readers for this introductory installment in a multivolume series.--Chipman, Ian Copyright 2009 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

In this hybrid-format horror/fantasy restless teens in search of adventure pass back and forth between their world and Malicea tenebrous, ruined city stocked with clockwork monsters and other hazards. Seth's suspicions about a string of disappearances are confirmed when he actually spots a vanished acquaintance being killed by toothy attackers in the pages of a strange, hard-to-get comic. Soon he and his best friend, Kady, find a way into that comic's plane, where they discover allies both human and otherwise, as well as hints of a resistance to the evildoers who have wrested the city of Malice from its rightful ruler. Chernett illustrates selected high spots with sections of dark sequential panels filled with jagged shapes, confused action and oddball sound effects: "THOOM! RRRROOOWWRRRRRUNCH." Eventually all the narrow escapes and ominous scritching sounds in the dark seem repetitive, but for readers who value thrills over psychological depth this series kick-off offers plenty of brisk action. One sequel announced, so far. (Fantasy. 11-13) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Everyone's heard of it...but nobody's read it. Luke, Seth, and Kady have heard all the stories about Malice-a secret comic about a strange, awful world full of tricks and traps, and overseen by a sinister master of ceremonies, Tall Jake. But if the rumours are to be believed, the children in this comic are real... <p>Luke is the first to fall into this trap-and Seth and Kady are the next to follow. They have left our world and entered the sinister comic book. The question is-can they make it out alive?</p> <p>From acclaimed author, Chris Wooding, a novel that's half fact, half comic-and all thrills.</p>
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