Review: Malice by Chris Wooding

Malice by Chris Wooding
Malice by Chris Wooding

Malice by Chris Wooding tells the story of a rumoured but hardly ever seen comic book called – you’ve guessed it – Malice.
A comic book that’s near on impossible to get hold of – what teenager could resist? Not only that but the rumour is that if perform a simple ceremony and say a little chant (not unlike “Bloody Mary”) Tall Jake will come and take you away, into the world of Malice – into the comic book itself.
But that’s all just rumours – isn’t it? Where are all those children that go missing without a trace? These are questions that Kady and Seth – the two main characters start to ask themselves when their friend Luke disappears, just days after telling them he’s managed to get a copy of the extremely rare Malice.

There’s two things you’ll notice immediately about this book:
1.) The cover (for some editions) is 3D – not that you need 3D glasses, but there is a plastic covering on the front, which is has Tall Jake and all the lettering embossed on it. This will definitely draw your eye.
2.) Some of this book is in comic form – about 10% of it.

I didn’t know about the 3D cover when I purchased it as I brought it online, but the comic book part intrigued me but I really wondered if this would work – graphic novel/comic book writing is a lot different than novel writing. But it actually works really well – not all parts of the story that take place in Malice (the comic book world) are in comic book form, in fact only a few are but it does really add to the storytelling. Really seeing what the readers of Malice might well be seeing – or what a comic book world might just look like. Fears of Wooding messing this merging avoided – I do think a better illustrator could have been used.

The story is very much about solving the mystery and defeating evil. There are so many questions the characters (and reader) want the answers to – what is Malice? Who is Tall Jake? Why take children? – to name a few, that you are on a journey of discovery with the characters as they slowly uncover clues as to what’s going on. This really drew me in, as the mystery of it all is really big in your mind and you are only spoon fed bites of information at a time.

It’s not often that I read something from the Young Adult genre – as for me this genre can be a bit hit and miss, but I’m really glad I picked this up on a whim. It’s a fantastic read, though my grumble at the end as that I hadn’t realised that this was a two parter – the story cuts off in the middle of all the tension and I was left feeling – where’s the next chapter? But alas, the story continues (literally – this isn’t a sequel) in Havoc: There’s no Going Back. Which I will be purchasing to read soon, because I really loved Malice.

*Side Note* – Got to say, the author writes a lot about the area where the main characters live – and play (Peak District), which is not too far from where I actually live. So I thoroughly enjoyed reading about those places and landmarks that I’ve known all my life.

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