This will be the first review where I do not have a “recommendation” section. I want to get more comfortable writing my own feelings regarding the series and not stating who should have the book recommended to them. I want you, the reader, to be able to draw your own conclusions on if it is something you would like to read.
Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft
This first collection of the “Locke and Key” series begins the tale of the Locke family, which consists of parents Rendell and Nina, whose children are Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode. The story revolves around when the family is forced to move to Lovecraft, Massachusetts after some rather horrific events happen to them. It then entails what happens to them when they get there and events that unfold that will change their lives forever.
When I was going through the graphic novel section of my local library I saw 7 volumes of “Locke and Key” sitting on the shelves. I have always intended to read this series after a recommendation from a former partner’s friend years ago. As they sat there on the shelves I kept going back and forth on if I should pick them up or not. Obviously the voice of picking them up won and I decided since I could almost read the entire series to review them here on the blog! This is my second comic book “event” type week. The first was my “Wonder Woman Week” blog entries where I reviewed several of the Rebirth era collections. There will be more in this event though, as I will be reviewed 7 of the 8 collected editions that are currently out. Sorry, but my library doesn’t have “Heaven and Earth” yet, which I stated yesterday.
When I started into this one I had a brief recollection of starting it and not remembering every aspect of it. I started it when the person that recommended it had recommended it initially. I hoped that this would not taint my enjoyment of the series, since I recalled bits and pieces. It did not take away from the overall enjoyment of the series because most of it I did not remember, since it was over five years ago that it was recommended to me to read.
The way I felt as I read this was that this poor family had to endure a lot of horrific, messed up, and truly evil things. Joe Hill creates a very believable series, even through the mystical and supernatural elements of the series. He taps into that child-like quality that was needed in the character of Bode, which aids in story plot points as well. You also have Kinsey that has several angsty moments in this book that are believable for the age range and for the things that she has had to deal with. I also found the overprotective brother nature of Tyler to be well-written as well. Each character truly serves a purpose in this first volume, which I find to be great writing on Hill’s part because there are no “throw away” characters here. Each serves a purpose and each feel driven in their own personalities and plots, which is a rare achievement to me in the comic book world. It is hard to give characters distinct personalities when all you see are thought bubbles or side information for them, but it is definitely achieved here to create a strong first outing with this family.
The artwork starts off weak because it seems not to fit with the world that is being created at first, but then when the family arrives in Lovecraft it gets better. I am not sure if this was a stylistic choice that was made between Hill and Rodriguez or if it just sort of happened. I am hoping the first because it did ultimately add to the series and makes you feel like the story has changed when they arrive there. I specifically think that the character of Kinsey and the way that she is drawn changes so drastically between the beginning and the point of when they arrive that it changed the overall feel of that character, which was important given her part of the plot at that moment.
There are elements of horror contained within this volume and I am assuming the rest of the volumes as well (the first three did have this). In parts it felt rather graphic, so if violence is not your thing this may be a series you may want to steer clear of, but if you can watch almost any modern horror movie you will be fine. Heck, if you can watch some of the campy 80’s horror I would say you would be fine here as well, since a lot of it is more manipulation than outright violence. This isn’t to say there isn’t blood and guts on some pages, there is, but it usually is handled in a fast and tactful manner that doesn’t draw it out, except maybe near the beginning of this collection.
To state that I loved this first volume would be a gross understatement, I devoured this in about one night and found myself ready to get into the next one pretty quickly. It really does set-up the rest of the series (considering I am writing this after having gotten to book 4, I feel comfortable stating that). It allows characters to shine that need to shine at the beginning and allows mysteries to formulate that drive the overall series forward to conclusions that we, as the reader, are not able to instantly expect. That is something else that is nice about this series, you cannot just expect what is going to happen next. You are taken on a roller coaster. Sometimes in a fun way and sometimes in a way that makes you want to give Hill the bird, but it all evens out over the course of the collections and makes you pause when it is all over going, “What in the world did I just read?”
There are 6 more reviews coming up in the “Locke and Key” event here on CassieWinters.com!
TOMORROW’S REVIEW IS: