Mitchel Broussard's Reviews > Malice

Malice by Chris Wooding
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May 29, 11

bookshelves: fantasy, graphic-novels-and-comics, ya-fiction, series, summer-2011, parallel-universes, paranormal-and-supernatural, thriller-suspense
Read from August 17, 2010 to May 29, 2011 — I own a copy

I never thought a book aimed at such a young audience could be as dark, smart and exciting as Malice. Combining elements of both the comic and novel mediums, Malice thrusts us into the sinister world of the evil comic; a place where nothing is as it seems.

The book opens with a very Jumanji-like scene where a guy tries to impress a girl he has a crush on with a neat, but somehow creepy object he's found. Here it's Malice, a creepy comic that details the trials of children being chased, maimed and murdered in a world built of horror and madness. The kid, Luke, taunts the girl into starting the ritual that calls upon Tall Jake, and is rumored to take you away to Malice.

A couple of weeks later, Seth and Kady discover Luke's disappearance, and follow the trail to the comic's alternate world.

The opening is slow, and takes its time explaining the paranormal events going on, but it sold me in the last 100 pages or so. The world-within-a-comic sounds kind of cheap and lame, but Wooding throws in some fantasy elements that make you think that this isn't just inside a comic; it could be an entire alternate universe. There are different lands (The Menagerie, the Clock Tower, the Oubliette) and they're all well realized in their creepiness. I really hope the sequels explore more of the parts of Malice hinted at in here.

The only complaint I had was the comic sections interspersed within the novel. They contain many of the book's action set-pieces, and the art just isn't up to snuff. It's difficult telling which character is which, much less what is going on in some of the frames. Maybe it's just the juxtaposition of going from novel to comic every 100 or so pages that threw me off, but these comic sections needed more detail to justify their existence. I know Wooding could have written more tighter, exciting action in his pretty solid exposition than what is in those comics. It's kinda sad that the main hook of the novel is the weakest part of it, but maybe it will improve with upcoming books.

I didn't expect much from a middle-grade novel, but Malice was just dark and exciting enough to warrant its reading. And with that awesomely staged cliffhanger, you can bet that I'll be back for Havoc.
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Reading Progress

05/27/2011 page 115
30.0% "Wow. Very Jumanji/Zathura atmosphere. Really enjoying."

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