The Forest King is of the launch books of Actionopolis, a new imprint featuring books for young readers by some of the most talented writers and artists in the fields of comic books and animation. It's such a simple idea it's amazing no one has tried this before. Woodlark's Shadow isn't quite what I expected, but if the rest of the Actionopolis books are as high-quality as this one, it's a worthwhile experiment. In Woodlark's Shadow, young Justin Woodlark moves to a small town his family has a history with. He and the local children get caught up in a creepy game in the woods that's part Hide and Seek, part Murder in the Dark. The game turns frightening, though, when some of the children are hurt, and Justin finds reason to believe it's much more than just a game. There's an interesting contradiction in this book: it skews a bit younger than the age group I expected it to be aimed at (ages 8-to rather than the older "Young Adult" demographic), but at the same time, it's a much darker, more frightening book than I expected it to be. Mishkin's strong prose is aided by exquisite line artwork by the fantastic Tom Mandrake, best known for work on superhero books like The Spectre, which delved into the horror genre itself. I was quite impressed by this little book. I find myself awaiting the sequel, and anxious to see what else Actionopolis has in store.
Courtesy of Teens Read Too
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 16 years ago
Justin Woodlark is quite sure of two things: the forest surrounding his new home in a small town in the middle of nowhere is nothing like the hustle and bustle of New York City, and that same forest is home to a creature unlike anything he's ever known before. Sure, he was scared of the forest at first, especially when he got lost. But now he's spent lots of time under the shade of the trees, in daytime and at twilight, playing games with his friends like "Old Man of the Forest." Still, though, there's something about the forest that disturbs him, and it's somehow connected to the iron poles set into the ground throughout the woods; poles that are impossible to dislodge. Then two things happen that prove to Justin that the woods hold an ancient evil. First, there's the old man Smith, who likes to ask questions about Justin and his time in the woods, but who refuses to answer questions. When he frightens Justin, leading the young teen to push the old man, tensions escalate. And when a game of "Old Man of the Forest" goes terribly wrong, ending up in lots of aches and pains, not to mention fears, Justin knows that there's something alive and sinister in the woods surrounding his home. When he sets out to investigate with his two best friends, Alice and Rob, the three teens find more than they bargained for--a monstrous creature with gigantic fangs and skin that resembles leaves. Can they overcome this evil with the help of the mysterious iron poles embedded in the forest floor, or is this creature simply a sign of things to come? THE FOREST KING is an easy, quick read, perfect for younger teens, pre-teens, or older reluctant readers. The constant action and fantasy elements will appeal to young readers, who will be happy to know that this is the first book in a series. Reviewed by: Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius"
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