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Smallville: Hauntings

Smallville: Hauntings

Writer: Nancy Holder
Cover Design: Don Puckey
Book Design: L&G McRee

Published by: Aspect and Warner Books (January 2003)

Reviewed by: Aaron Thall

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An experiment to create a new element goes horribly wrong, and soon a family is left without a husband and father. Still recovering, Lex's meteor experiments draw the family to Smallville. As the mother begins work with Dr. Hamilton, the daughter begins to notice odd occurrences... and a certain boy from the stars.

Meanwhile, two lifelong friends accidentally succeed in contacting the dead. Affected by Kryptonite, and with a thirst for vengeance, the spirits begin kidnapping kids, taking them to a spectral dimension (Phantom Zone?). Clark and Lana are soon drawn into the chaos, which only gets worse as an accidental exposure to pure Kryptonite radiation reduces Clark's powers by more than half... perhaps permanently. And that's not good, as the kidnappings continue, and Chloe is targeted by the spirits.

And Lex uncovers a mystery all his own as the mysterious happenings with spirits inexplicably draws the attention of the Governor.

It's going to take everyone to uncover the truth behind the spirits' attacks and the Governor's motives behind his interest, but can even the future Superman fight what's already dead? And does Pete Ross have a future in campaigning?

4Story - 4: My ex-girlfriend once told me Ouija boards were evil. After seeing what one does to Chloe, I'm inclined to believe her.

This is, for all intents and purposes, Clark's first encounter with magic, predating "Spell" by three years (lucky book). And it's not a battle that can be won with fists or super-speed, but with understanding, compassion, and determination. In this novel, Clark acts a lot like the hero he will one day become, and it's quite refreshing. Pining over Lana aside.

Pete's rallying for the Governor is fun, as it's a rare bit of development for a chronically underused character.

The ambiguousness of the alternate dimension remains vexing, however. And why would the spirits attack Chloe and Clark when they're trying to uncover the truth?

Still, the only reason I really mark it down a point is the fact that Clark loses a lot of his powers AGAIN. And it JUST HAPPENED in "Dragon". It's repetitive. Fortunately, the writer doesn't fall into the trap of taking away ALL the powers. In a nifty twist, Clark retains his slow motion perception, but NOT his speed. It's incredibly frustrating, and well conveyed. Plus, it firmly establishes that his perceptions and speed are NOT directly connected, an important distinction.

1Cover Art - 1: Another photo cover. Yawn. It's about Clark feeling ISOLATED from Lana, not closer. The cover doesn't work.


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