Told in alternating prose and art chapters, IN THE SHADOWS is an impeccable web of stories woven together with intrigue, magic, and love.
We are thrown immediately into the center of a dangerous ritual conducted behind locked doors on a dark and story night. From there we meet Cora and her sister Minnie, and experience the terror of their first encounter with the town witch. The sisters' tale is told in prose, while the young man's century-long search for those at the heart of the wicked conspiracy is told entirely in illustrations.
What can I say about Jim Di Bartolo's artwork? He is a master of storytelling with these illustrations. There is so much tension and drama in the nameless young man's story, which is complete without dialogue or a prose narrative. There are breathtaking hints of horror, and a whole lot of danger. It is an intense, scary, and incredibly brave journey that I flipped through several times before finally putting the book down once I had finished it.
I loved Kiersten White's prose chapters as well. Cora and Minnie are so very different from each other, yet so relatable for the reader. When their stories intertwined with that of the brothers Charles and Thom, I was delighted at the prospects for character development and romance. I was not disappointed.
The only disappointment was not getting enough prose from Arthur's point of view. However, I completely understand why. I simply love that man and want the entire story from his point of view. That's not too much to ask, is it? You'll see why!
Really, though, everyone who likes fantastical stories, who wants a different kind of graphic novel, or who is looking for something totally new and refreshing should read IN THE SHADOWS.
Epic in scope, with limitless imagination, IN THE SHADOWS is a work of storytelling genius.
Literary merit: Excellent
Recommendation: Highly Recommended
Level: High School and Adult