This sequel to Malice (2009) draws the rival casts of evil monsters and teenage rebels into climactic battles both in this world and the parallel one behind the pages of a comic. As Seth makes his way back into Malice with the talismanic Shard and joins the effort to mount an attack on the dread Deadhouse, a new ally, Alicia, nervously tracks the House's sinister master Tall Jake to the decrepit English psychiatric hospital where Grendel—the mad, disturbed, misshapen graphic artist (and maybe god?) who has created both the comic and the world it depicts—is imprisoned. Like the opener, this features expertly meshed multiple plotlines, colorful supporting characters (notably a clockwork sabertooth and a Malice resident afflicted with "regenerative leprosy," meaning that he keeps losing body parts that then grow back), frequent eerie skitterings and sudden feelings of dread plus nonstop action that breaks, occasionally, from prose into graphic-novel–style panels festooned with noisy sound effects. A real crowd pleaser, with further episodes possible but not necessary. (Graphic hybrid/fantasy. 11-13)Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Gr 6-9--This much-anticipated sequel to the hybrid novel/comic Malice (Scholastic, 2009) jumps immediately into fast-paced action. Best friends Seth and Kady hadn't put much stock in the urban legend claiming kids who perform a certain ritual will be spirited away into the comic-book world of Malice, a dangerous place controlled by the villainous Tall Jake. But now Kady is trapped there, and Seth is the only one who can come to her aid--if he can find a way to get there. Through multiple points of view, Seth and his friends take readers through heart-pounding twists and turns as the adventures alternate between the steampunk setting of Malice and our world, where Tall Jake seeks to extend his reign. Reluctant readers will be drawn in by the simple writing style interspersed with pages of comic-book-style illustrations that propel the story forward. Characterization is a little thin, but that won't deter those who are hooked on the book's relentless action, mild horror, and inventive world-building. A satisfying conclusion to a compelling read.--Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA[Page 131]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.