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Malice by Chris Wooding
Cover Artist: Dan Chernett
Review by Gayle Surrette
Scholastic Press Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780545160438
Date: 01 October 2009 List Price $14.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Everyone had heard the rumors. It was said that if you said the words after lighting the ingredients you'd be taken to Malice--the world of the comic book. Malice wasn't just any comic. You couldn't buy it at just any comic store. You had to find the one place where it was sold, and even then they might not sell it to you. But Luke had managed to get a copy and he wanted to share it with Heather. She read it with him but it creeped her out and when he wanted to do the ceremony she refused, so he did it alone. The next day, Luke disappeared.

Seth and Kady had become friends the minute they met when Kady moved into town from London. Luke had been in their circle of friends. They couldn't imagine what had happened to him until Heather came and told Seth about Malice. Now Seth is determined to find out about Malice -- the comic and whether or not the place, the ceremony, and Tall Jake are real. Kady scoffs, but she's willing to help. Afterall, if kids were disappearing into Malice wouldn't someone notice. Didn't anyone come back? Wouldn't they talk?

This story was far creepier than I expected. It works on a lot of levels -- remember those old stories that everyone knew when you were a kid. The ones that got told on sleep overs and then no one dared shut their eyes or walk home in the dark -- you know the ones. While Malice has echoes of those stories and it has a way of making the hairs on the back of your neck stand up while you read--making you wonder if someone left a window open in the wall behind your reading chair.

Malice is not a graphic novel though it does have graphic inserts for when one of the characters is reading the comic Malice. You'd think this would bring you out of the story to flip the page and find yourself reading a comic rather than a novel, but it works and works well, making the story even more real.

Wooding tells a tight tale that is believable in its own way. You find yourself wondering what if--would I say the words? Why would anyone say the words, especially if they'd read the comic? It can't be real, can it?

Even when you get to the last page, the adventure is not over. Malice ends on a cliffhanger and the story continues in Havoc coming soon. Even without knowing how things turn out, if your looking for a good fright before Halloween check out Malice.

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