Book: Locke & Key (Volume 1 to 6) by Joe Hill. Illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez
Release Date: September 2008 (volume 1)
Tags: graphic novel / horror / fantasy
Rating: 4,5 out of 5 stars
Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them. Home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all…
Locke & Key is a graphic novel series I’ve heard a lot about and saw many mention but I refrained from getting it regardless of it only being 6 volumes long. But when a friend of mine offered to lend me her boxset I could not pass that up of course. And within a week I had flown through this series.
Initially I was a bit unsure of this. It started off on the darker side with a family being attacked and their father killed in the process. In that regard I must mention that there is a reasonable amount of violence and even suggested rape in just the start pages of this graphic novel. So I do not feel this might be for everyone. And the violence is certainly something that stays. But if you don’t mind that and if you can look through some of that you will find this series has more to offer.
For one thing it does not gloss over the effects that this event had on them. It is clear in the characters. And they deal. In good ways. In bad ways. They are just human and they are all struggling to keep their head above water. Initially I wasn’t even drawn to some of the characters but as we moved throughout the story I noticed I started caring for them. For what they did and who they were becoming. Especially the youngest boy in the family gets all the love for me.
But this book shows us more than just that. The series isn’t called Locke & Key for nothing. Locke being the family name but the keys in this key house play a huge roll. Each key can do something different. From letting our spirit leave your body as a ghost or open up your own head and remove or add things. There is so much there and even after the ending I think there was even so much more to be discovered in the key house than what we got shown. But I will not tell you more or where they come from as that would be spoiling. And that is just the fun in this series, to discover the origin and what roles everyone played.
One thing that did bother me when reading this series and why I won’t give it 5 stars is the use of retarded to Rufus who is mentally disabled. It does get called out here and there but it shouldn’t be used at all in my opinion. I got that the person who used it was terrible to begin with without that.
As for the illustrations which of course is a great part of this, I had to get used to the way some of the faces were drawn, like strong jaws and all. But once I did I did quite enjoy the art. It is darker themed and colored as goes with the story. And there are some pretty amazing spreads at the back.