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Locke & Key: Alpha & Omega Vol. 6 by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodríguez

Source: Public Library
Paperback, 192 pgs.
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Locke & Key: Alpha and Omega Vol. 6 by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodríguez, is where all the dark forces come alive at the same time, and the Locke family is even more distant from one another.  Tyler is trying to forget the darkness and move on, while Bode is still not himself and Kinsey has started to fit in at school and wants to join in.  Their mother has stopped drinking and seems to be more sober in her thinking and parenting, while uncle Duncan is still trying to be a guiding force for the kids who have had to deal with the death of their father and more.  The illustrations continue in the same style in this volume as in most of the other volumes, and bring to life Joe Hill’s story in a way that is both gruesome and terrifying.

The dark lady has all the keys she needs to unleash her demon brethren on the world, but her plans have changed, as she’s seen how powerful family can be.  She wants to create her own, make a family of demons beholden to only her.  Of course, there is still a place for slaves in this new kingdom.  Kinsey, Tyler, and Bode are up against all the darkness behind the black door, and they must outsmart the dark lady if they hope to win.

Locke & Key: Alpha and Omega Vol. 6 by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodríguez, is a wonderful conclusion to this series of graphic novels.  The tug of war between good and evil is frightening, especially when readers realize that the fate of goodness is in the hands of teenagers.  Overall, Hill has created a series of graphic novels that will keep readers entertained, horrified, and guessing about whether good will win out.  Rodríguez is a talented artist, and his artistry is on full display in these novels.

Other Reviews:

About the Author:

Joseph Hillstrom King is an American writer of fiction, writing under the pen name of Joe Hill.  Hill is the the second child of authors Stephen King and Tabitha King. His younger brother Owen King is also a writer. He has three children.

Hill’s first book, the limited edition collection 20th Century Ghosts published in 2005 by PS Publishing, showcases fourteen of his short stories and won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Fiction Collection, together with the British Fantasy Award for Best Collection and Best Short Story for “Best New Horror”. In October 2007, Hill’s mainstream US and UK publishers reprinted 20th Century Ghosts, without the extras published in the 2005 slipcased versions, but including one new story.

About the Illustrator:

Architect, artist and illustrator. He started his career with myth based illustrations for card games, and then jumped into the world of professional comics working with IDW Publishing. In addition to his current work in Locke & Key, his collaborations with IDW include Clive Barker’s The Great and Secret Show, Beowulf, George Romero’s Land Of The Dead, as well as several CSI comics and some covers for Angel and Transformers.

Locke & Key: Clockworks Vol. 5 by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodríguez

Source: Public Library
Paperback, 159 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Locke & Key: Clockworks Vol. 5 by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodríguez, is a whirlwind adventure into the past as the Locke family discovers the timeshift key for the grandfather clock in the house.  This key enables them to go back to 1775 to find out what happened to their ancestors in colonial Massachusetts during the British occupation of Lovecraft, which was not an integral part of the revolution.  The presence of the British in this area signifies a search for an advantage in the war, though it is not really expanded upon.  The Locke children learn the source of the keys and how the demons cam to live in Lovecraft and make their way into the well house.  But there has always been magic here, with or without the discovery of the black door.

The illustration in this volume is consistent with the tale, in which the time shifts to 1775 have a old-world feel compared to the present day.  Hill has a great backstory reveal in this volume, and the Locke kids are up against something that even their father did not fully understand.  There is more death and mayhem in this one, and there is a disturbing image of a possessed goat that left an impression even on me.

Locke & Key: Clockworks Vol. 5 by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodríguez, provides a backstory on the ancestors and the Locke children’s father, and it’s good to see that these characters are evolving amid all the horror, death, and mayhem created by the demon and the misuse of the keys.  Even their mother has stopped her destructive behavior, but it is clear that there is more devastation to come.

Other Reviews:

About the Author:

Joseph Hillstrom King is an American writer of fiction, writing under the pen name of Joe Hill.  Hill is the the second child of authors Stephen King and Tabitha King. His younger brother Owen King is also a writer. He has three children.

Hill’s first book, the limited edition collection 20th Century Ghosts published in 2005 by PS Publishing, showcases fourteen of his short stories and won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Fiction Collection, together with the British Fantasy Award for Best Collection and Best Short Story for “Best New Horror”. In October 2007, Hill’s mainstream US and UK publishers reprinted 20th Century Ghosts, without the extras published in the 2005 slipcased versions, but including one new story.

About the Illustrator:

Architect, artist and illustrator. He started his career with myth based illustrations for card games, and then jumped into the world of professional comics working with IDW Publishing. In addition to his current work in Locke & Key, his collaborations with IDW include Clive Barker’s The Great and Secret Show, Beowulf, George Romero’s Land Of The Dead, as well as several CSI comics and some covers for Angel and Transformers.

Locke & Key: Keys to the Kingdom Vol. 4 by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodríguez

Source: Public Library
Hardcover, 152 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Locke & Key: Keys to the Kingdom Vol. 4 by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodríguez, is a crazy mishmash of events that flash forward and back, which is less effective than the narration in previous books.  It’s almost as though the author wanted to tell too many events in one graphic novel.  The graphics in this one also are all over the place, transforming from a cartoonish quality at the beginning to the normal style and then to a more gritty military style found in comic books.

The Locke family is about to meet the threats of the dark lady head on in this book, and there are lasting consequences for this segment of the battle.  The keys to the kingdom are at stake, and while the family may feel like they are making progress, she’s always a few steps ahead of them.  Kinsey is still without fear, and some of her decision-making becomes very skewed as a result, while Tyler is battling his own guilt and the betrayal of two people he trusted.  Bode, meanwhile, continues to play with objects he doesn’t fully understand.

Locke & Key: Keys to the Kingdom Vol. 4 by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodríguez, has some great battles in it, and the characters are forced to face not only the dark lady’s advances, but the effects of the keys.  These keys were hidden for a reason, and uncovering them and using them may not have been the best idea.

Other Reviews:

About the Author:

Joseph Hillstrom King is an American writer of fiction, writing under the pen name of Joe Hill.  Hill is the the second child of authors Stephen King and Tabitha King. His younger brother Owen King is also a writer. He has three children.

Hill’s first book, the limited edition collection 20th Century Ghosts published in 2005 by PS Publishing, showcases fourteen of his short stories and won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Fiction Collection, together with the British Fantasy Award for Best Collection and Best Short Story for “Best New Horror”. In October 2007, Hill’s mainstream US and UK publishers reprinted 20th Century Ghosts, without the extras published in the 2005 slipcased versions, but including one new story.

About the Illustrator:

Architect, artist and illustrator. He started his career with myth based illustrations for card games, and then jumped into the world of professional comics working with IDW Publishing. In addition to his current work in Locke & Key, his collaborations with IDW include Clive Barker’s The Great and Secret Show, Beowulf, George Romero’s Land Of The Dead, as well as several CSI comics and some covers for Angel and Transformers.

Locke & Key: Crown of Shadows Vol. 3 by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez

Source: Public Library
Paperback, 152 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Locke & Key: Crown of Shadows Vol. 3 by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez, introduces more keys and more trouble for the Locke family.  As their mother spirals further into her depression and strives to fix things while still drinking herself into oblivion, the kids continue to rebel against her.  Even as they strive to be more like adults where she is concerned, they are still mixed up teenagers, failing to deal with their grief about the loss of their father in volume 1.  As Kinsey continues to operate without her fears and sadness, Tyler continues to feel his guilt, which only gets stronger.  Bode is still the curious boy who finds the keys accidentally, but in this case, one key saves them from certain death, while another nearly pushes their mother over the edge when it fails to fix the one thing that cannot be fixed — the death of her husband.

There are more than just magical keys in this house, as the kids soon find that a crown of shadows can be used to move dark forces in the house.  They are still unaware of the wellhouse woman’s true identity, but she makes a reappearance in this volume to terrify even the youngest Locke, Bode.  Light is their only weapon until the breakers in the house are shut off and the house is plunged into darkness — a darkness that comes alive with the crown of shadows.

Locke & Key: Crown of Shadows Vol. 3 by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez, is a strong third volume in the series and definitely reveals a lot more about the mysteries behind the keys, the wellhouse woman, and the Locke children’s father.  The illustrations are as engaging as ever, and readers will look forward to each horrifying installment.

Other Reviews:

About the Author:

Joseph Hillstrom King is an American writer of fiction, writing under the pen name of Joe Hill.  Hill is the the second child of authors Stephen King and Tabitha King. His younger brother Owen King is also a writer. He has three children.

Hill’s first book, the limited edition collection 20th Century Ghosts published in 2005 by PS Publishing, showcases fourteen of his short stories and won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Fiction Collection, together with the British Fantasy Award for Best Collection and Best Short Story for “Best New Horror”. In October 2007, Hill’s mainstream US and UK publishers reprinted 20th Century Ghosts, without the extras published in the 2005 slipcased versions, but including one new story.

About the Illustrator:

Architect, artist and illustrator. He started his career with myth based illustrations for card games, and then jumped into the world of professional comics working with IDW Publishing. In addition to his current work in Locke & Key, his collaborations with IDW include Clive Barker’s The Great and Secret Show, Beowulf, George Romero’s Land Of The Dead, as well as several CSI comics and some covers for Angel and Transformers.

Locke & Key: Head Games Vol. 2 by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez

Source: Public Library
Paperback, 144 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Locke & Key: Head Games Vol. 2 by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez, continues the story and reveals even more of the house’s secrets.  There are more keys, even ones that can crack open your head — what’s inside some of these kids’ brains will unsettle you.  Memory and imagination meld together in their minds to create even more gruesome threats.  Tyler, Bode, and Kinsey are excited to find the key that opens their minds, and like many teens, they abuse the magical key.

Without fear Kinsey becomes less emotional and eager to face danger, but will that lead to her death? Tyler is happily using the magic to get ahead with girls and schools, while Bode is left on the sidelines.  But sharing these secrets of the house and its keys could be the most detrimental of all.  The illustrations are fantastic, realistic, and engaging.  There is so much to take in visually, as well as through the text.

Locke & Key: Head Games Vol. 2 by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez, is a solid series with many secrets yet to be revealed.  The dark forces are still making their way out of the depths of the well and the house, but these kids are blissfully unaware that the keys they find can be used for evil.  While they believe the danger has subsided, readers will soon realize that this is only the beginning and that these kids may be left on their own in the battle of their lives.

Other Reviews:

About the Author:

Joseph Hillstrom King is an American writer of fiction, writing under the pen name of Joe Hill.  Hill is the the second child of authors Stephen King and Tabitha King. His younger brother Owen King is also a writer. He has three children.

Hill’s first book, the limited edition collection 20th Century Ghosts published in 2005 by PS Publishing, showcases fourteen of his short stories and won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Fiction Collection, together with the British Fantasy Award for Best Collection and Best Short Story for “Best New Horror”. In October 2007, Hill’s mainstream US and UK publishers reprinted 20th Century Ghosts, without the extras published in the 2005 slipcased versions, but including one new story.

About the Illustrator:

Architect, artist and illustrator. He started his career with myth based illustrations for card games, and then jumped into the world of professional comics working with IDW Publishing. In addition to his current work in Locke & Key, his collaborations with IDW include Clive Barker’s The Great and Secret Show, Beowulf, George Romero’s Land Of The Dead, as well as several CSI comics and some covers for Angel and Transformers.

Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez

Source: Public Library
Paperback, 168 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez, is part one in a series of graphic novels about a mysterious house and its locked rooms.  Keyhouse is an unlikely mansion in the Massachusetts town of Lovecraft, and it sits on an island separate from the rest of the town.  It’s a clear set up for a horrifying tale.  The three Locke children are left with their barely functioning, alcoholic mother when their father is murdered at their summer cabin outside San Francisco.  The family starts over across the country, only to be caught in a web of darkness they can’t see until it’s too late.

Tyler is struggling because he blames himself for his father’s murder.  He never could please his father, and they often argued, but he did not really want his father to die.  Bode is the youngest, and he escapes the sorrow through his imagination, flying around the Keyhouse as a ghost, while his sister, Kinsey, struggles to remain unseen by everyone in their new school.  What these kids are unaware of are the childhood antics their father and uncle used to get up to as children in Keyhouse, and even their mother is only mildly aware of some stories.  Rodriguez’s artistry is gritty and the violent scenes are well rendered.  The ghost-like characters are gorgeous, swirling as they move from place to place.

Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez, is a great opener to this dark fantasy series, and the twists and turns are unraveled a little at a time to keep readers on their toes.  There are dark forces at work in this house, and they will stop at nothing to open all of the locked doors.

About the Author:

Joseph Hillstrom King is an American writer of fiction, writing under the pen name of Joe Hill.  Hill is the the second child of authors Stephen King and Tabitha King. His younger brother Owen King is also a writer. He has three children.

Hill’s first book, the limited edition collection 20th Century Ghosts published in 2005 by PS Publishing, showcases fourteen of his short stories and won the Bram Stoker Award for Best Fiction Collection, together with the British Fantasy Award for Best Collection and Best Short Story for “Best New Horror”. In October 2007, Hill’s mainstream US and UK publishers reprinted 20th Century Ghosts, without the extras published in the 2005 slipcased versions, but including one new story.

About the Illustrator:

Architect, artist and illustrator. He started his career with myth based illustrations for card games, and then jumped into the world of professional comics working with IDW Publishing. In addition to his current work in Locke & Key, his collaborations with IDW include Clive Barker’s The Great and Secret Show, Beowulf, George Romero’s Land Of The Dead, as well as several CSI comics and some covers for Angel and Transformers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mailbox Monday #245

Mailbox Monday (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch.  November’s host is I Totally Paused!.

The meme allows bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

Here’s what I received:

1.  The Queen of Bad Decisions by Janel Gradowski, which I received from the author for review.

Daisy’s life is sliding downhill at breakneck speed. Leaving her worthless boyfriend lands her back at her parents’ home, sleeping on the couch. After only a few days she is tired and annoyed. Her parents give new meaning to the term “early riser” and she can’t avoid unpleasant encounters with her obnoxious brother. The only escape from the familial torture is at her job in a book store. Mary, her boss finds a solution to the housing dilemma, but Daisy will need to change more than her address labels to make the arrangement work.

2.  Undressing Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos for review from the publisher in December.

Thirty-five-year-old American social media master Vanessa Roberts lives her thoroughly modern life with aplomb. So when her elderly Jane Austen–centric aunt needs her to take on the public relations for Julian Chancellor, a very private man from England who’s written a book called My Year as Mr. Darcy, Vanessa agrees. But she’s not “excessively diverted,” as Jane Austen would say.

…Until she sees Julian take his tight breeches off for his Undressing Mr. Darcy show, an educational “striptease” down to his drawers to promote his book and help save his crumbling estate. The public relations expert suddenly realizes things have gotten…personal. But can this old-fashioned man claim her heart without so much as a GPS? It will take three festivals filled with Austen fans, a trip to England, an old frenemy, and a flirtatious pirate re-enactor to find out.

3.  Dog Songs by Mary Oliver, purchased from Novel Books.

Beloved by her readers, special to the poet’s own heart, Mary Oliver’s dog poems offer a special window into her world. Dog Songs collects some of the most cherished poems together with new works, offering a portrait of Oliver’s relationship to the companions that have accompanied her daily walks, warmed her home, and inspired her work. To be illustrated with images of the dogs themselves, the subjects will come to colorful life here.

These are poems of love and laughter, heartbreak and grief. In these pages we visit with old friends, including Oliver’s well-loved Percy, and meet still others. Throughout, the many dogs of Oliver’s life emerge as fellow travelers, but also as guides, spirits capable of opening our eyes to the lessons of the moment and the joys of nature and connection.

4.  NOS4A2 by Joe Hill from Novel Books.

Victoria McQueen has a secret gift for finding things: a misplaced bracelet, a missing photograph, answers to unanswerable questions. On her Raleigh Tuff Burner bike, she makes her way to a rickety covered bridge that, within moments, takes her wherever she needs to go, whether it’s across Massachusetts or across the country.

Charles Talent Manx has a way with children. He likes to take them for rides in his 1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with the NOS4A2 vanity plate. With his old car, he can slip right out of the everyday world, and onto the hidden roads that transport them to an astonishing – and terrifying – playground of amusements he calls “Christmasland.”

5. Night Film by Marisha Pessl from Novel Books.

On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova—a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.

For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself.

6.  I’ll Be Seeing You by Suzanne Palmieri-Hayes and Loretta Nyhan from Novel Books.

It’s January 1943 when Rita Vincenzo receives her first letter from Glory Whitehall. Glory is an effervescent young mother, impulsive and free as a bird. Rita is a sensible professor’s wife with a love of gardening and a generous, old soul. Glory comes from New England society; Rita lives in Iowa, trying to make ends meet. They have nothing in common except one powerful bond: the men they love are fighting in a war a world away from home.

Brought together by an unlikely twist of fate, Glory and Rita begin a remarkable correspondence. The friendship forged by their letters allows them to survive the loneliness and uncertainty of waiting on the home front, and gives them the courage to face the battles raging in their very own backyards. Connected across the country by the lifeline of the written word, each woman finds her life profoundly altered by the other’s unwavering support.

7.  The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black from Novel Books.

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

8.  A Spider in the Cup by Barbara Cleverly from Novel Books.

At dawn one morning in 1933, an amateur dowsing team digging the banks of the Thames for precious metals unearths the body of a young woman with a priceless gold coin in her mouth and a missing toe. The case falls on Assistant Commissioner of Scotland Yard Joe Sandilands’s turf, but he’s been given another assignment—and a very high-profile one. London is hosting a historic global economic conference to try to solve the global Depression, and political tensions are running very high, as very influential participants are starting to take positions allied with or staunchly against the rapidly militarizing Germany. Sandilands’s job is to protect and keep an eye on the visiting American senator Cornelius Kingstone, right-hand man to President Roosevelt, throughout the conference. When a strange set of coincidences link the river bank body to the senator, Joe realizes his assignment is much bigger than he’d thought, and that Senator Kingstone is caught up in a very dangerous game—one that might cost not just one but thousands of lives.

What did you receive?