Fans of witchcraft literature will appreciate the book’s respectful approach; let’s just say—it’s spellbinding.

READ REVIEW

SHADOW OF DARKNESS

A woman’s tormented by a malevolent spirit that’s made its way from 17th-century Salem in search of revenge.

Diane, a bartender at a go-go club, is looking for her missing friend, Alicia. She uses her psychic abilities and witchcraft to conclude that a book of spells she’d bought—the Book of Shadows—has brought an evil spirit into the present day. Diane travels via hypnosis to 1692 Salem to stop the wicked Joshua and save her friend. But something’s not right when she returns, especially with her fiancé, Anthony, the detective she met while looking for Alicia. The author’s simple, breezy prose reads as young adult, but its mature themes seem appropriate for older readers, particularly since no teen protagonists are present. Regardless, the book’s topic will undoubtedly attract younger bibliophiles, and the novel wouldn’t be unsuitable, since there’s nary a sex scene and violence is typically described after the fact. The journey to old Salem is a turning point and splits the novel in two parts. The first zeroes in on solving the mystery of Alicia’s disappearance and ensuing attacks, as well as a murder, but it’s bogged down by Diane and Anthony’s zigzagging relationship. Anthony is protective but unsupportive; he laughs every time Diane mentions the supernatural. The book, however, flourishes in its 17th-century setting. The dialogue assumes a colonial dialect; for example, a new love interest of Diane’s says, “Thou hast come to join us.” Back in the present day, Anthony besieges Diane with questionable, sometimes aggressive behavior, a strange woman tries to contact her and images of her friends turn monstrous. The novel’s latter half ups the creepiness by saturating the pages in atmosphere, making great use of the cold, snowy outdoors, and portraying Diane in a perpetual dreamlike state.

Fans of witchcraft literature will appreciate the book’s respectful approach; let’s just say—it’s spellbinding.

Pub Date: July 9, 2012

ISBN: 978-1477618127

Page Count: 374

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Using modern language, McDonald spins the well-known tale of the two young, unrequited lovers. Set against Nagar’s at-times...

ROMEO AND JULIET

From the Campfire Classics series

A bland, uninspired graphic adaptation of the Bard’s renowned love story.

Using modern language, McDonald spins the well-known tale of the two young, unrequited lovers. Set against Nagar’s at-times oddly psychedelic-tinged backgrounds of cool blues and purples, the mood is strange, and the overall ambiance of the story markedly absent. Appealing to what could only be a high-interest/low–reading level audience, McDonald falls short of the mark. He explains a scene in an open-air tavern with a footnote—“a place where people gather to drink”—but he declines to offer definitions for more difficult words, such as “dirges.” While the adaptation does follow the foundation of the play, the contemporary language offers nothing; cringeworthy lines include Benvolio saying to Romeo at the party where he first meets Juliet, “Let’s go. It’s best to leave now, while the party’s in full swing.” Nagar’s faces swirl between dishwater and grotesque, adding another layer of lost passion in a story that should boil with romantic intensity. Each page number is enclosed in a little red heart; while the object of this little nuance is obvious, it’s also unpleasantly saccharine. Notes after the story include such edifying tidbits about Taylor Swift and “ ‘Wow’ dialogs from the play” (which culls out the famous quotes).

Pub Date: May 10, 2011

ISBN: 978-93-80028-58-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced...

MACBETH

From the Wordplay Shakespeare series

A pairing of the text of the Scottish Play with a filmed performance, designed with the Shakespeare novice in mind.

The left side of the screen of this enhanced e-book contains a full version of Macbeth, while the right side includes a performance of the dialogue shown (approximately 20 lines’ worth per page). This granular focus allows newcomers to experience the nuances of the play, which is rich in irony, hidden intentions and sudden shifts in emotional temperature. The set and costuming are deliberately simple: The background is white, and Macbeth’s “armor” is a leather jacket. But nobody’s dumbing down their performances. Francesca Faridany is particularly good as a tightly coiled Lady Macbeth; Raphael Nash-Thompson gives his roles as the drunken porter and a witch a garrulousness that carries an entertainingly sinister edge. The presentation is not without its hiccups. Matching the video on the right with the text on the left means routinely cutting off dramatic moments; at one point, users have to swipe to see and read the second half of a scene’s closing couplet—presumably an easy fix. A “tap to translate” button on each page puts the text into plain English, but the pop-up text covers up Shakespeare’s original, denying any attempts at comparison; moreover, the translation mainly redefines more obscure words, suggesting that smaller pop-ups for individual terms might be more meaningful.

Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced e-book makes the play appealing and graspable to students . (Enhanced e-book. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: The New Book Press LLC

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more