Locke & Key was my first experience reading a graphic novel. A really good friend of mine has been steadily working her way through a plethora of graphic novels in recent months and after having read a few of her glowing reviews I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
I was warned that Locke & Key was a bit gruesome and some of the images violently depicted. Going in, I really didn’t think the violence would be that much of an issue for me, I’m still not sure if it was or not…
The plot revolves around the Locke family, comprised of the mum and dad and three kids. After a tragic event sends the family spiraling, they move into Keyhouse, an old New England mansion set on Lovecraft Island. Somewhat isolated with a definite small town vibe, Lovecraft is a sort of haven from the demons the Locke family is trying to outrun, but their troubles are far from over.
Youngest son Bode, a curious fella finds a secret door that essentially kills you when you walk through it, leaving your ghost to roam undetected wherever you will it to go. Bode finds it fascinating and wants to share it with his grieving family but no one will believe him, they all chalk it up to figments of his imagination, or his way of dealing with the tragedy. Bode goes on to learn about Keyhouse and the hidden keys that can open special doors through out the house that have magical powers.
The basic set up of the story is intriguing and well done. Although, I did find some of the finer points of the story and the magic of keyhouse a bit glossed over. Not everything was as clear as I would have liked considering how much there is to keep up with in this story.
I really did like the characters and the sense I got of how each was dealing with loss and death in their own way.
The art work was really vivid and brought the story to life, as I’m sure it’s meant to do in a graphic novel. Although I did find some of the scenes quite violent, I’m still undecided as to whether I mind the violence or not. I think in this story it was necessary. It’s a dark somewhat Gothic tale. Yet, to have the gruesome bits all laid out there in stark colours was sometimes a bit much. Also, I think because of all the hype, I was hoping for just a bit more from the story as a whole. It was good, but not great. Maybe I was just expecting too much or maybe the story just doesn’t jive with me as well as it has with others. I think there were a few too many things unexplained or skipped over, some inconsistencies that stood out to me while reading that became distracting because I needed answers.
I’m intrigued enough to say I want to keep reading. The promise of more magic and paranormal happenings is captivating and yet at the price for the beautifully bound hardback, in full colour volumes, I think I’ll wait a while before picking up the next one.