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 Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
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.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.