Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Malice by Chris Wooding (4/5 stars)

When I saw that Wooding had released a book that was part graphic novel and part book I was very excited. Not to mention the cool premise of the book. So when I was offered this book through the Amazon Vine program I was ecstatic. It ended up being a great book; I didn't realize that it is the first book in a duology. The second book "Havoc" is supposed to be released some time in 2010. Overall it is an interesting read and a pretty cool idea, it has some issues but for the most part those are out-weighed by the creative storyline.

Luke and Heather sit down to read a comic called Malice. Malice is full of incomplete stories of teens fleeing horrible things in the dark. Luke decides to try and summon Tall Jack, the bad guy from Malice, doing a ritual that kids are talking about. When the lights go out, eventually Luke finds out that the ritual worked. Seth is Luke's best friend and after Luke's disappearance he decides to check out Malice for himself. When he sees Luke's grisly death in the next issue of Malice he decides that he needs to stop Tall Jack. He willingly enters Malice and there runs into another boy that helps Seth learn the ropes. From there the boys descend into the hellish city of Malice.

This is an interesting book and it is very creepy. Most of the book is written as a novel. Specific fight scenes are then done as scenes from a graphic novel. So you have mostly book and a little graphic novel. Does this work for the story? Kind of. I am a big fan of graphic novels and books, so I was looking forward to this. Unfortunately the graphic novel scenes are done in a very sparse and non-detailed style. This ends up making it hard to tell what is going on in the graphic novel scenes, the scenes are actually drawn in a kind of immature way. I found myself wishing that Wooding had gotten the artist from one of the mangas I read (like Hellsing or Berserk) to draw the monster scenes, because they were just lacking.

As for the novel itself it was fascinating. Wooding does a good job of depicting a horror filled world that is interesting, very detailed, and full of wonder. The characters are so-so. They are kind of stereotypical and at times talk like they are in a cheesy action films, but I didn't really mind that fit with the story. The strong point through is definitely the super creative world that Wooding has created. Also the idea behind how the kids get to Malice is fascinating.

Another warning, the book ends mid-plot...which always irritates me. The remainder of the story will be picked up in "Havoc". Overall I enjoyed the book, even though it wasn't perfect. I have previously read "Poison" and "Storm Thief" by Wooding and in both cases it was the ending that absolutely blew me away. So I will have to see how the next book plays out before I can fully judge this first one.


  1. thanks for the review. i was wondering about this one. i saw the book at the bookstore and the cover is amazing the way it pops out and has that texture. too bad the graphics don't meet expectations. interesting storyline though.
    btw: you've been awarded

  2. Yeah, I was drawn to the cover too! It was an interesting story line though and I really want to read "havoc" now!

    Thank you for the award too :-)