Alone: Before the Midnight Child (Book 9) – Fabien Vehlmann

4 out of 5

Whoof, nightmare fuel.

Practically saying anything at this point, plot-wise, amounts to a spoiler.  Very generally, then, we pick up post last book’s travails, with the Neosalem survivors trying to make their way in a snowy landscape on the other side of the Lowlands.

That setting is one of the book’s hitches: while the setting itself – mountains, a cabin, a resort – is fully realized within, Gazzotti and colorist Usagi giving each location a full sense of weight and space, the explanation of its position relative to our previous settings is a bit confusing.  There’s also Dodzi’s quest to follow up on the vision he had last issue, but the way he speaks about it makes it feel like more happened than what we saw.  Vehlmann has conditioned us to this kind of quick info relay, but it still causes one to pause a moment to seek out old books and flip to relevant pages in search of a missed snippet of dialogue or a forgotten panel.

That aside, back to whoof.  The action and thrills and visuals and frights in this book are just beyond.  Dodzi is badass, but Fabien knows to keep him human and it’s always great fun when our less typically ‘heroic’ characters come through to save the day.