Great Illustrated Books


By Chris Wooding

Scholastic , 2009
Pages : 384
Suggested Ages: 11 and Up
ISBN: 054516043X

"I have to show you something," skinny, red-haired Luke tells his friend, Heather. With his mother away for the evening, he's invited her over to share a secret. Heather loves secrets. When he pulls the sealed rectangle of black wax paper from his desk drawer, though, she feels herself go cold. All of the kids have heard about the forbidden and forbidding comic book called Malice. This issue contains a terrifying story about a girl, caught in a labyrinth of glass and wire, running for her life from a metal mannequin. Luke tries to reassure Heather, saying, "Those kids in the comic, they're not real kids . . . They say the artist looks in the missing persons sections of the papers and he uses those kids as models for the characters in the story."

There's a ritual the kids all know that is supposed to call up Tall Jake who will then take you to Malice. Luke doesn't believe in it, of course. To prove to Heather that there's nothing to be afraid of, he goes through the ritual, ending with the chant, "Tall Jake, take me away!" It's said that Tall Jake comes for you when you're alone. Two days later, Luke disappears from home, inexplicably leaving his cell phone behind. A panicked Heather seeks out Luke's best friend, Seth, to confide in him what she witnessed that night. Seth and another friend, Kady, search Luke's bedroom for clues and find a map on his computer, pinpointing a shop in London, and the comic book, Malice. Incredibly, every single page is now blank. They decide to take the train to London to check out that shop, though Kady is skeptical. She says, "It's beyond stupid, Seth. You're telling me you think he's been taken by a character in a comic book?"

Short, suspenseful chapters are interspersed with four to twelve-page black and white comic book-style inserts, which tell part of the story. How bone-chilling is this book? Take a good look at the gleaming, blood red cover. The sinister 3-D figure in gray trench coat and hat, staring out malevolently with one red eye, holding his scepter in one gloved hand, and beckoning with the other? That's Tall Jake. Warning: This is not a book you want your kids to read before bed. When they say they want a really, really scary book, though, heh heh heh, this is it. They'll also be desperate to read the sequel, Havoc.

Reviewed by : JF.


If you love this book, then try:

Billingsley, Franny. The Folk Keeper. Simon & Schuster, 1999.

Collins, Suzanne. Gregor the Overlander. Scholastic, 2003. (And others in the Gregor series.


Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. Scholastic, 2008. (And others in the trilogy.)

Delaney, Joseph. The Revenge of the Witch. Greenwillow, 2005. (And others in The Last Apprentice series.)

Fisher, Catherine. Incarceron. Dial, 2010.

Gaiman, Neil. Coraline. HarperCollins, 2002.

Gaiman, Neil. The Graveyard Book. HarperCollins, 2008.

Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Found. Simon & Schuster, 2008. (And others in the Missing series.)

Higgins, F. E. The Bone Magician. Feiwel and Friends, 2008.

Jennings, Paul. Unreal!: Eight Surprising Stories. Viking, 1992.

Landy, Derek. Skulduggery Pleasant. HarperCollins, 2007.

Patterson, James. The Angel Experiment. Little, Brown, 2005. (And others in the Maximum Ride series.)

Patterson, James, and Michael Ledwidge. The Dangerous Days of Daniel X. Little, Brown, 2008. (And others in the Daniel X series.)

Stroud, Jonathan. The Amulet of Samarkand. Hyperion, 2003.

Wooding, Chris. Havoc. Scholastic, 2010.

Critics have said

The creative formatting, fast pace and classic horror elements will surely satisfy any teen who likes a good scare.
Bulletin of the Center for Children