Book Review: Jackie Kessler & Caitlin Kittredge’s Black and White

Posted September 27, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Jackie Kessler & Caitlin Kittredge’s Black and White

Black and White


Caitlin Kittredge, Jackie Kessler

arcanepunk fantasy that was published by Spectra on June 2, 2009 and has 464 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Corsets & Clockwork, Street Magic, Demon Bound, Bone Gods, Night Life, Huntress, The Iron Thorn, "The Curse of Four", The Nightmare Garden, The Wild Side: Urban Fantasy with an Erotic Edge, Devil's Business, Soul Trade, Mirrored Shard, Dark Days, Games Creatures Play, Eternal Lover

First in the Icarus Project arcanepunk fantasy superhero comic in text form.

My Take

Yawn. I kept pushing my way through, hoping it would get better. Oh, well. I wish Kessler-Kittredge (KK) had merged a bit of Meg Cabot’s Princess Mia into this story to remind me that Jet was really still an innocent “teen”. Her character was so lame that I wanted to boot her!

KK kept switching perspectives as well as flashbacks on a regular basis although they did provide plenty of clues as long as you read the chapter starts. They were a bit clumsy in their switching your sympathies, but the empathy does finally happen, and Black and White‘s ending was a shocker, although it explained so much.

What these girls needed was communication and an open mind. At least on Jet’s part. I suspect that part of my dislike for this story was Jet and her stupidity and constant fear. It’s a lousy combination for anyone, and all I wanted to do was smack her silly. A little bit of thought and introspection on her part would have helped her quite a bit. She has this shadow power and constantly flinches from it. She should be exploring it. Learning the boundaries. Figuring out how to deal with the voices.

The Corps-Co must know how useless Jet is, and they still send her on these PR jaunts? What’s with the instructors at the school? The bullying by teachers, staff, and other kids?

No, I didn’t like this. Snotty kids, snotty adults. KK present them as kids, but they don’t back it up.

Iridium is a know-it-all at 12 and just gets worse. If her dad is supposed to be coaching her, he’s doing a really lousy job.

Okay, I’m confused. At one point, Lester Bradford says “this city is ripe for anarchy, girl. It won’t be that easy.” Isn’t this a contradiction?

None of ’em really have a clue about fighting. It’s like setting kindergartners loose on a battlefield.

Read it at the risk of the waste of your own time.

The Story

We learn of Jet and Iridium’s backstory even as we go forward in current time. Their years together as roommates, their individual family stories — two young girls battling the stigma of parents gone bad.

But it’s their final battles in the now that really concern us. One planning a coup while the other blindly follows her mission statement.

It’s that test exercise that sets the final battle line.

The Characters

Iridium, a.k.a., Calista Bradford, wields Light as her power. I did like her: quick to anger and quick to protect herself from the nastiness of her schoolmates. Such a Robin Hood, and I’m surprised none of the “good guys” ever figured this out. She quickly takes up as Jet’s champion and claims a chunk of lawless Chicago for her own, running it to keep the innocents safe. She’s considered a rabid because she doesn’t toe the party line. Lester Bradford is Iridium’s dad; he was Arclight, before Corps-Co shut him up by imprisoning him.

Jet, Lady of Shadows, a.k.a., Joan, was Iridium’s roommate at school. Now, she’s the city of Chicago’s Hero of New Chicago with the city as her sponsor. It’s a nightmare being their poster girl — all that stupid PR. She rigidly adheres to the RULES — all bow and kiss the earth — how STUPID can you get! Her mother was Angelica, a Light power.

Samson defends Jet in self-defense when Lancer plays favorites. Joseph Rogers. Bruce Hunter is Jet’s very sexy new Runner who slips inside her defenses.

Hornblower is a bully right along with his Uncle Lancer. Dawnlight is another bully. Boxer Hornblower has little to no power and has thrown in with Iridium. Night is also a shadow power and Jet’s mentor. Night insinuates what Corp-Co (with an “s” or without??) has done to her while Taser is a vigilante superhero. Chen, a.k.a., Red Lotus, is partnered with Frostbite.

Martin Moore is the on-site tech guru for the EC. His hero brother may have been taken down by friendly fire, but it was all hushed up.

Lynda Kidder is a Pulitzer prize-winning reporter for the New Chicago Tribune. And Icarus Biologica is missing.

Dr. Frank Wurthan leads the Everyman Society, an organization that sees extrahumans as a threat to the world. They’re not alone either; the cops hate the extrahumans too.

The Cover and Title

The cover suits the title as it’s all black-and-white with a red, raised-block effect title. It’s a determined super-heroine in a skinsuit, cape, and high-heeled boots charging off on a mission, braided hair flying behind her and wearing her Opti-something goggles.

The title is Jet and Iridium, one good and the other bad, opposites, the Black and White of the situation. But all is not what it seems.