Tuesday, August 19, 2014

In The Shadows

In The Shadows by Kiersten White

This was a bit of an odd read, the book is part regular print and part graphics. The two media mediums also take place in different times.

....the amazon summary seems extensive and I'm kind of puzzled about this book. So...let's just go there.

An amazon summary, " From the remarkable imagination of acclaimed artist Jim Di Bartolo and the exquisite pen of bestselling author Kiersten White comes a spellbinding story of love, mystery, and dark conspiracy, told in an alternating narrative of words and pictures.

Cora and Minnie are sisters living in a small, stifling town where strange and mysterious things occur. Their mother runs the local boarding house. Their father is gone. The woman up the hill may or may not be a witch.

Thomas and Charles are brothers who’ve been exiled to the boarding house so Thomas can tame his ways and Charles can fight an illness that is killing him with increasing speed. Their family history is one of sorrow and guilt. They think they can escape from it . . . but they can’t.
Arthur is also new to the boarding house. His fate is tied to that of Cora, Minnie, Thomas, and Charles. He knows what darkness circles them, but can’t say why, and doesn’t even know if they can be saved. 

Sinister forces are working in the shadows, manipulating fates and crafting conspiracies. The closer Cora, Minnie, Arthur, Thomas, and Charles get to the truth, the closer they get to harm. But the threat is much bigger than they can see. It is strangling the world.
Until one of the boys decides he wants to save it.
Told in an astonishing mix of art and words, IN THE SHADOWS collides past against future, love against evil, and hope against fear.  The result is both a mystery and a masterpiece." AMAZON LINK OF JUSTICE

This is still a book that puzzles me. I felt constantly disoriented and puzzled while reading the book because the graphic novel portion didn't make sense until the end of the book, but the text portion didn't either.

Let me try to do this how the book did it.

Graphics for the first third of the book reveal that someone is hunting someone else, there's a little boy who is chained up in a cage that maybe can do magic when his blood is spilled. He's got bad teeth. There's a guy with a scar, but other than that all the men are the same. There might have been females involved unsure. Sometimes peoples' eyes are white and that might be zombie? There was once a boy who was missing part of his arm. Not sure why.

Graphics are basically the first third of the book....so I'll talk about text portion a bit anyways.

Cora was not to be outdone by her sister Minnie, so she took the dare of going into the witch's house and the 'witch' told her death was following her. Her father died the next day from a heart attack.

Arthur's parents were consumed by some sort of mystery surrounding a cult of some creep-tastic variety. His father left behind a briefcase which is allegedly full of notes about the mystery that destroyed their family. Arthur's mom went insane and killed herself. Arthur sought out Mrs. Johnson to pass his Father's briefcase to....who happens to be the mother of Cora and Minnie. Naturally, with no other family (and he's questionably related to the Johnsons), Arthur begins to stay in the boarding house with Cora, Minnie, and Mrs. Johnson.

Enter Thomas and Charles whose Father sent them away for the summer for Charles' health (who is sick of something that is not named to my recollection). They naturally strike a friendship of sorts with Cora, Minnie, and Arthur and start to immediately delve deeper into the mystery of the witch (despite Arthur's strongly passive misgivings).

Then things just kind of happened. It was weird and full of 'I hope we solve this mystery' vibe to it...without really explaining anything.

I was mostly annoyed with the graphic section because there was no grounding to what I was being shown, no context. Even when the text portion began there was no grounding context. For a long while, the two stories seemed very irrelevant to each other to the point where I believed this book to be two completely different stories printed together to save money.


BUT, after everything was said and done and ended, I understood most of it...but didn't find it very gratifying to understand anymore. It would have been way better to understand the mystery earlier in the book and to see how it all played out after the youngsters knew the truth of the situation. I was much more interested in finding out more of the mystery rather than to see it merely solved, end book. I sincerely doubt there will be a sequel as well.

So...much mud, not a lot of clarity. I'm glad they tried to use the two formats of story telling as a challenge of sorts, but the overall strength of the story was really lacking.

Happy reading!

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