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Black and White (Icarus Project, Book 1) Paperback – June 2, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this complex tale, Kessler (the Hell on Earth series) and Kittredge (the Nocturne City novels) create a dark world where the narrow line between hero and vigilante is defined by corporate interests. When tragedy strikes during their third year at a young superheroes' academy, best friends Jet and Iridium begin to grow apart, seeing their heroic world in different, and irreconcilable, ways. Shadow-wielding Jet becomes the Hero of New Chicago, where light-powered Iridium is seen as a rabid vigilante, and they find themselves archenemies. Both characters are intriguingly flawed: Jet suffers from insecurity, while Iridium's arrogance repeatedly gets her into trouble. When an investigative reporter disappears, Jet suspects Iridium's involvement, but the truth is far more complicated, keeping readers guessing whether the finale will be a reconciliation or a spectacular showdown. Jet and Iridium's multifaceted relationship will appeal to all who have come to want more from their superheroes than good vs. evil and mindless battles. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Jackie Kessler is the author of the Hell on Earth series, a sexy, funny dark paranormal about a succubus-turned-stripper who ran away from Hell (devilish antics ensue).

Caitlin Kittredge has been an unrepentant geek since the age of twelve, when she first saw "Star Wars." When she's not writing about super-powered dystopias, she blogs, goes to the movies, reads books and comics voraciously, collects vintage clothes, and turns her music up too loud. She lives in Olympia, Washington, with a garage full of comics and two pushy cats.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 452 pages
  • Publisher: Spectra; Original edition (June 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 055338631X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553386318
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,079,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John Lees on August 6, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I purchased the book for my Kindle, and I am extremely satisfied with the selection. I am a fan of the superheroic genre despite the fact that I have not bought a comic book (other than the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen volumes) in some time. I think that there are a lot of good tales to be told in this genre, and this is certainly one of them.

In fact, Black & White ranks right up with Grossman's Soon I will Be Invincible, another book that I think has done a marvelous job of representing good superheroic storytelling. The two share many similarities, such as the fact that they both use flashback "origin stories" as well as a "something going on in the here and now" plot, and the fact that they both alternate between hero & villain. But they are hardly the same book, because these are structural elements. The heart of the two -- characters, situation and setting -- are very different. These essential elements (in both books) make them both excellent stories in general and fine examples of how well a superhero book can be done.

I thought that the pacing was excellent. The author's "Then" and "Now" device undergirds the back-and-forth of the two characters and helps drive the story forward. While the same back-and-forth storytelling device was used in Soon I will Be Invincible, and the differences are noteworthy. There I was enamored of one side of the story (Dr. Impossible of course) and not-so-well connected to the other side. I understand why it was necessary: too much Impossible will spoil the soup, and the over-the-top villain had to be balanced out by the stalwart hero. In Black and White, these very different characters are both compelling to read and held my interest equally.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By CeeCee on July 11, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like Jackie Kessler, and I'm a huge fan of Caitlin Kittredge, so I was expecting this to be really good. They did not disappoint! Not a comic fan as the authors are, but you don't have to be to enjoy Black and White.

This is an introduction to Jet and Iri, young extrahumans who met at the Academy and became not only room mates, but really good friends. They are opposites in many ways so they compliment each other perfectly. Iri is very smart, like high I.Q. smart. Jet is too, but she has to work very hard for every A. Iri is impatient and has a temper. Jet is very calm and likes to think things through. Iri is great at improv, and Jet is just trying to stick to protocal. Iri is a Light power, where Jet is a Shadow power. What they do have in common is how their fathers have shaped their lives. Iri's father is a rabid - what a superhero is called when he turns bad. He's imprisoned for life for speaking out against the Corp. Jet's father killed her mother and was institutionalized. The novel starts five years after the Academy where we find Jet as the superhero of New Chicago, and Iridium a supervillian.

Black and White flashes back and forth in time, to when the girls were in school, and as they are five years later. The novel also flashes back to point of view. One chapter it's Jet and the next is Iri. But it is so wonderfully written that a reader does not get confused with either time or character. As a matter of fact, this really works because you get to know each year of their lives even as the present story unfolds. It also makes for a really good mystery, suspense, and some interesting plot twists and turns. I couldn't help but cheer for them both as there are a lot of misunderstandings between the two that caused them to be enemies.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By bridget3420 on June 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
I'm a sucker for superheroes. Always have been and probably always will be. I'm obsessed with the whole good versus evil philosophy.

A fertility clinic figures out a way to help woman become pregnant. Soon after the children are born, the clinic realizes that the children are not your average humans. They have special powers. Jet is a shadow power who's father killed her mother when he went insane. She is told that all shadow powers loose their mind eventually. Then an adult shadow power named Night takes Jet under his wing. He becomes a friend, a mentor. Iridium is a light power. Her father became a "rabid" because he defied Corp and all it stands for. He was sentenced to prison for being a traitor.

Both Jet and Iridium have suffered from tragedy. They are partners and roommates at school and become friends. But just as quickly they become enemies. Both are fighting for the good humanity, they just happen to disagree about who's is right and who's is wrong.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes superhero or the good versus evil stories. When I got close to finishing the book I felt sad. I do this when I read something that I really like because I never want the story to end. Luckily when I got to the back of the book I saw that there will be a sequel "Shades of Gray" in July of 2010. I will definitely put this on my "to be bought" list.

If you haven't read this, I suggest you purchase a copy.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sara C. Muller on June 2, 2009
Format: Paperback
Not being all that big on comics or movies based on comics, my expectations for Black and White weren't that high. Don't get me wrong, I love both jackie Kessler and Caitlin Kittredge and knew they would put together a fantastic story, but I didn't think it would be my cup of tea. I was so wrong. This book blew me out of the water, and has officially made me a huge fan.

When I first flipped through the book (I like to get a feel for the layout before I start reading), I noticed that the book was split up into sections of "Now" and "Then", and that each of these sections were split up between the two main characters, Jet and Iridium. What sounds confusing, ended up melding together perfectly. At the end of each "Now" section, the reader is left with a cliffhanger, but is then sucked into the past in the following "Then" section. This could have easily become confusing and choppy, but for Jet and Iridium's "frenemies" realationship, it was the perfect way to progress the story while still giving the reader the background information needed to truly understand what's going on.

Almost every chapter in Black and White switches between Jet and Iridium, with a few actually integrating both. Each writer gives their character a unique and distinct voice, while still blending seemlessly together (Jackie Kessler writes Jet, Caitlin Kittredge writes Iridium). Even when one writer was writing about conflicts between Jet and Iridium, the parts involving the character that was not their's did not stray out of character. And secondary characters blended seemlessly between the two writers also.

Black and White kept me constantly on my toes and completely surprised. Coming from someone who tends to figure things out a couple scenes ahead, this is what sets this novel apart from most. I recommend this book to both comic book lovers, and urban fantasy readers who are looking for something new within the genre.
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