The setup is your basic Teens Against the Machine story, with some good supernatural twists thrown in. A sinister group called the New Order has taken over society and suppresses not only all dissent but also all magic (except the magic under their control). Teenage siblings Whit and Wisty are a wizard and a witch, like their parents, and they are destined to be the liberators of their people, but they are also on their own, as their parents have gone underground to escape the New Order.
Whit, Wisty and their fellow teenagers have set up their own resistance movement, and they hide out in an abandoned department store while plotting missions against the New Order. Being psychic, the siblings can travel to the Shadowland, an alternate world inhabited mainly by ghosts. In this volume, the agents of the New Order figure out how to get to Shadowland, and Whit and Wisty, together with several other teenagers, must figure out how to keep them out.
Being teenagers, they also have to deal with different personality types and issues of trust --- one of their companions has betrayed them in the past, while another was apparently rude to Wisty, although he ultimately redeems himself, showing that people are sometimes deeper than they seem.
This is a fairly complex book. The point of view shifts back and forth between Whit and Wisty, and the story encompasses alternate worlds (each with its own set of rules) and different types of characters with different powers. The story also moves fast, with plenty of action sequences, and sometimes two simultaneous strands of the story are presented in parallel. That makes this book a better choice for readers who are familiar with graphic novels.
While there is violence in the story, it is never gory, and the seriousness is mitigated somewhat by the fact that characters who die come back in the Shadowland. There is a strong supernatural element, but the characters behave as if this is a normal part of life --- this is not a horror story, more a magical-world story in the tradition of Harry Potter.
Victor Santos's colorful art is manga-influenced but still accessible for readers who don't favor that style. His anatomy is shaky at times, but the characters are well defined, and he illustrates the many action sequences clearly. Everyone on the page seems to be in motion, which works well with the fast-paced storyline.
This story makes a nice addendum to Patterson's prose series as well as an enjoyable stand-alone graphic novel for readers who like a lot of action and a bit of teen angst in their stories.
Reviewed by Brigid Alverson on October 12, 2010
Witch & Wizard: Battle for Shadowland