My 16 year old son shoved a paperback book in my face this morning in the subtle ways that teens have while I was in the middle of pouring blueberry syrup over Trader Joe’s cinnamon crumpets. “ Read it Mom, its great, its dark, it is part of a series.” The book is HAVOC by Chris Wooding.
My son wants Tall Jake to be his costume for Dragon Con and he is researching how to make hats. A 16 year old researching millinery really should have been a big tip off that this series is something special.
So I call down to him as he races down the stairs to be late to school yet again. “Why is it great?”
I get the expected response. “It just is Mom, I can’t tell you why it will ruin the story. You just gotta read it!It starts a little dark, but then it gets better.” And with an EEP! at the time , he races out the door.
Well then … I see its allure. It talks right to its target market – Young Adult. The book is a mix of story, comic, and chat speak. The story has Frank Miller pacing in the world of Steampunk horror called MALICE. As an adult I see overused tropes and clichés… but are they overused when it is the first time you read them?
A significant element is a memory loss effect which is why the constant references to things in the past that the reader does not know about. I agree with my son that it is more annoying than effective. The history of the book explains the problem with pacing. Originally Malice and Havoc were one book, then the editors and marketing department decided it was too long and broke it in 2. So the second half is missing some of the bridges you would expect in the second book of a duology.
A fun read for a preteen or teen but did not cross over the way some young adult books do to be really engaging for me.