The Curious Case of One Book that Thought it was Three

The ElseWhere Chronicles
- The Shadow Door
- The Shadow Spies
- The Master of Shadows
illustrated by Bannister and Jaffre
2009 (Graphic Universe/Lerner)

The ElseWhere Chronicles is a new graphic novel series that has started off with three initial books: The Shadow Door, The Shadow Spies and The Master of Shadows. The end of the third book makes it fairly clear, however, that this is intended to be taken as just the beginning of the series.

These books are very odd. They are extremely short (less than fifty pages each, which isn’t much to begin with, but feels like even less when it’s all sequential art storytelling) and not a one of them stands alone. You absolutely couldn’t read just one of these three books and not be confused. I felt the whole time I was reading this trilogy that I was, in fact, reading one book that for some inexplicable reason had been cut into three pieces.

The worst part of this artificial division, is that it seriously hurt my enjoyment of the story and I can’t help but feel that it’s going to be even more detrimental for someone who is actually buying the books (I was sent advanced review copies from the publisher). And that’s really kind of sad, because the story and the art are fantastic and well worth enjoying!

When I stopped being annoyed about the fact that the story was in three separate places and reflected on what I’d just read, I realized I was really intrigued by it and really wanted to know more about this world and the shadows and what’s going on. But I had to stop and do that. If I were an eight or nine year old reading this, I doubt I would have done that. I’d just be annoyed that I had to go spend more of the little money I had or go back to the library hoping they had the next book, only to eventually find out that these three books really only make up the first book in the series, I doubt I’d stop and realize how good the story was, I’d just be frustrated.

The Master of ShadowsI really hope that Graphic Universe publishes more of this series in the future, but I hope that they publish the books is more reasonable chunks – don’t give us three books that should have been one again. It may seem like it will be more money for them, but my guess is that it’s going to drive away more readers to their series than it’s going to bring in. When it comes to graphic novels, even the most reluctant readers tend not to be afraid of a little length (and really, this wouldn’t have been that long even as one book).

The story and the art are great and they deserve a beautiful, solid package that will attract a lot of readers and keep them focused on the story, not on the fact that they need to go find the next book almost as soon as they pick it up!

- The Shadow Door: Publisher’s Description
- The Shadow Spies: Publisher’s Description
- The Master of Shadows: Publisher’s Description

- The Official ElseWhere Chronicles Website

- Bannister’s Website
- Jaffre’s Website

- Buy The Shadow Door from Amazon
- Buy The Shadow Spies from Amazon
- Buy The Master of Shadows from Amazon

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