Thursday, September 13, 2012

Locke & Key...thoughts along the way...

Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez.

*I'm about a quarter of the way into the first volume, titled Welcome to Lovecraft. I'm going admit that despite the fact that I've bought the first four volumes of this, I wasn't at all sure I was going to like it. But at this point I think I can safely proclaim that I do. Truly, I am sucked in! It's an intriguing combination of suspense thriller mystery and dark supernatural fantasy. Thus far...murder, a bit of gore, ghosts, mysterious voices, and a heaping pile of "what the hell is going on here?!!"

*I don't think it's much of a spoiler to say that the story focuses on a family, three kids, Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode, and their mom (Mrs. Locke--don't know her first name yet), whose father/husband has been murdered. This happens in the first few pages. After the murder, Mrs. Locke moves her family across the country to live with her brother-in-law, Duncan, in the family estate, Keyhouse, in the town of Lovecraft. In the introduction, Robert Crais writes,
(Memo to Locke family: You want to rebuild your lives, you sure as hell do NOT retreat to a town called Lovecraft.)
What can I say, that just made me smile.

*Just finished the first volume. I cannot believe I waited so long to read this!!! So creepy, so suspenseful, so very RIP. And just to warn you, more than a tad violent. There is much mystery still waiting to unfold here, and the story just took a turn for the holy-shit-oh-no!

*Oh, and btw, the Mom's name is Nina. Okay volume two, here I come...

*Holy crap. Have I mentioned yet how totally sucked in I am?!!

*Ummmm...okay. Now that was a tad freaky. A tad? Yeah, right. WTF. Seriously, WTF?!!

*Finished volume 2 (Head Games)...if ever there was an appropriate title given, this would be it. :) And I stand by the "freaky" label. But damn, is this series good!!! The story is just so inventive and gripping and I love the combination of the supernatural with the so-very-down-to-earth.

*And the art. OMG the art. Awesome. It is, at turns, vivid and haunting and playful and sensual. And it's as if Rodriguez must live inside Hill's head, because combination of the story and the art seem absolutely flawless. There were panels that I literally sat immersed in for minutes on end.

*As one can probably guess from the title of the series and the name of family estate, Keyhouse, keys play a major role in the story. It's such a fun aspect...the various keys and the things they're capable of. I suspect there are more keys to be found--I hope so anyway.

*Currently immersed in volume 3 (Crown of Shadows). And yep, I'm still loving it. Loving all the supernatural elements--the ghosts, the malevolent living shadows, the keys and all the magic they hold. But even more I'm loving the characters. Especially Ty and Kinsey. But Bode and Nina and Duncan as well. They've gotten under my skin in a big way. And I find myself thinking about them at odd times. Wishing Kinsey would take back and own her fear and her tears (and yes, I realize this doesn't make sense unless you've read the books), because well, I just know it's going to be devastating if she doesn't. Wishing Nina would find, somewhere in amongst her pain and sorrow, the courage to face what the bottle is doing to her family. Loving Ty for the way he tries so desperately to protect his family, but worried that unnecessary guilt is going to tear him apart.

*Oh Nina, Nina, Nina. I want so badly for you to find your way past all the pain. For your kids, yes. But so. very. much. for you as well. You are absolutely breaking my heart.

*Volume 4 (Keys to the Kingdom). Hmmmm...not sure if I liked the homage to Bill Watterson of the first chapter. I mean, it was really cute art, but it kept throwing me off, taking me out of the story.

*I swear my love for this series just grows and grows. More and more intriguing little keys. More and more instances of wanting to jump into the book to hug one of the characters. More and more blood. (Seriously violent series here.)

*Ty is starting to suspect some things...and of course, this only makes me worry all the more for him.

*NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! No no no no no...

*Volume 5 (Clockworks). Confession time: I said I had the first four volumes for quite some time now. Well, as soon as I finished the first one last week, I immediately went ahead and ordered volume 5. What can I say--I had to have it!!! So anyway, first chapter...mighty interesting. Loved finding out the story of the keys. How all of this came to be some 200 years ago. But I gotta admit, I'm really missing Ty and can we please get back to the present now????

*Wow. So much. I picked the book back up last night and couldn't put it down long enough to comment on anything. And now I may just go stark raving mad waiting for Volume 6 (Omega) to come out. OMFG-I LOVE THIS SERIES!!!

*But let's back up a bit here. Clockworks never did focus much on the present, but the rest of the volume didn't have me missing Ty and Kinsey nearly so much. Not because I don't still adore them. Just that the story was so compelling. The rest of this volume told the story of Rendell, the kids' father, who was murdered right at the beginning of the series. The story of Rendell and his friends set the stage for everything that has happened since Nina, Ty, Kinsey, and Bode arrived at Keyhouse. And it's not as if these "new" characters are really new...many of them have played at least some small part in the previous volumes. But the whole story is really coming together. Questions that I didn't even realize I had are being answered...

*And that leads me to something that sort of left me in awe as I tossed and turned in bed last night. Now, I don't know squat about writing comics. But it seems to me that it must be a very different experience than writing a novel. (And no, I don't know squat about writing a novel either.) But I'm guessing the author of a comic series either has a general idea of where the series will head and just lets it develop naturally as the story progresses...or he/she must have a very well-thought and developed concept completely planned before the first issue is ever released. With a novel the author has the luxury of going back, rewriting, revising, fixing inconsistencies, etc. before the novel is published. But with a comic book series, those beginning chapters are already out there in world being read...there's no going back to revise them if somewhere down the line the story leads the author in a new direction. I'm not sure if I'm making any sense, or if what I'm saying is actually even the case. But here's how it relates to Locke and Key: Joe Hill must have had a very detailed plan for this story all along. It is so complicated, and seemingly insignificant details from the earlier volumes turn out to have real significance as the story is now winding towards its conclusion. In short, I'm really freakin' impressed!

*One more thing I just have to say, something which won't make sense until you read the series...I am so glad we got to see Dodge "before." Because as horrible a being as he/she has seemed to be, I've just felt there had to be more. There was a feeling of sadness in me about Dodge that I couldn't explain. I now feel a tad vindicated.

*So yeah, how am I going to survive until Omega comes out?!!! Maybe, I'll just have to just start again from the beginning. :D Actually, you know, that's not a bad idea--I have a feeling that this is a series that really would be even better the second time around...I suspect I would notice even more things along the way that actually play into where the story is headed. Yeah, rereading sounds like a very good idea...

...if he'll let me.

Projects Progress:

Unofficial-for-me Reading Challenges--Graphic Novels 2012 Reading Challenge, What's in a Name 5 Reading Challenge (category 5/a book with something you'd carry in your pocket, purse, or backpack in the title) and
50x50 (#43-Read 50 award-winning books--2009 British Fantasy Award for Best Comic or Graphic Novel)


Fence said...

I've never even heard of this series, but it sounds like a great read.

Is it the same Joe Hill that did Heart-Shaped Box?

Debi said...

Yep, one and the same. And now that I've fallen so in love with these, perhaps I ought to get around to reading Heart-Shaped Box as it's been sitting on my shelves for ages.

DesLily said...

It would seem that Joe Hill has come into his own and doesn't rely on being stephen kings son any longer! Good for him! Some children of writers try but never get as good as the writer parent (re: Anne McCaffreys' son Todd... oh well)

Jean said...

I like the new blog format. :-)

Buried In Print said...

Really enjoyed reading your thoughts on this series: I just finished the fifth and agree that having the "gaps" filled in really changes the way that you view the rest of the story...I really want to re-read now, which I wasn't expecting to have happen when I finished the first volume. I mean, it was good, really good, but I am completely smitten now.