Locke and Key: Clockworks Review

Locke and Key: Clockworks
Written by:
Joe Hill
Art by:
Gabriel Rodriguez

The fifth volume of “Locke and Key” lets us start putting together the keys to the past. The past that has caused the present. We start to know what happened in the Locke family that caused them to have such a terrible time with this evil force that keeps coming after them. We start to understand what the force wants and what it is going to do to get to that goal.

It took me a bit longer even to get into this volume following the last one. It just didn’t sit that well for me at first and I feel like maybe I had overdone it with the violence that is this series in such a quick consumption. I think this series has to be taken in smaller chunks for anyone that abhors violence because it is a bit graphic at times. This volume even more so, in my opinion, as we started placing puzzle pieces together from that past.

This volume focuses heavily on putting the pieces of the past story together to let you know what led to where the story currently is. If you read it this sentence will make more sense to you, but just trust me that there are two stories going on (in a sense) during all of this. The present storyline of the Locke children and then there is a bit of a past story and it is that past story that gets resolved here. The pieces start to come together and we start to understand what has happened to the character that is considered to be the evil force against the children. I feel that this volume is harder to talk about because it was such plot focused and revealed so much of that past.

The story, even while difficult to discuss, was superb. It felt like a natural reveal of what had been going on and let you see more layers to characters that maybe as a reader seemed to be a little one note. I am specifically thinking of the character Erin Voss in this particular volume. It added such a beautiful and sad depth to that character. It felt like it was needed to fully flesh her out, even if she was a minor character for the most part. I also think that this volume starts to let us see the evil force for more than just being a villain, which I am not sure I like or not. Part of me likes it because it showcases that he was not always like this, but I also just wanted to hate him so much. Adding this other layer to him makes me have compassion for him and I just did not want to have that for him after these 4 previous volumes. This volume is not short on graphic violence, deaths, and blood. This seems to be a key factor in all of these volumes. You can expect them and you have to accept it or not read the series.

The artwork here starts to move towards a more mature style, but not fully yet. It does appear that what I wanted Rodriguez to do with the style is slowly happening here, but it is hard to make a full assertion on this because so much of the story does take place within the context of the past. The stylistic choices may be centered on that instead of making decisions to make it appear differently due to where the story is.

While the plot stays predominantly within the past there are a few moments that we are drawn into the present. One of these moments corrects probably my biggest complaint with one of the characters within the series, so I was happy with a moment that Hill wrote into this volume. It also, since I have read the next volume, sets up a beautiful moment for the next volume if you remember it from this volume. I was pleased with the way that Hill again wrote this volume because the entire past storyline felt like a beautiful extension of what we were already starting to understand for ourselves about this messed up world of Lovecraft, Massachusetts. When you think you know exactly every single moment, Hill has the ability to throw you for a loop and correct you on what is really going on. What is nice about this though is that if you were like me you slap your forehead and go “well duh” because it makes sense that those would be part of the reveals. The reveals are surprises, but they are realistic for what we know from the story. I love when a writer is able to surprise you, but keep it rooted in that truth of a book or series. It isn’t like they are just trying to surprise you with something that makes literally no sense for what has come before. Hill never does this, but he will take you on an emotional rollercoaster and trust me it gets worse in the next volume.


There are 2 more reviews coming up in the “Locke and Key” event here on CassieWinters.com!


4 Replies to “Locke and Key: Clockworks Review”

  1. Danielle

    I love when authors show us the reason that the villain became evil in the first place. It adds a layer of depth that I really appreciate within a story. I love being able to understand why the villain is evil to begin with. Like you, I do hate when I start to feel compassion for a character that really doesn’t deserve it. Great review as always, Cassie! ?

    • cgwinters1981 Post author

      Well, in this context the villain really does deserve our compassion, but that is all I am going to say on that 😉 Thanks Danielle for visiting me all of this week so far, I appreciate it!

    • cgwinters1981 Post author

      I thought it would be fun to have them all post together. 🙂 Thanks for reading them.


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