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Acclaimed author Chris Wooding's first graphic novel -- fun fantasy-adventure with a macabre twist!

Seifer's life is about to become a royal pain. . . . As captain of the local skullball team, Seifer Tombchewer is the envy of his peers. He's fast, he's strong, and he flies circles around the competition. But Seifer's always dreamed of more--of leaving his tiny, remote village for a new life beyond the mountains.

He just never dreamed it would ...

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Acclaimed author Chris Wooding's first graphic novel -- fun fantasy-adventure with a macabre twist!

Seifer's life is about to become a royal pain. . . . As captain of the local skullball team, Seifer Tombchewer is the envy of his peers. He's fast, he's strong, and he flies circles around the competition. But Seifer's always dreamed of more--of leaving his tiny, remote village for a new life beyond the mountains.

He just never dreamed it would happen like this. Knocked unconscious and abducted, Seifer awakens in the royal palace to learn that Prince Talon Pandemonium has gone missing. And since Seifer is a ringer for Talon, it's his duty to replace the missing royal in his roles of diplomat, warrior, and Lord Defender of the Realm.

He might fool Talon's sisters. He might fool Talon's army. But Seifer has little hope of fooling Talon's enemies. . . .

Chris Wooding and debut artist Cassandra Diaz team for a classic tale of mistaken identity set against the breathtakingly original backdrop of the Darkling Realm.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Maggie Chase
Thoughts of Little Lord Fauntleroy, Twelfth Night, and The Prince and the Pauper will come to mind in this entertaining romp of deception, mystery, and interesting characters. A simple mountain boy, Siefer Tombchewer, is contemplating his future when he is suddenly bonked over the head with bats by a posse of pig-nosed creatures in red hooded robes, then transported to the castle of the Darkling Realm where he is to temporarily take the place of the missing Prince Talon, who bears a striking resemblance to Siefer. Then Siefer, a fairly kind and respectable boy, learns to take on a persona more like the prince's: bossy, short-tempered, self-centered, so as to fool everyone, including their arch enemies, the kingdom and rulers of Illuma. Siefer's royal advisor is a short, grumpy looking bald guy with horns—actually, all the main characters have horns, and most have wings, and we are continually kept in suspense about his advisor's real intent, as well as Siefer's true identity and past. Someone is out to destroy Siefer, but we don't know who. We only know that Siefer has unflexed powers he is yet to be aware of, he rules with a just and fair hand, and he battles numerous foes with equal parts cunning and luck. The snarky, humorous dialogue will appeal to many fans of graphic novel fantasies, and the budding romance between Siefer and smart, fearless Cassie will also keep readers going. The illustrations are eye-catching with bits of color popping off of the dark gray background of every frame. Though there are battles and scuffles, the frames are not, thankfully, drenched in blood and pierced or dismembered body parts. It's an entertaining story that will have readers looking forward to the next installation. Reviewer: Maggie Chase
VOYA - Lisa Martincik
Seifer Tombchewer is an ace at skullball and loves to read, but those activities cannot keep him from pining for adventure away from Crowscale Village. The Queen of the Darkling Realm fulfills his wish, kidnapping him to take the place of missing Prince Talon Pandemonium, whom he mysteriously resembles. As Seifer stumbles his way through learning princely manners, he must survive assassination attempts, fight battles, and maybe make the realm a better place. Known for his adult and young adult fantasy and adventure novels, Wooding's first venture into comic books features a plot reminiscent of "The Prince and the Pauper" in a world where people have batwings or stone skin or horns. Weird and sometimes gross (belching contest) humor leavens the built-in drama; a comically illustrated "Big face plague" afflicts the homeland of Seifer's magic-wielding girlfriend, Cassie, and the royal family includes princesses Sarcoma and Apoxia. The computer-slick, manga-inspired art by newcomer Diaz carries the humor—and cute characters like Prince Talon's giant, distrustful cat—stylishly and well. The dark blue and red hues give the world a distinctive look and feel, but some of the character work feels a bit stilted. Overall much of the book is guessable, as Seifer's skullball skills inevitably come into play and readers learn that his homebody father is more than he seems, but the humor and fast pace keep it lively and fun. The slim volume really needs a sequel to feel fully fleshed out, but at this time one is not confirmed. Reviewer: Lisa Martincik
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Seifer Tombchewer lives in a tiny village, and the most excitement he experiences is when he's playing a challenging game of skullball. One day he fulfills his desire to go beyond the mountains and see the rest of the world, but the wish comes about in an unexpected way. Seifer is kidnapped and told that he has to impersonate the missing Prince Talon, with whom he shares an uncanny likeness. As in The Prisoner of Zenda and other similar retellings of this classic story, Seifer starts making decisions very unlike the ones the prince would usually make, and these decisions increase his popularity. He also begins to fall in love with a girl who thinks he's the prince. This story is set in the Darkling Realm, a universe filled with unusual humanoid creatures. Seifer can fly, for example, and this ability is key both in skullball games and in pivotal battle scenes. While this story is fantastical and suspenseful, it is also very funny. The full-color artwork complements the writing style, and Wooding's verbal jokes are matched by Diaz's visual gags. She mixes a traditional cartoon style with a manga edge, and readers will be entranced by the colorful combination of wings, horns, and spiky hair on the characters.—Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library
From the Publisher

Praise for Malice:

((star)) "This nail-biter will keep readers glued to the story until the very last page is turned.... Wooding has fashioned an elaborate fantasy in which the world is dark and the peril is real." - School Library Journal, starred review

"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... making this a memorable multimedia experience." - Publishers Weekly

"What seems to be a typical horror plot takes several delicious twists as the teens learn more about their surroundings.... The creative formatting, fast pace, and classic horror elements will surely satisfy any teen who loves a good scare." - The Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books

Kirkus Reviews
A supposed village lad kidnapped to stand in for the vanished prince he resembles rises to the challenge. More or less. Set in a Darkling Realm of horned, bat-winged people, the tale takes young Seifer Tombchewer (his name inherited from an ancestor who went bonkers after eating "something poisonous that fell asleep in his porridge") to the royal palace of Pandemonium, where he's given the choice of temporarily masquerading as Prince Talon or being fed to "psycho carnage beasts." Making the reasonable choice entails learning how to behave like an arrogant, selfish twit--as well as being mauled by "his" gigantic pet cat, surviving assassination attempts, outbelching the chieftain of a neighboring warrior clan and defeating an invading army. Fortunately, he does have allies, including his royal "sister" Princess Hypoxia and magic-wielding girlfriend-to-be Lady Carcassa, daughter of gambling addict Baron Canasta Malefica. Interspersing outsized GRNARGH! BLORP! SOOG! YAAAAAA! sound effects with scenes featuring sharp-featured, elegantly slender figures, debut illustrator Diaz crafts panels of Japanese comics–style art for Wooding's somewhat less-than-earnest adventure story. The real prince's continued absence, a hint of secrets in Seifer's own past and the sudden arrival of "his" fiancée Lady Asphyxia point to sequels. An action-packed, tongue-in-cheek romp fitted out with snarky dialogue, heroic fantasy tropes aplenty and a notably resilient protagonist. (Graphic novel. 11-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439877596
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/1/2012
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 240,454
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

For the young, impressively prolific author Chris Wooding, writing has always been of interest. Wooding was born in 1977 in Leicester, an ex-mining town in England. To escape from a relatively monotonous environment during his youth, he became an avid reader of fantasy, sci-fi, and horror stories by such authors as C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, and Orson Scott Card. His familiarity with these genres has helped shape his own style and preference for writing.

Wooding began writing at the age of 16, and his first novel Crashing was published when he was 19. He spent his next few years writing extensively while studying English Literature at the University of Sheffield. His works from this period include a wide range of styles from fantasy to political works to teenage stories.

The 27-year-old author has now completed 17 books and many short stories. In 2004, Scholastic published his critically acclaimed novel, The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, a horror story set in Victorian England and originally published in England. Wooding received several awards for this novel including the Silver Award and was long-listed for the Carnegie Medal. In addition, Wooding is developing a script for the screen adaptation of The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray.

In his free time, Wooding likes to participate in backpacking, touring with his band, and listening to ska music. He has traveled extensively to places such as America, Southeast Asia, and Germany. Currently, Wooding resides in London.

Cassandra Diaz is a recent graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She lives in Houston, Texas. Pandemonium is her first published work.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2012

    This  book is amazing i love that there is a love triangle and t

    This  book is amazing i love that there is a love triangle and the struggles hes having getting through being someone he is not. And i have a feeling that the prince and seifer dont look alike out of pure coincidence. Theres someyhing hes not being told about his life and i cant wait till the next book comes out now that the princes fiance is back

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2013



    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2014

    Amazing, I hope there is a sequel.

    I really do

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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