Friday 12 August 2016

#CBR8 Book 80: "Locke & Key, vol 3: Crown of Shadows" by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez

Page count: 140 pages
Rating: 4 stars

This is volume 3 in an ongoing story arc and really won't make much sense to anyone beginning the series here. Start at the beginning with Vol 1: Welcome to Lovecraft.

The three half-orphaned Locke children, Tyler, Kinsey and Bode, have already gone through so much horror and heartbreak, and it doesn't seem to be letting up any time soon. Their mother is becoming less dependable, as she's gradually descending further into alcoholism and madness, aggravated by the evil spirit haunting their lives.

Kinsey is closer to shaking off the malicious influence of Dodge when she meets some new friends, including Scott Cavanaugh, who clearly has a crush on her. After some truly reckless behaviour in the water-filled caverns under Lovecraft House, she and her new gang bond after escaping possibly hypothermia and drowning and she doesn't really seem to interested in her older brother's moody, mysterious friend.

Dodge still wants the Omega key, though, and after gaining possession of the Shadow key takes full control over all the shadows around the mansion, but is dealt a setback once Tyler Locke fights back in a truly spectacular fashion. At the end of the issue, he makes a startling discovery, which I'm sure will have repercussions further on in the story.

The poor members of the Locke family have already been through so much horror, and with each volume, it just gets worse. I am by now so very attached to the three siblings, and even their poor, beleaguered mother, even as I wish she'd try to snap out of her self-pity and misery, stop drinking and help her already struggling children. The Locke kids have been given a bad hand, and while they occasionally seem to be managing to fight back against the malicious spirit who wants the strange and magical keys littering their house, I can't help but think any small victory is only temporary. There are three more books to come, after all (and I bought them all in the US, so I will be reading them soon).

While I didn't much care for the Joe Hill novel I read, I am still completely engrossed in the story of these graphic novels. The reason I rarely read horror is that I immerse myself so much in the things I read, and my poor emotions just can't deal with too much torture and death and anguish in one go. These books are just so addictive, though, and the storytelling and art keeps being top-notch. I'm hooked and have to stay with it until the end now, even as I worry about how many of my beloved characters are going to make it out safely, or even alive.

Judging a book by its cover: Dark, atmospheric and suitably spooky, the cover of volume three is all blacks and greys and blues, with the Shadow key (the most prominent key in question in the book is always featured on the cover) front and centre, eerily surrounded by a blue light. The same key is featured in the title heading too, for those who pay attention and the background of a windswept sea and a light-house hint at some of the action of the book taking place by the water.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read

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