Adam Watson's Reviews > Black and White

Black and White by Jackie Kessler
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Jul 10, 2009

liked it
Read in July, 2009

Looking at my local brick and mortar, the cover of this book caught my eye. I read the blurbs and impulsively bought it. As a huge fan of comics and super-hero mythology, I figured I'd be entertained.

Well, I was definitely entertained. The authors are strongest on building an environment; they're masters at the throwaway detail that reinforces the future world. I was glad to see strong female protagonists, especially of the "superhero" ilk. It had the burden of being an "origin" story but still kept me flipping the pages. Heck, I liked it enough to want to read Shades of Gray in 2010. I hovered on a four star rating.

But a few things nagged at me to bring down the score. First, the storyline is good, but there are a few plot holes; there's also a few character twists/surprises that were so easy to figure out 200 pages before the reveal, I wondered why it was made so obvious. (It seemed to be played too coy for it to be intentionally obvious, but maybe it just went over my head.) I kept thinking that, in terms of vocabulary or literate style, this could easily be YAL (young adult literature), were it not for the constant profanity and occasional sexual innuendo. Stylistically, the book seems to hover between two worlds. If the authors wanted it to be a more "literary" book (admittedly, a mushy and devisive term, when used as a highbrow indicator), it could have been written less breezily, and really approached some more adult themes that most superhero stories don't touch. And yet . . . with some different word choices, it would have been a home run for YAL.

Still, at the end of the day, I'd recommend it, and I am curious about the next one.
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