Friday, April 28, 2017

Me on Spill Zone

Title: Spill Zone
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Artist: Alex Puvilland
Colourist: Hilary Sycamore
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: FirstSecond (Macmillan imprint)

Three years ago an event destroyed the small city of Poughkeepsie, forever changing reality within its borders. Uncanny manifestations and lethal dangers now await anyone who enters the Spill Zone. The Spill claimed Addison's parents and scarred her little sister, Lexa, who hasn't spoken since. Addison provides for her sister by photographing the Zone's twisted attractions on illicit midnight rides. Art collectors pay top dollar for these bizarre images, but getting close enough for the perfect shot can mean death-or worse. When an eccentric collector makes a million-dollar offer, Addison breaks her own hard-learned rules of survival and ventures farther than she has ever dared. Within the Spill Zone, hell awaits-and it seems to be calling Addison's name.

Spill Zone is haunting and creepy, a look at the aftermath of a complicated and mysterious disaster. It's an introduction to the secret things that now exist in a space that used to be a city, an introduction to a girl who will do what she must.

Addison is gritty and tough, rather serious and determined. After the loss of their parents in the Spill, she becomes a kind of replacement parent to her sister, Lexa, who was also sort of in the Spill on that day but made it out. Knowing they need money, Addison becomes a sort of escape artist turned visual artist, riding her motorcycle into the Spill Zone in order to take photographs of what lives there now. The dead bodies and the hunting rats. The eerie floating sculptures. Given the chance at one last trip, one final drive so she'll never have to think about it again, Addison jumps at a mysterious offer, but is this job more than she's ready for?

The art adds depth to the story, another layer of darkness and mystery. The art style is rough, jagged, expressive. With this being a graphic novel, readers are able to see the Spill Zone, what Addison's city has become, and what it is is bizarre and impossible. Floating bodies and items, cars that have somehow melted into the roads. Monsters that don't exist in the real world. The curiousness that is Lexa's doll.

This is definitely the start of something eerie, something overwhelming. I can't help but wonder if something in the Spill Zone wants out, wants to explore. What the truth behind Lexa's doll Vespertine is. What the truth behind the Spill is. If anything else is going to come out of it, move beyond the town and into the still normal world. I'm interested to see where the story will go, what will happen next to Addison and the things that lurk in the Spill Zone.

(I received an advance copy of this title from Raincoast Books.)

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