4.8 24
by Chris Wooding

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Three kids get trapped in the world of a deadly comic book in this middle-grade thriller from Chris Wooding.

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Three kids get trapped in the world of a deadly comic book in this middle-grade thriller from Chris Wooding.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Toying with the menace and adventure of urban legends and comic books, Wooding (The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray) introduces readers to the bizarre realm of Malice in this novel/comic book hybrid. Every kid knows how to get there: gather certain ingredients and call six times for Tall Jake, and he may come to steal you away. When their friend Luke vanishes, Seth and Kady theorize that he was taken by Tall Jake, and begin to investigate. Then Seth disappears as well, sucked into a world where mechanical monsters stalk the unwary and the only way home is to obtain a rare white train ticket. As Kady continues to uncover secrets in the real world—including her own connection to Malice—Seth and a new friend undergo a harrowing journey seeking answers. The cliffhanger ending means that many of those answers must wait until the second book, Havoc, planned for 2010. But the fast-paced story line and whimsically dangerous setting will capture plenty of attention. Even more eye-catching are the interspersed sections where comic book panels replace textual narrative (as well as the three-dimensional cover), making this a memorable multimedia experience. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)\
Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
An underground comic book called Malice is gaining quite a following among youth. Its popularity is aided by the gruesome rumor that those who perform a particular ritual will be taken into the comic. It sounds unbelievable, but many of the comic book images do resemble kids who are known to be "Missing." A black feather. A twig. A knot of cat fur. A tear. A clump of hair. Fire. And the phrase "Tall Jake, take me away!" repeated six times. That is what it takes to get the attention of Tall Jake and become a part of the ghastly world of Malice. When friend Luke performs the ritual, he disappears. Later, Seth sees the death of a character he believes to be Luke in the comic book's pages. Seth decides to enter the comic, too, to avenge his friend's death and save the other teens from that horrendous world. It is a disgusting place filled with violence and longing, monsters and clockwork creatures. There are more trapped teens than anyone could have imagined. Meanwhile, the boys' friend Kady is searching London for the comic. Before long, her efforts come to the attention of those who want to preserve Malice—at any cost. Wooding and Chernett attempt to marry text and comic formats in this work, with mixed success. Readers of horror/fantasy genres may appreciate this gruesome, chilling book. This is the first in a series. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green
School Library Journal
Gr 6–10—"Tall Jake, take me away." Say the words six times, burn the secret ingredients, and you will be whisked into the comic-book world of Malice—or so the rumor goes. Seth and Kady don't believe the stories for one second. The teens who have disappeared must be runaways, and the artist who draws the comic must use the missing persons' photos, right? Then their friend Luke disappears, and only a few days later a character who looks remarkably like him appears in an episode of Malice. Seth decides to go into the comic to stop Tall Jake from taking any more kids. When he arrives, he discovers a world with violent clockwork creatures, monsters that drink time, and other trapped teens. Meanwhile, in the real world, Kady begins searching London for the source of the comic, and in doing so finds herself in more danger than she ever imagined. Complete with erratic comic-book panels in which heavily slashed lines enhance the chaotic violence of the novel, this nail-biter will keep readers glued to the story until the very last page is turned. In Malice Wooding has fashioned an elaborate fantasy in which the world is dark and the peril is real. Seth and Kady are strong and exciting characters, and readers will be left holding their breath until the sequel, Havoc, is released.—Heather M. Campbell, formerly at Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO
Kirkus Reviews
In this hybrid-format horror/fantasy restless teens in search of adventure pass back and forth between their world and Malice-a 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! RRRROOOWWRR-RRRUNCH." 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)

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Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Malice Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.74(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.46(d)
650L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

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