The people at First Second Books have reunited writer Scott Westerfeld and artist Alex Puvilland to bring you Spill Zone: The Broken Vow, the highly anticipated sequel to last year’s Spill Zone. For those of you that may not remember or are new to the series, three years ago an event destroyed the small town of Poughkeepsie NY, forever changing reality within its city limits. The event orphaned Addison and her younger sister, Lexi, who lived on the outskirts of town. Young Lexi didn’t talk after that night. Since then, Addison has been making money by skirting the edges of the zone, capturing pictures of the Zone’s twisted anomalies. When a mysterious collector offers her 1 million dollars in exchange for an item from the Zone, Addison must decide if she can break her own rules to try to retrieve it. If she accepts the mission, Addison will find out if you can enter an area of altered reality and come home unchanged.
This is a high-energy story, both in the action on its pages and the rate that I consumed it. I sat down today and figured I would get a jump on reading The Broken Vow and finish it sometime this weekend. Things didn’t go according to plan because here I am writing to you after finishing the book in one sitting, hungry for more of the story and just plain hungry because I read through lunch. I think this series will be a big hit for fans of movies like John Carpenter’s The Thing or the Netflix series Stranger Things. People are battling an unknown world and its creatures hoping to prevent them from taking over everything, focusing on a teenager and her younger sibling. You can’t help but think of Nancy and Mike from Stranger Things. The art of Alex Puvilland is very Carpenteresque. What makes his work so creepy is that behind the flashy colors and the other worldliness of the creatures, they are all recognizable at their core. Anything that was in the zone during the spillover was recreated, whether it was wolves, rats, cats or the people of Poughkeepsie.
The main character Addison is bold, quick thinking and an all-around badass. Her desire to protect her sister propels the story along at every turn, sometimes for the better and sometimes making things much worse, but it’s always well-intentioned. Lexi is another good character. I felt for her because of the trauma from the event, but I also kind of hated her because of how her secrecy puts everyone in danger. Then there is Don Jae, a North Korean man, given the ability to fly by the Spill Zone in his country, and now that it has gone silent, he has come to Poughkeepsie to inspect its rift.
The only real complaint I have about the book is how fast the pace is, all of its 223 pages flew by in no time. I wish it could have lingered a little on some elements and characters because I was having such a good time with them. You can read this story as a standalone, but I don’t think you will want to. When you’re finished, you will just have to wait two more days to get book one from Amazon or make the trip back out to the bookstore to have it today. You can pre-order Spill Zone: The Broken Vow now or pick It up when it is released on July 10th.