Nov 27, 2018

Review--In The Shadows by Kiersten White & Jim Di Bartolo

From the remarkable imagination of acclaimed artist Jim Di Bartolo and the exquisite pen of bestselling author Kiersten White comes a spellbinding story of love, mystery, and dark conspiracy, told in an alternating narrative of words and pictures.

Cora and Minnie are sisters living in a small, stifling town where strange and mysterious things occur. Their mother runs the local boarding house. Their father is gone. The woman up the hill may or may not be a witch.

Thomas and Charles are brothers who’ve been exiled to the boarding house so Thomas can tame his ways and Charles can fight an illness that is killing him with increasing speed. Their family history is one of sorrow and guilt. They think they can escape from it . . . but they can’t.

In the Shadows was a book I’ve had on my TBR pile for a few years. I thought the idea of it was intriguing; telling the story through words AND illustrations. Kiersten White did the writing and Jim Di Bartolo did the artwork and it was a really intriguing story, though I’ll admit a bit confusing too as I was reading along. Then it all finally came together in the end when certain details are revealed and then BAM! total comprehension! Lol.

Through Kiersten’s words we meet Minnie and Cora, two sisters who live in a boardinghouse run by their mother and when brothers, Thom and Charles come to spend a summer there things get interesting. There’s also Arthur, a young man who came to them with secrets abound. They’re all about to discover quite the plethora of secrets and mysteries that could be deadly.

Through the artwork, we watch a young man with a telling scar on his face chase down an evil looking group of people. It becomes obvious that the young man and the people are not ordinary for no matter what seems to happen, they just pop back up again. There is the occasional year in the corner of the picture that lets us see that time is passing. It becomes obvious that the young man and the group are enemies and he wants to destroy them all.

The artwork itself was beautiful! Having read a variety of different comics and graphic novels, I enjoy many different styles and elements that artists use! I’m not sure of the technical terms of the style itself, but I have to say I liked it! It was bit dark and gritty, much like the story being woven, so I figure it was the perfect match!

As I mentioned before, the pictures were a bit confusing at first. They just happen randomly after a chapter’s worth of words. These pictures don’t have any coordinating words or dialog, it did make it hard to figure out what was going on. Also trying to figure out the connection to the pictures and the written story was also a little trying. The answer does come in the end though, and it was definitely one of those “Ahhh, I see!” moments!

There was a great big mystery woven into the story as well, not the standard whodunit type, but more mystery-mystery if that makes sense! Lol. It was a lot of weird happenings and strange things that just don’t have a lot answers to them. It kind of made it hard to grasp what was going on throughout, but slowly, ever so slowly, there’s these little hints that clue you into some of the weirdness, but you still don’t know what that weirdness is exactly.

I guess it was the weirdness of the mystery that bugged me. There was just too much mystery to the puzzle and not enough details to it. Really everything came together for me in one of the last few chapters of the story itself. Events occurred and then it was like a bright light of answers, the dots were connecting and it was just like OHHHHH! Crazy, but it worked!

The ending itself was pretty remarkable too! While the journey to get there was a bit of a struggle and even when I thought I had things understood, I really didn’t. That learning curve was tough. Lol. I don’t want to dissuade you from reading this one if it’s of interest, because it was a really good read in the end. Once I could finally see how the dots were connected it made a huge difference! There’s lots of words and comparisons I’d like to use to help you in reading this, but I think the shock of that revelation is part of the point. Like with other books or movies, I guess you’re supposed to be confused until that revealing moment comes along and puts everything together!

In the Shadows was a somewhat bizarre and twisted read but in the end, once the dots were connected, it was actually pretty awesome! It’s a read that will keep you on your toes and guessing until the very end and its shocking conclusion! Even after my initial confusion, I can easily say I’d read another book from these two in this kind of style again!


Overall Rating 3.5/5 stars 


  1. I really liked the style of this book as well. Kiersten White is one of my favorite authors and I loved her bits of the story. Thanks for sharing your review.

  2. Ooh, another Kiersten White book!! TBR!!

  3. Hm... not sure I could get past the bizarre and twisted bit, but thanks for the review!


Comments are an award all on their own! So my blog is an award free one! Thanks for any consideration though!