Salem Brownstone by John Harris Dunning

 

When Salem Brownstone learns he’s inherited his absent father’s estate, he gets much more than he expects. Not far from his new mansion is a troupe of circus performers who used to work with his dad. After being attacked by the mysterious Shadow Boys, Salem learns from the circus people that his father was attempting to protect the world from evil – a task that has now fallen to Salem.

I have to say that the only aspect of this book I enjoyed was the art. Done exclusively in black ink, the illustrations are stunning and captivating — even when they’re a little weird. I will say that the layout is slightly off-putting sometimes. It can be easy to get disoriented when reading this graphic novel, though I appreciated the originality. Aside from the art, the storyline was extremely underdeveloped. I really didn’t care about any of the characters, and Salem’s mystery was put forward so early in the story that it didn’t make much sense. With plot holes of this caliber, I expected a series (or at least a sequel!), but there wasn’t one. Definitely a disappointment given its placement on YA lists, and praise from other authors. Check it out if you love graphic novels, though. The art is really worth a look.

Rating: 2/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

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