Thursday, December 10, 2015

Book Review: In the Shadows by Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo

In the Shadows
Author: Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo
Publication: Scholastic Press (April 29, 2014)

 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.

My Thoughts: This books tells a creepy story in text and illustrations. The illustrated portions are completely wordless and show a man with a scar by his eye chasing after some creepy characters including a man with a white streak in his hair and other characters with all white eyes. The graphic portion has that same non-aging character searching over more than 100 years.

The text portion of the novel primarily takes place in the same year and concentrates on one summer spent at a boarding house. The boarding house is run by Mrs. Johnson aided by her daughters Cora and Minnie.

Cora is feeling guilty because she fears that her attempts to spy on the local witch caused her father's death. She used to be daring and adventurous but now she is staid and calm and fearful. Minnie, her younger sister, is imaginative and always telling stories and wants the sister back that she feels she lost.

The first new visitor is Arthur who is welcomed like family. He is seventeen and has become involved in a mystery. His father who spent most of his life investigating a secretive group disappeared; his mother went mad and killed herself. Arthur has his father's research but doesn't know what he can do about the secretive group.

Two other young men arrive at the boardinghouse for the summer too. Charles and Thomas Wolcott were sent by their father. Charles is dying and Thomas will do anything to help him. Thomas overheard something his father said to a mysterious woman that led him to believe that one of the boys was going to be a sacrifice to answer for a favor granted to the boys' father.

The kids have all sorts of adventures as they investigate the strangers who are gathering in the town. They want to uncover their secrets. The story had a creepy, Gothic feel to it - all dark and mysterious. The same dark, mysterious feel is also evident in the illustrated portions of the book.

It isn't until the end of the book that the text and graphic portions come together into one complete story - a story with ancient curses, immortal beings, and an immortal love too.

Favorite Quote:
They were not likely to be alone in the house, and if it were a good person who'd taken Mary's body down, he would have answered the door when Daniel had knocked. This did not worry Arthur. He trusted wicked people far more than good people, because wicked people acted in their own best interest, whereas good people's actions often made no sense at all.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.


  1. Uh...your review seems to be missing. Though I am anxious to see what you thought! I bought this on impulse earlier this year but still need to read it!

    1. Thanks for letting me know about the missing review. I fixed it.


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