Thursday, January 27, 2011


Havoc (Malice)Havoc by Chris Wooding (illustrated by Dan Chernett) 
Scholastic Press, 2010
396 pages
3.5 out of 5

There's no going back.

Everyone knows the rumors -- if you gather the right things and say the right words, you'll be taken to Malice, a world that exists within a terrifying comic book.

Seth managed to escape from Malice, but it meant leaving his best friend, Kady, trapped there.  And he's not sure whether he should try to take down the Malice comic from his own world or go back with an artifact he thinks can help from within.  He is sure that he's desperate to save Kady.

Meanwhile, Kady has her own battles to fight. She's trying to find Havoc, a rebel group of kids who want to fight Tall Jake, Malice's cruel overlord.  But she can't help feeling that someone's watching her and that Tall Jake knows what her plans are before she puts them into action.

Malice is spreading.  Tall Jake is gaining influence on the world outside the comic.  Seth and Kady think that if they gather the right objects and find the right people, they'll be able to defeat Tall Jake once and for all.  The only question

I was super-excited to read this title and called dibs on it before it even made it to the shelf (just one benefit of working at the library).

Overall, I love the way this book works.  The majority is text with section of comic mixed in.  It's a really interesting idea and it works quite well for this story.  It also picks up right where it left off in the first one.  I like it when this happens.  Sometimes it's hard to play catch up.

I'm sad to report that I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the first one.  Elements of the story were fun and interesting, and there's some real imagination behind Malice.  The ending, however, fell a bit flat for me.  Things do get resolved, but still there's a nagging feeling that the story ended a little prematurely.  (For some reason, I thought this was supposed to be a trilogy; maybe that's why I feel a little gypped).

During the big battle, there's a line that seems really out of place.  I won't reveal it because it's the big monster, but damn did it seem like I slipped into Dungeons and Dragons for a minute.  Anyway, the rest of the story and dialogue fall in line with the first.  Kady, Justin, and Seth were exactly as I remember them.  It does get a little heavier on the romance and can get a little too saccharine for my taste, but it's not too overdone. 

I am glad I read it, and I did enjoy it.  I just wish there was a bit more to it.  Not necessarily this novel, but perhaps the ending could have been delayed for one more.  I think it would have helped the story feel complete.  

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