We all have something we’re afraid of. Spider, snakes, even public speaking are common phobias, but for high school student Zadie Lu … she’s afraid of her own shadow.
Zadie sees shadows in a very different way than most people. She sees shadows around her small town that move in ways shadows should not move, and she gets the sense that the shadows are watching her. Possibly even trying to kill her. But shadows don’t act on their own … do they?
It’s tough enough being a teenager in school, but when shadows make you jumpy you become easy prey for other school kids. It doesn’t help that Zadie’s already an oddity because her brother died recently and she’s also trying to deal with grief. And just what are her parents doing to help? Nothing, it seems like, except living in denial.
When the shadows start talking to her, and claiming something very disturbing, Zadie needs to talk it out with someone and goes to the school counselor. Except the school has just gotten a new counselor and she seems to have an unusually high interest in Zadie and she isn’t surprised by Zadie’s talk of the shadows. And when she mentions knowing Zadie’s mother had similar experiences, life in the Lu household will never be the same.
I really got into this story – author Joe Henderson does a wonderful job capturing the life of a teenage student, and building a story. I was definitely caught up in wanting to know what was coming next and looking for explanations to things that were happening around Zadie. Artist Lee Garbett’s work fits really well with the story and the likely target audience (teens).
One issue I had with the writing was the very episodic nature of the story. I recognize this was written first for comics and then bundled into a graphic novel and I definitely expect some degree of serialized writing given the circumstances, but this book took it to an extreme. Each chapter (or single comic book issue) built up the story so that it would end on a story-changing event. Every action becomes heightened drama the closer we get to the end of a chapter, a realization is made or discovery uncovered, with just enough left unsaid so that the reader is drawn back to the next chapter (next issue).
It actually gets a bit tiring, this kind of constant action building. I’ve noticed some cable television series’ have been doing this as well (and I don’t care for it on television either). It moves the story along almost too quickly, not giving the reader a chance to really savor any moments or get to know any of the supporting cast of characters. I could have used one more chapter two thirds of the way through to slow the action down just a bit so that we didn’t have to jump from one “What?” moment to the next “No way!” bit without some more explanation.
Still, this was an exciting thrill ride and I think the targeted YA readership, along with the regular graphic novel fans, will really like this book.
Looking for a good book? Shadecraft, Volume 1 is a graphic novel by Joe Henderson and Lee Garbett that offers a fast-paced story with a great deal of intrigue that is sure to keep the reader turning pages to find out what happens next. Student graphic novel readers are especially likely to appreciate this.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
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Shadecraft, Volume 1
author: Joe Henderson
artist: Lee Garbett
publisher: Image Comics
paperback, 144 pages